New Laws in Georgia, Summer 2023

gavel on top of stack of legal folders

New Laws for the State of Georgia

In Georgia, new laws typically take effect on July 1st of each year. With this date just around the corner, let’s take a look at some of the laws enacted that are relevant to personal injury lawyers.

HB 543

This law changes the damages threshold for obtaining a 12-person jury in state court. Under the prior version of the statute, O.C.G.A. § 15-12-122, a party could request a 12-person jury in state court if the claim for damages was greater than $25,000. This threshold was raised to $50,000 under HB 543.

Under the new version of O.C.G.A. § 15-12-122, any party may demand in writing prior to the commencement of a trial that the case be tried to a jury of 12, if the damages are greater than $50,000. This statute becomes effective on July 1, 2023, and it applies to all actions that “may be brought or are pending in state courts on or after the effective date.”

SB 168

This new law amends Georgia’s hospital lien statute, O.C.G.A. § 44-14-471, in two important ways.

First, it adds chiropractors to the list of medical providers who can file a lien against a personal injury cause of action. While chiropractors frequently do have patients and their lawyers sign letters of protection before providing treatment, this new amendment to the lien statute will give chiropractors another method for perfecting their right to recover against a personal injury case.

Second, the lien statute will now expressly require that medical providers first submit a claim to an injured person’s health insurer before filing a lien. If an injured person has health insurance, a provider can only file a lien if the health insurer rejected the claim.

Requiring that providers bill health insurance is a welcome change. Far too often we have experienced providers who refuse to bill health insurance because they want to file a lien instead. The reason providers do that is because they do not have to deal with a negotiated reimbursement rate when a liability or uninsured motorist policy pays—that is, they get more money than they do from health insurance.

The language used raises some interesting questions about how the law will apply. What does it mean to have the claim rejected, for example? It would seem that an initial rejection by a health insurer would not be sufficient to authorize a lien if the health insurer later changes course and agrees to accept the claim.

Also, if a patient has health insurance, does this change now mean that a provider cannot file a lien for the portion of the bill that is the patient’s responsibility, such as the co-pay or deductible? I would argue that a provider cannot do that because the claim was not rejected. The claim was accepted, and the remaining portion is simply the patient’s responsibility. If you have a client who has health insurance, and a provider files a lien for their portion of the bill, you may want to consider arguing that the lien is invalid because the claim was not rejected.

HB 529

O.C.G.A. § 33-1-24 contains the insurance requirements for “transportation network companies.” These are commonly known as rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. The law requires these services to carry a certain amount of insurance depending on the time period an accident occurs.

During the period the driver is logged into the digital network for the transportation network service, but has not accepted a ride, the company must have a minimum bodily injury liability policy of $50,000 per person and $100,000 per occurrence and $50,000 in property damage coverage. See O.C.G.A. § 33-1-24(b)(2).

During the period the driver has accepted the ride until the ride has been completed, the company must have a policy providing a minimum of $1,000,000 in liability coverage for death, personal injury, and property damage, as well as $1,000,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.

HB 529 changes the requirements for uninsured motorist coverage. Under the new version of the statute, transportation network companies will only have to provide uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence and $25,000 for property damage of others. None of the other coverage requirements in the statute were changed.

This law takes effect on July 1, 2023 and applies to all causes of action that accrue after that date.

SB 74

SB 74 enacted three separate changes that are relevant to personal injury lawyers.

First, effective May 1, 2023, a new code section was enacted to codify the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling from General Motors, LLC v. Buchanan, 313 Ga. 811 (2022) regarding apex depositions. An apex deposition is the term used to refer to the deposition of a high-ranking corporate executive.

SB 74 adds O.C.G.A. § 9-11-26.1 to set forth the procedure for a party to obtain a protective order for an apex deposition, and the factors the court should consider in evaluating the request.

The statute has numerous ambiguities, including its definition of an “officer”—“a current or former high-ranking officer of an organization with unique and extensive scheduling demands or responsibilities”—and an “organization”—“any governmental entity and any other organization, public or private, that is large and complex.” What are “unique and extensive scheduling demands”? What constitutes a “large and complex” organization?

This law does not really change anything in terms of the current state of the law and merely codifies the Georgia Supreme Court’s ruling from Buchanan.

Second, O.C.G.A. § 50 -21-35 in the State Tort Claims Act was amended to require that each state government entity publish the name and title of a designee or designees for service of process. This must be published conspicuously on the homepage of the state government entity’s website and include the name and title of the designee, and the office address of the designee or designees for service of process.

The Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services also has to comply with this requirement.

Each designee for service of process has to be present at the published office address no fewer than three days a week Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., excluding state-observed holidays and other office closures.

Third, SB 74 added a variety of provisions related to false and misleading advertising for legal services. There are numerous provisions that were enacted. If you do any kind of marketing as an attorney, it is important to be aware of these changes.


Each year, new laws will continue to be enacted and already-established laws will be updated. As attorneys, it’s our job to remain aware of these changes so we can best serve our clients. To learn more about new laws and legal updates, subscribe to the Georgia Tort Law weekly newsletter:

Georgia Tort Law Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.