Tennessee’s statute of limitations gives you one year from the date of your car accident to initiate a car accident lawsuit. So, time is of the essence if you want to pursue compensation for damages from a car accident.
Exceptions to the One-Year Deadline
There are some exceptions that will “toll,” or pause, the state’s “clock” and extend the statute of limitations’ deadline. Some exceptions include the following:
- A child injured at the time of the car accident may file a lawsuit once they turn 18 years old. After that, the person has one year to file a car accident injury lawsuit (Tennessee Code §28-1-106).
- A person judged mentally or physically incompetentat the time of the accident can file a lawsuit after recovering from the disability. The person can file a lawsuit within the one-year deadline for the accident, or within three years after recovery.
- A personal injury victim has two years to file a lawsuit if the person who caused or contributed to the injury faces criminal charges related to the accident (Tennessee Code §28-3-104).
The statute of limitations allows exceptions when courts shut down because of a disaster.
If You Discover Your Injuries Latter
In some cases, it takes days or months to realize that you suffered injuries from a car accident. After a period of time, your doctor may be able to trace the injury that developed back to the accident.
When this happens, you can use the “discovery rule” to extend the one-year deadline. This rule of law allows the statute of limitations to begin on the date that you discovered your injury.
Filing a Lawsuit
Unless you qualify for an exception to the statute of limitations, the longer you wait to file a lawsuit, the less time you have to build a solid personal injury case.
Some accident victims decide to file a lawsuit soon after the accident because of the serious injuries they suffered and financial setbacks they experienced because of another driver’s negligence or recklessness. In these cases, the accident victims want to hold the at-fault driver legally liable for causing them financial losses and a diminished quality of life.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
You have one year from the time of your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit allows surviving family members to recover compensation for funeral expenses, wages and benefits, and other losses because of a loved one’s death.
Tennessee allows certain immediate family members or a personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit. To determine whether you qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit, contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC. We offer a free legal consultation.
After Filing Your Lawsuit
You may want to gather evidence for your lawsuit, such as a police report, your medical records that show the type of injury you suffered, and photographs of the accident scene. In the meantime, you may want to present your evidence and discuss your car accident with a lawyer who can offer you legal advice.
Missing the One-Year Deadline
If you wait too long to initiate a car accident lawsuit and the statute of limitations expires, you miss the opportunity of holding a driver accountable for causing the accident in which you suffered physical injuries and financial losses.
If you file a lawsuit after the deadline, the defendants — the at-fault driver and the driver’s auto insurance company — can ask the court to dismiss your lawsuit because the statute of limitations has expired.
The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC Can Help You File Your Car Accident Lawsuit
If you were injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to file a car accident injury lawsuit. If the accident happened less than a year ago, but you believe your time is running out for filing a lawsuit, contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC to see how we may help you.
We offer a free legal consultation to help you determine whether you have a viable case. We work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay us unless we are successful in recovering compensation on your behalf.
Call us today at 865-546-1111 for a free, no-obligation consultation.