Making Personal Injury Claims Against the State of Georgia and Local Governments: An Overview

Government employees and agents do sometimes cause personal injuries by acting carelessly. Georgia law treats the government differently because of a longstanding concept known as sovereign immunity. This allows state and local governments to avoid legal liability in some circumstances but not all.

When Can an Injury Lawsuit or Claim be Brought Against The State of Georgia?

There are certain exceptions to sovereign immunity that may allow individuals to bring claims against the State of Georgia for personal injury. One such exception is the Georgia Tort Claims Act (GTCA), which allows individuals to sue the state for personal injury or property damage caused by the negligence of state employees acting within the scope of their employment. The GTCA provides a limited waiver of sovereign immunity for these types of claims.

To bring a claim under the GTCA, the injured party must provide written notice, known as an ante-litem notice, to the appropriate state agency and the Georgia Department of Administrative Services within twelve months of the injury. The rules for making and serving an ante-litem notice on the State of Georgia are very technical and precise, and are found at O.C.G.A. 50-21-26. In general, the notice must include the nature of the claim, the time and place of the injury, and the amount of damages sought.

Due to the technical rules involved, it is recommended that anyone bringing a personal injury claim against the State of Georgia hire an attorney experienced in handling government liability claims. Failure to follow the rules exactly may result in dismissal of the claim.

Some of the rules for bringing an ante litem notice against the State of Georgia include:

The notice must be provided within 12 months of the discovery or expected discovery of the injury.

The notice should be sent via certified mail, statutory overnight delivery with return receipt requested, or personally handed over to the Department of Administrative Services, with a receipt obtained.

The notice must be mailed through first-class mail to the state government entity accused of negligence.

The notice should include the name of the state government entity involved, details about the time, location, and nature of the loss, the amount of the claimed loss.

The notice must include a description of the acts or omissions that led to the loss.

Can I Bring a Personal Injury Case or Claim Against a Georgia County Government?

Like the State of Georgia, local governments are generally protected by sovereign immunity, which means that they can be difficult to sue. However, there are certain exceptions.

To succesfully pursue a claim against a County Government, Georgia law requires a written notice of claim, also known as an ante-litem notice. This notice must be served to certain county officials within 12 months of the injury. The rules for properly serving an ante litem notice on a Georgia county government are found at O.C.G.A. 36-11-1, and while this statute does not contain strict requirements as to the contents of the notice, it is best to provide as much detail as possible.

Examples of personal injury cases that can be brought against Counties include car, truck, garbage truck, police cruiser crashes caused by on-the-job county employees.

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What are some common types of injury cases that are filed against counties in Georgia?

Here are some examples of other personal injury claims that can be brought against a County government or the State of Georgia:

  • Construction and road and highway defect cases: If you are injured due to a defect in a government-owned road or highway, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the government.
  • Falls on government-maintained property: If you are injured due to a fall on government-maintained property, such as a poorly maintained sidewalk or pothole, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the government.
  • Injuries caused by a government employee who fails to perform according to a legal duty: If you are injured due to the negligence of a government employee, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the government.

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Trusted Legal Advice for Injury Claims Against Georgia Government

Not sure if you have a personal injury claim against the government? Need help identifying the responsible party? The Millar Law Firm can help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will provide a free consultation to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 770-400-0000 to schedule your consultation.

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