Each state enacts statutes of limitations for court actions. The statute of limitations sets the deadline for filing a lawsuit. It varies depending on the type of case being filed, the parties involved in the dispute, and the facts of the case.

If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, a judge can dismiss the lawsuit. It would not matter whether you had a valid claim that you could win. If the filing deadline has passed, you could lose your right to pursue a legal claim.

Therefore, it is wise to seek legal advice from an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after an injury or accident. Exceptions to the statute of limitations and the facts of your case could change the filing deadline. Sometimes, it could drastically shorten your time to file your case. 

The Reasons for a Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases in Georgia  

It might appear unfair to limit the time a person has to file a medical malpractice case. However, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim serves several purposes.

Setting a filing deadline helps ensure the case is decided on the best evidence available. As time goes by, evidence could be destroyed or lost. Therefore, it is better to try the case before witnesses move, forget, or pass away, and physical evidence remains intact.

Another reason for setting deadlines to file lawsuits is to prevent someone from using the threat of filing a lawsuit indefinitely. A party accused of medical malpractice should not have the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their head forever. They deserve to have the case tried in court so they can move forward with their life.

Georgia’s Medical Malpractice Statute for Adults

Generally, adults have two years from the date of injury or death to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, according to Georgia Code §9-3-71. However, that deadline could change under certain circumstances.

For example, the deadline may be different if a doctor leaves a foreign object in your body during surgery. A patient has one year after discovering an object was left inside of them to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. The one-year deadline applies regardless of how long the object remained in the patient’s body.

The Georgia medical malpractice statute of limitations also has a discovery exemption and a statute of repose. 

The time to file a lawsuit might not occur on the date of the malpractice. Instead, it could begin when the patient discovered the injury or should have reasonably known about the injury. 

However, there is a maximum deadline of five years from the date of medical malpractice for an adult to file a lawsuit. The deadline does not apply to foreign objects left inside a patient during surgery.

Georgia’s Medical Malpractice Statute for Children 

The medical malpractice statute of limitations for minor children in Georgia is an exception to the standard medical malpractice statute of limitations. 

The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims does not expire before the child turns seven years old, even if more than two years have passed since the malpractice occurred. Also, the statute of repose (the maximum filing deadline) does not expire until the child is ten years old. 

Medical malpractice cases are complex personal injury cases. Seeking legal advice as soon as possible increases your chance of a fair outcome in your case. Prompt legal advice also helps prevent missing the filing deadline for medical malpractice lawsuits. 

Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims for Minor Children in Florida 

Children can be injured and hurt because of a medical provider’s negligence, wrongdoing, or intentional acts. Medical errors can cause life-threatening injuries and/or result in permanent impairments and disabilities.

Types of childhood medical malpractice claims include, but are not limited to:

  • Labor and delivery injuries
  • Misdiagnosis of medical conditions
  • Birth injuries 
  • Surgical mistakes
  • Emergency room negligence
  • Medication errors
  • Hospital negligence 
  • Delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose 
  • Failing to order diagnostic tests and lab work
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Failing to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Not reading a child’s medical history and/or failing to recognize symptoms of a medical condition, injury, or illness

Unfortunately, medical malpractice can cause catastrophic injuries to children. They may sustain cognitive, physical, and emotional impairments because of medical malpractice. 

A child who is a victim of medical malpractice can receive compensation for their pain and suffering damages or non-economic damages. They can recover compensation for impairments, emotional distress, physical discomfort, and decreased quality of life.

The child may also receive economic damages for a medical malpractice case. These damages represent the financial losses, including medical bills and future lost wages. 

If you believe a doctor or other healthcare provider injured your child, talk with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer for children. An attorney can help you fight to protect your child’s rights and recover the compensation they deserve.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Law Firm For Help Today

If you or a close one have suffered from medical malpractice in Atlanta, GA, please call Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers at (770) 390-7550 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers

2 Ravinia Dr NE
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30346