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The Truth About Medical Malpractice and the Statute of Limitations

In law, you have a set amount of time to file a legal claim. If you wait too long, you cannot seek compensation against alleged wrongdoings. This time restriction is called the statute of limitations.

Every state has a different time limit, which can make it difficult to understand medical malpractice and the statute of limitations. In Georgia, certain conditions can extend the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice case.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Georgia law provides two years from the time of the injury to file a medical malpractice claim. That doesn’t mean the case must be finished within two years, only that you must formally file a claim with the court. If you wait too long, you lose your standing and can no longer file.

There are ways to extend the limit, and it’s important to know when the clock starts ticking. For example, if someone receives improper care that causes them to develop an infection and pass away, the statute of limitations does not begin at the improper treatment. Instead, the time limit begins at the date of death.

The Discovery Rule

There’s a piece of law called the “Discovery Rule.” If surgeons leave a foreign object inside you, the statute of limitations does not start to run until you discover the malpractice and its casual connection to your surgery.

The discovery rule is a double-edged sword. The good news is that the statute of limitations only begins after you discover the object, no matter how much time has passed. The bad news is that you only have one year to file a claim after discovery, whereas the normal statute of limitations provides two years to file.

The Statute of Limitations and Birth Injuries

Finally, there are birth injuries. In the state of Georgia, the two-year claim window does not begin until a child’s fifth birthday. If your child suffers an injury as a result of medical malpractice before they turn 5-years-old, you have until their seventh birthday to file a claim. This law is meant to provide enough time for parents to identify developmental issues, especially from latent birth injuries, and seek legal advice.

If you’re unsure about the statute of limitations and would like an experienced Georgia medical malpractice attorney to evaluate your case, don’t hesitate to call the Mabrey Firm at (404) 814-5098 or send us an email.