It has long been the law in Georgia that anyone having a tort claim against a municipality (a city or town) had to serve written notice of the claim within six months of the event causing the injury. This, of course, was a trap for the unwary and could lead to a legitimate injury claim being barred simply because timely notice was not given the city or town. The injured person might not seek legal advice until it was too late, and occasionally, lawyers without much experience handling personal injury cases might not be aware of the notice requirements.
Effective July 1, 2014, not only must notice of the claim be presented within six months, but a demand for a specific sum of money must be included, even though the injured person may not have completed medical treatment, may still be out of work and may have no idea of the extent of permanent impairment and disability.
O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5(e) now provides: “The description of the extent of the injury required in . . . this Code section shall include the specific amount of monetary damages being sought from the municipal corporation. The amount of monetary damages set forth in such claim shall constitute an offer of compromise. In the event such claim is not settled by the municipal corporation and the claimant litigates such claim, the amount of monetary damage set forth in such claim shall not be binding on the claimant.”
Anyone having an injury claim against a Georgia city or town should seek competent legal advice as soon as possible, so that proper ante litem notice can be given. Otherwise even a very serious injury claim against a city will be barred.