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2023 Update On The Ante Litem Notice: A Continuing Potential Legal Pitfall…

2023 Update On The Ante Litem Notice: A Continuing Potential Legal Pitfall For Injury Claims Against A City

In a March 2020 opinion, the Georgia Court of Appeals clarified for attorneys with injury claims against Georgia municipalities what is required in the ante litem notice that has to be received by the city within the 6 month period after the date of injury in order to preserve injury victim’s claims against a city.  Unlike a personal injury claim against a private company or individual, a claim against a city has to be properly preserved with an ante litem notice that meets statutory requirements being sent by the injured party or their attorney to the at fault city. If it is not received by the appropriate officials at the city within 6 months of the injury date, the claim is extinguished. In City of Lafayette v. Chandler, the Court of Appeals found the following language of the ante litem notice compliant with the statutory requirements:

“As mentioned above, Mr. Chandler suffered very serious injuries as a result of the negligent acts described above. His injuries include a broken femur, at least seven (7) broken ribs and various internal injuries which required surgical intervention. In further description of the nature and extent of Mr. Chandler’s injuries, he was required to spend approximately three weeks at Erlanger and inpatient rehabilitation immediately following the subject incident and incurred well over $100,000.00 in medical expenses to date. As a result of the nature and extent of Mr. Chandler’s injuries and the aforementioned special medical damages we will seek to recover $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars) in monetary damages on his behalf.City of Lafayette v. Chandler (Ga. App. 2020)

In its most recent June 27, 2023 decision in Payton v. City of College Park, the Court of Appeals found the ante litem notice sent by the Plaintiffs did not comply with the statutory requirements for the ante litem notice wherein the Plaintiffs’ notice stated a loss amount of “[a]n amount to be determined a trial, in an amount not less than $1 million.”  The fact that the Plaintiffs ante litem notice did not state a specific amount for the loss they incurred was fatal to their case.  With its decisions in Chandler in 2020 and Payton in 2023, the Court of Appeals has made it clearer for attorneys representing persons injured as a result of the acts or omissions of a city to know what is required in the ante litem notice.  Please contact Rumsey & Ramsey, a Dunwoody, Georgia law firm, at (770) 394-9400 to discuss your personal injury or property damage claim against a city or county with an attorney.