How long do I have to file my personal injury accident case?

The clock is ticking graphicA statute of limitations is a designated period of time that someone has to take legal action against a liable party. Every state has its own filing deadlines for specific kinds of cases. It is important that you know how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Tennessee following a car accident. According to Tennessee Code § 28-3-104, personal tort actions (including injury claims) have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of the initial incident.

There Are Exceptions

Exceptions to the one-year statute of limitations can be made based on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injuries, as follows:

  • Instances of disability. If the accident in question results in permanent disability or mental incompetence of the claimant, whereupon the victim cannot make legal decisions based on his injuries, next of kin can file a claim on his behalf. However, since determining competency and surrogate rights can take time, Tennessee courts will consider the delay and potentially extend the statute of limitation by 120 days.
  • Wrongful death. In cases where the victim is deceased, whether by cause of the initial accident or by injuries sustained from the accident, the one-year statute of limitations may be extended. Since death may not be immediate, family members cannot be expected to file a claim based on the accident date. Therefore, in these situations, the statute of limitations will either be extended by 120 days, or reconfigured to begin not on the date of the accident, but rather on the date of death.
  • Instances of wrongful concealment. Since the defendant in an injury claim can use the statute of limitations deadline as a defense to have the case dismissed, it stands to reason that prolonging the claim is in his best interest. However, if a defendant willfully or maliciously withholds evidence needed to complete a claim, he’ll be subject to penalties. Therefore, in addition to penalties, the court may also extend the statute of limitations deadline to compensate the claimant for time lost as a result of the defendant’s actions. 

File Early for a Strong Claim

Need more information and advice regarding your injury claim? Contact us today for a FREE consultation about whether you're entitled to damages or compensation for your injuries. We can help you build a strong claim. Remember, time is not on your side.

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