Georgia Medical Malpractice Cases: Statute Of Limitations
After an injury or death occurs in Georgia because of the negligence of a medical professional, compensation can be sought. However, in Georgia, victims of medical negligence and families of victims of medical negligence have a limited amount of time to file a medical malpractice claim. This amount of time is set by Georgia’s “statute of limitations.” While the time limit for filing a Georgia medical malpractice claim is generally two years, the actual time period can vary based on numerous factors. Nevertheless, in all cases, if a person fails to file a medical malpractice claim within the time limit set by the statute of limitations, they will likely be barred from recovering compensation. Therefore, if you or a loved one suffered an injury, or lost a loved one in Georgia due to a medical mistake, it is crucial that you do not delay contacting an attorney so you can start working on your case.
Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Georgia
The general statute of limitations for filing a Georgia medical malpractice claim is two years from the date of the injury or death. If you believe you or your loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, do not delay contacting an attorney, as you may only have two years to file your claim.
Where the statute of limitations is in question, a major issue is the date on which the two-year time period started running. Generally, for an injury case, the two-year period starts running on the date of the malpractice or misdiagnosis. However, in misdiagnosis cases where the misdiagnosis results in a “new injury” (e.g., a missed cancer diagnosis results in a subsequent metastasis of the cancer), a new statute of limitations may start running on the date of the new injury.
For a wrongful death case, the two-year period starts running on the date of the patient’s death.
Exceptions to the General Statute of Limitations
There are some statutory exceptions to the general two-year statute of limitations. For example, where a healthcare provider leaves a foreign object in a patient, such as a sponge, needle, or scalpel. In that case, the patient or the patient’s family must file a medical malpractice claim within one year of discovering the foreign object. This could result in a statute of limitations longer or shorter than two years, depending on when the patient discovers the foreign object.
Cases involving children are also treated differently. If medical malpractice happens before a child’s fifth birthday, a medical malpractice claim must be filed by the child’s seventh birthday. On the other hand, if medical malpractice happens after a child’s fifth birthday, the time limit is two years from the date of the injury or death.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations
It is possible to stop the statute of limitations clock from running. As discussed above, the statute of limitations for minors under five years old does not start running until the child turns five years old. In addition, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case can be tolled in a case where fraud or deception conceals a medical professional’s negligence. In such a case, a person would have two years from the date of discovering the deception or fraud to file a claim.
The Statute of Repose
Georgia law generally prohibits the filing of any medical malpractice claim more than five years after the date on which the negligent act or omission occurred. This is called Georgia’s statute of repose, and unlike the statute of limitations, it allows for very few exceptions and can even reduce the two-year statute of limitations otherwise applicable to wrongful death cases. For example, if a patient underwent negligent medical care on January 1, 2020 and consequently died on December 1, 2024, the patient’s family would only have one month (until January 1, 2025) to file a wrongful death claim.
Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you need help with a medical malpractice case, contact our qualified Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at Carroll Law Firm at 404-816-4555.