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A Statute Of Repose Could Affect Your Claim

By Butler Prather LLP on June 1, 2021

When it comes to personal injury claims, most people understand that they have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit in order to recover the compensation they may be entitled to. We refer to these time limits as the statute of limitations. For example, the Georgia statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date the injury occurred. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe will result in a person being unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.

However, most people have not heard of the statute of repose that applies to various types of injury cases. Here, we want to define what the statute of repose is, discuss how long individuals have to file injury claims with the statue of repose in place, and talk about why you need an attorney to help with these claims.

What is the Statute of Repose?

There are a few statutes of repose that we want to make you aware of in the state of Georgia. The first revolves around typical product liability claims. In most situations, individuals harmed due to a defective product will have to file a lawsuit within two years from the injury occurring. However, the statute of repose places limitations on this.

When we turn to Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 51-11-11(b)(2)), we can see that the statute of repose is 10 years from the date a product was first sold for use or consumption.

This means that no individual harmed due to a defective product will be able to successfully file a lawsuit against a company or manufacturer if the lawsuit is filed more than 10 years after the first time the product was sold.

For example, if an individual is injured due to a poorly designed lawn tool and tries to file a lawsuit within two years from the date the injury occurs, but they discover that the product was first sold for consumer use 11 years prior, the statute of repose would prevent them from filing the lawsuit.

Georgia also has an eight-year statute of repose in place for building design or construction claims (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-51).

Finally, Georgia also imposes a statute of repose of five years for medical malpractice claims (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71). For some medical malpractice cases, individuals may not realize are they have been injured due to a mistake made by a medical professional right away. Individuals generally have two years from the date they discover the medical malpractice occurred to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent provider. However, no medical malpractice claim can be filed more than five years after the alleged incident, regardless of when the injury was discovered.

Why is a Statute of Repose Needed?

The purpose of a statute of repose is to establish outer time limits for lawsuits so that potential defendants will not be subject to liability for long periods of time. However, the statute of repose can seem very harsh on those injured due to the wrongdoing of other individuals, companies, or entities.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of someone else, please speak to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. An Atlanta personal injury lawyer will be well aware of both the statute of limitations and any statute of repose that could affect your claim and work to get your case filed on time.

Posted in: Personal Injury

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