What if I am injured in an accident involving a police officer or other government employee in Georgia?

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If you are injured in a car accident caused by a police officer or other government employee in Georgia can I still sue?  The quick answer is Yes, but the process is much different than a normal personal injury lawsuit.

In Georgia, individuals typically have two years to file a lawsuit after they’re injured. That two-year time period is called the “statute of limitations.”  If  a lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations period ends, the court will dismiss it.

Two years might sound like a long time. But, it’s not. Personal injury investigations often take many months. In fact, it typically takes 3-6 months for a victim’s lawyer to obtain the victim’s medical records. If medical causation is disputed, the victim’s lawyer may also have to hire an expert to review the case before it’s filed.  Additionally, depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be continuing to receive medical treatment for longer than 2 years.

This is where the biggest difference involving a lawsuit for injuries against a government employee comes into play.  If you were injured by a city, county, or state entity, they must se served an “ante litem” notice before filing their lawsuit. “Ante litem” is a Latin phrase that translates to “before the action.”  An ante litem notifies the government entity that they may be responsible for your injuries.  The ante litem notice deadline typically ranges from 6 months to 1 year depending upon the government entity that caused the injury.  If you do not serve the anti litem notice before the deadline, a court will dismiss your lawsuit.

What if my was injury was caused by a city or municipality in Georgia?

If you're injuries were caused by a city/municipality, or one of their employees, you anti-litem notice has to be served within 6 months of the date of the injury.  The notice must also include:

  1. Time, place, and nature of the injury;
  2. A description of the negligent act causing the injury; and
  3. The amount of damages sought.

Due to the short time period for providing an ant-litem notice in this situation, it is imperative that you hire an experienced lawyer to help you with your claim.

What if my injury was caused by the State of Georgia?

If you're injuries were caused by the State of Georgia, or one of their employees, you anti-litem notice has to be served within 12 months of the date of the injury.  The notice must include:

  1. The name of the state government entity responsible;
  2. Time and place of the injury;
  3. A description of the negligent act causing the injury; and
  4. The amount of damages sought.

What if my injury was caused by a county in Georgia?

If you're injuries were caused by a county, or one of their employees, you anti-litem notice has to be served within 12 months of the date of the injury.  While the statue of limitations for this notice is the same as claims against a state entity, there are no specific requirements of what to include in the notice.  As such, it is always best to provide the same information you would provide in an anti-litem notice against the State of Georgia.

As you can see, suing a government entity in Georgia can be a complicated endeavor.  Often, you may not know who is responsible for causing your injury. You may not know that the driver who hit you was working for the city or county at the time of a crash. You might not know who is responsible for managing a street or a sidewalk containing a pothole or a crack that you slipped and fell on.  If you wait to act in these situations, you run the risk of being barred from recovering anything for your injuries.  Which is why it is extremely important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.  Give us a call today so one of our lawyers can ensure you  get the compensation you deserve.

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