Understanding Tennessee’s Statutes of Limitations to Protect Your Personal Injury Claim

Red Personal Injury Claim StampThe laws in every state place a limit on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit after someone’s negligence led to your injury. These limitations are theoretically in place to uphold the integrity of the legal system. In Tennessee personal injury cases, however, the statutes of limitations are so short that many victims may miss out on an opportunity for justice. In most cases, if you do not file a lawsuit within one year of the accident, you could be barred forever from filing suit.

In Tennessee, You Must Act Fast

Whether you were injured in a car accident, by a defective product, through the negligence of a healthcare worker, or your child was injured at birth, you only have one year to file a lawsuit in Tennessee. This places an urgency on your case that you may not be ready for. The first important determination to make is when the clock will start running on your case. The following are three possibilities:

  • On the “date of harm.” Usually, time starts on the date of harm, or the date the car accident, birth of your child, or botched surgery took place.
  • On the date you first discover the harm. In some cases, you do not know that you or a loved one is harmed until days, weeks, or months after the accident. When this is the case, such as with a birth injury that is not discovered until a child misses a developmental milestone, you will have one year from the date of diagnosis to file a claim. You will get pushback, though, and should work with an attorney.
  • On the date you should have discovered the harm. If you failed to get medical assistance or chose not to heed a doctor’s orders, you may not discover an injury until much later than you should reasonably have. This is not a common standard, but could be brought up, especially if you are not using a lawyer.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There can be exceptions to the statute of limitations in your particular case, but you will need an attorney to help you determine if you are eligible. Possible exceptions include:

  • The discovery rule. When it is not reasonably possible for a victim to discover that an injury has occurred, this rule may apply and extend the time allowed to file a lawsuit.
  • Tolling. If something occurs that should “stop the clock,” so to speak, on a statute of limitations, the time limit will be extended. Examples of this could include when the victim is a minor or when the victim is not mentally competent at the time of the accident to make a decision regarding a lawsuit.

Again, a personal injury attorney will be the best person to help you determine exactly how long you have to file a lawsuit in your particular case.

Call the Holton Law Firm

If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, your best bet is to call us right away so that we have as much time as possible to build a strong case. Start a live chat or schedule a free consultation at 888-443-4387 now.