What is a “Statute of Limitations”: An Overview

In legal terms, the “statute of limitations” is a set of laws that sets a time limit within which legal proceedings must be initiated following an event. In Georgia, the general statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. Failing to file a lawsuit within this period may mean you lose your right to seek compensation.

Starting the Clock: When Does the Limitation Period Begin?

Typically, the countdown begins on the date the injury occurred; however, there may be exceptions. In some cases, it may begin when the victim becomes aware of their injury if that information was withheld from them. For example, this is known as the “discovery rule”, which may effectively extend your time to file a lawsuit. This rule generally does not apply to an injury in a car wreck or fall.

Military Service and the Statute of Limitations

Active-duty military personnel like those here at Ft. Moore, Georgia, may have additional protections when it comes to the statute of limitations. The time limit for filing a lawsuit may be “tolled” or paused during active-duty military service, effectively extending the deadline to file a lawsuit. This ensures they are not unfairly deprived of their legal rights while serving their country.

The Impact of Ante Litem Notice Requirements

Certain types of claims, especially those against government entities, require an “ante litem” notice within a specific period, which is often much shorter than the general statute of limitations. This notice, which must be formally presented in writing to specific individuals with specific information before filing a lawsuit, may also affect the timeline of your legal proceedings.

The Role of Consciousness or Capacity in Limitation Periods

If a victim suffers from loss of consciousness or lacks legal capacity, the limitation period may also be tolled until the victim regains consciousness, capacity, or a guardian is appointed. This protects individuals who are unable to initiate a lawsuit due to their medical or mental condition. 

When Personal Injury Turns into Wrongful Death

If a personal injury case becomes a wrongful death claim, a separate statute of limitations may start from the date of death- not the date of the original injury. This could potentially extend the timeframe to file a case, depending on the circumstances.

See What Gary Says About the Statute of Limitations on Legal Break

Gary Bruce, a personal injury attorney in Columbus, Georgia, discusses the statute of limitations law and what it could mean for your case in a recent episode of “Legal Break” on WTVM’s local news show. As he notes, according to Georgia law, the general limitation is two years for a personal injury case. However,  there can be exceptions. He emphasizes consulting with a personal injury attorney who can help you file legal proceedings within this time period. Gary Bruce’s insights shed light on these concepts and the nuances of the statute of limitations issue. This link will take you to the video: https://www.garybrucelaw.com/video/wtvm-legal-break-statute-of-limitations/


Understanding the statute of limitations and its exceptions is crucial in personal injury cases. It helps determine when you need to take legal action to protect your rights and seek compensation for your injuries.

Remember, when it comes to legal matters, having the right advice can make all the difference. If you have questions about a personal injury case, the statute of limitations, or need a second opinion on a case, feel free to contact The Law Office of Gary Bruce for a no obligation review of your case. We are here to help guide you through the complex legal landscape, ensuring you understand your rights and options.