Six (6) month ante litem notice requirement in pursuing a claim against a city in Georgia.

Attorney Richard Armond of The Armond Firm, LLC, is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia. Based in Gwinnett County, he handles serious personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout metro Atlanta and the State of Georgia. Call him for a free consultation at (678) 661-9585.

Georgia law has various statutes of limitations for civil causes of actions. In many types of personal injury actions the statute of limitations is two (2) years from the date of injury, while in others it can be even shorter. This blog post addresses one of the shortest time restrictions on pursuing a claim, the ante litem notice requirement for suing a municipality. O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 requires that when suing a municipal corporation (commonly referred to as a “city” in Georgia), the plaintiff having a claim for money damages for injuries to person or property must give the city notice within six (6) months of the event that caused the damages. This is a very strict six (6) month time limit and plaintiffs must strictly comply with each and every requirement of the various subsections of O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5.

O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 is not actually a statute of limitation, but rather a strict notice requirement. If you do not take action to properly notify the city in accordance with all requirements of the statute, your claim will likely be barred. According to the recent Georgia Supreme Court case of West v. City of Albany, 300 Ga. 743, 797 S.E.2d 809 (2017), the statute appears to apply to claims against municipal corporations where the cause of action is negligence. In that case, a whistleblower lawsuit involving an intentional act by the city was allowed to proceed even though notice was not given pursuant to the statute because the claim did not involve negligence.

A large majority of typical personal injury claims against municipalities, however, will involve negligence in which the strict time limit applies. Examples include car wrecks involving city vehicles and slip and fall accidents at city buildings. In addition to the very strict six (6) month time limit, the plaintiff must “present the claim in writing to the governing authority of the municipal corporation for adjustment, stating the time, place, and extent of the injury, as nearly as practicable, and the negligence which caused the injury.” O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(b). Further, “the description of the extent of the injury required in subsection (b) of this Code section shall include the specific amount of monetary damages being sought from the municipal corporation.” O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(e). Additionally, “a claim submitted under this Code section shall be served upon the mayor or the chairperson of the city council or city commission, as the case may be, by delivering the claim to such official personally or by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.” O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(f).

If you or a loved one have been injured by the actions or negligence of a town, city, or municipality in Georgia, some employee of such a municipality, or are not sure, but think your injury was caused in some way by a city or city employee, contact attorney Richard Armond immediately. It takes time to investigate these claims to be able to get all the requirements of the municipal ante litem notice together and served within that strict six (6) month time limit. Contact attorney Richard Armond at (678) 661-9585 for a free consultation today.

The information above is for informational purposes only as of the date of publication and should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor does the reading of it form an attorney-client relationship. Always consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.