Tort Claims Against State County And Municipal Governments

Any one who is injured by the acts or omissions of a government agency or employee should understand that there are some hidden traps that could defeat their claims if the law is not followed, in some cases, scrupulously followed. Here we refer to the ante-litem notice provisions required under Georgia law in order to perfect a claim against a government officer or entity. In certain circumstances, if a timely ante-litem notice is not filed, either with a city, county or state government, the claim can be defeated. In essence, ante-litem notice provisions serve the purpose of shortening the otherwise applicable statute of limitations for a personal injury claim from two years to, in the case of cities, to six months for the notice and for county and state employees twelve months for the notice. If a timely ante-litem notice is provided, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case is still two years, if not, the case is over.
Under Georgia law, a claim cannot be brought against municipalities for alleged tort damages unless a written notice is provided to the city within six months of the date of the occurrence describing the claim, nature of the claim, the damages sought, etc. The more details provided to the city, so that it can investigate the claim, the better. Again, such a notice must be provided within six months. Relative to counties, notices must be provided within twelve months. With respect to claims against state government, again, there is a twelve month notice period, but under the terms of the State Tort Claims Act, the notice provisions must be scrupulously honored and served upon all persons specified in the State Tort Claims Act itself.
The point to be made in this brief entry is that there are statutory provisions requiring a written notice to be served upon the government whenever one is considering filing a tort claim for damages arising out of the acts of a government agency or employee. If these ante-litem provisions are ignored, the claim can be defeated as a matter of law. Accordingly, it is very important that anyone who has suffered injury at the hands of their government confer with experienced counsel in these cases so as not to lose their legal rights to sue the government. While sovereign immunity may still bar many claims, claims will be barred altogether if ante-litem notice provisions are ignored.

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