Individual States 

GEORGIA

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk is a bar to recovery in strict liability and negligence actions when plaintiff's negligence is the sole proximate cause of harm. Deere & Co. v. Brooks, 299 S.E.2d 704 (Ga. 1983) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

In a tort action in which the entire injury is to the peace, happiness, or feelings of the plaintiff, there is no cap on noneconomic damages. In such cases, punitive damages are not allowed. Ga. Code Ann. §51-12-6 .

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

In tort actions, evidence of collateral sources is absolutely barred and the plaintiff is entitled to an undiminished recovery of any and all wages that he may have lost as the result of the injury. Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1324 v. Roberts, 434 S.E.2d 450 (Ga. 1993) .

COMPARATIVE FAULT

Where an action is brought against more than one person for injury to person or property the jury may apportion damages among persons whose degree of fault is greater than the claimant's, according to each person's proportional share. Ga. Code Ann. §51-12-33 .

If the plaintiff by ordinary care could have avoided the consequences to himself caused by the defendant's negligence, he is not entitled to recover. However, comparative fault is not an absolute bar to recovery in strict liability. Ga. Code Ann. §51-11-7 .

ECONOMIC LOSS

An action in tort does not lie absent personal injury or damage to property other than to the allegedly defective product. Busbee v. Chrysler Corp., 240 Ga.App. 664 (Ga.App.1999) .

There is an accident exception to the economic loss doctrine. This exception applies in cases involving a sudden and calamitous event which, although it may only cause damage to the defective product itself, poses an unreasonable risk of injury to other persons or property. Vulcan Materials Co., Inc. v. Driltech, Inc., 251 Ga. 383 (Ga.1983) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Except where plaintiff is to some degree responsible, plaintiff may recover for the greatest injury done by any defendant against all of them, and there is a right to contribution. Joint and several liability also applies where defendants act with malice to cause injury. Ga. Code Ann. §51-12-30 , et seq.

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages are only allowed when willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or entire want of care (which leads to presumption of conscious indifference) is proven by clear and convincing evidence. For any tort actions not provided for in this statute, punitive damages are limited to $250,000. There is no limitation on product liability actions, tort actions where defendant had specific intent to harm, or tort actions caused by defendant being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, punitive damages are not allowed in wrongful death actions. Ga. Code Ann. §51-12-5.1 .

Liability insurance may cover punitive damages. Lunceford v. Peachtree Cas. Ins. Co., 230 Ga. App. 4 (Ga. Ct. App. 1997) .

Punitive damages are not awarded where the entire injury is to the peace, happiness, or feelings of the plaintiff. Ga. Code Ann. §51-12-6 .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

There is a right to contribution between tortfeasors as if the action had been brought against them jointly. This right to contribution is not lost or prejudiced by compromise or settlement of claim. Where an action is brought against more than one person and for injury to person or property, and plaintiff is partially at fault, the fact finder may apportion damages among only those tortfeasors whose personal fault is greater than plaintiff's, in which case they will be held severally liable for that percentage of fault with no right to contribution. Ga. Code Ann. §51-12-32 .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

Manufacturer or seller is not liable for unintended use, unless they knew or should have known the product would be used in that unintended fashion. Rhodes v. R.G. Indus., Inc., 325 S.E.2d 465, 467 (1984) .

In product liability actions based on the doctrine of strict liability, product sellers (unlike manufacturers) are not liable in tort, irrespective of privity, for all injuries proximately caused by a defective product which was sold as new property. Note however, that manufacturers are not product sellers even though they may perform certain activities included within the definition of a product seller. Ga. Code Ann. §51-1-11.1 .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Wrongful death actions shall be brought within two years. Moulden Supply Co. v. Rojas, 217 S.E.2d 468 (Ga. 1975) .

Personal injury actions shall be brought within two years the time the action accrues, except injuries to reputation which shall be brought within one year and actions for loss of consortium which shall be brought within four years. Ga. Code Ann. §9-3-33 .

Property damage actions shall be brought within four years. Ga. Code Ann. §§9-3-30 and 9-3-31 .

Breach of warranty actions shall be brought within four years. Ga. Code Ann. §11-2-725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

Product liability actions cannot be brought more than ten years from the date of the first sale of the personal property for use or consumption. This statute of repose covers any product liability action against the manufacturer for injury to person or property where the proximate cause was a defective product sold as new property. This includes actions based on negligence of manufacturer, except where there was willful, reckless, or wanton disregard for life or property. While this statute of repose does apply to strict product liability actions based on product defects, it does not apply to product sellers. Ga. Code Ann. §§51-1-11 and 51-1-11.1 .

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.