After being injured, you can sue the person responsible and hold them accountable for your injuries and damages. However, you must file your case before the statute of limitations expires.
Statutes of limitations are laws that prevent people from filing lawsuits after a certain period has passed. In Tennessee, the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits is 1 year from the date of your injuries. Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed is impossible in some, but not all, cases. Depending on your circumstances, you can toll the statute and buy yourself more time to file. How much additional time you can get depends on why you need to toll the statute. If you are afraid the deadline has passed in your case, talk to an attorney about whether tolling is an option.
You deserve justice and compensation for your injuries, but the deadline on your case might be fast approaching. For a free case evaluation, contact our Tennessee personal injury attorneys. Call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
When You Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, and many other types of cases, is found under T.C.A. § 28-3-104(a). According to this law, plaintiffs have 1 year from the date of their injuries to file a personal injury lawsuit. If this time limit passes and the case has still not been filed, the plaintiff might lose their right to sue forever, barring special circumstances. Our Knoxville personal injury attorneys can help you file your case before the deadline.
You can file your lawsuit anytime after you have been injured but before the statute of limitations expires. Statutes of limitations are intended to prevent people from filing lawsuits for injuries that occurred a very long time ago. The longer it takes for a case to come to a trial, the harder it is to try the case. Evidence is often lost, and witnesses might be hard or impossible to find. Statutes of limitations prevent people from filing lawsuits that are too remote to be successfully tried in court.
Even so, the statute of limitations is not the final word on when you can file your case. As discussed in detail below, you can buy more time and extend the statute of limitations under very specific circumstances. If these circumstances do not apply in your case, you might be out of luck.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations on Injury Lawsuits in Tennessee
The statute of limitations may limit your ability to sue once the deadline has passed, but there might be ways around this rule. You can toll the statute and extend the deadline in very specific situations. If your deadline is coming up or has already passed, our Hattiesburg personal injury lawyers can help you determine if tolling the statute is possible.
One reason many people cannot file a personal injury case before the statute of limitations expires is infancy. Infancy is a legal term that means the plaintiff was a minor at the time of the injury. Minors often cannot take legal action on their own, making it very difficult to file personal injury cases before the statute of limitations expires. According to T.C.A. § 28-1-106(a), a plaintiff who was a minor when they were injured has 3 years from the date they turn 18 to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Disability or incapacity is another reason why many plaintiffs might not be able to file personal injury lawsuits within the 1-year deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. Disability or incapacity may refer to a mental or physical disability that prevents someone from filing a lawsuit. In such cases, the plaintiff has 3 years from when the incapacity or disability ceases or is lifted to file their lawsuit. Another important caveat is that you cannot claim a disability to toll the statute of limitations unless the disability existed at the time of your injuries.
Under T.C.A. § 28-3-104(2)(A), you have 2 years rather than just 1 year to file a personal injury lawsuit if criminal charges are brought against the person you claim contributed to the injury. This is somewhat common in personal injury cases, as many injuries result from criminal actions rather than accidental negligence.
What Do I Do if the Statute of Limitations Has Expired on My Injury Case in Tennessee?
If the statute of limitations in your case has expired or is close to expiring, you should still consult with an attorney about your case. Although statutes of limitation impose strict deadlines, these deadlines can be extended if your case meets the above criteria or another legal exception. Our Tennessee personal injury lawyers can help you determine if you can toll the statute or if there is another way around the deadline.
The best way to approach your case might depend on what kind of injury you experienced. For example, medical malpractice injury cases adhere to special rules that allow injured plaintiffs to file cases when they realize the injury, which might be some time after the injury actually happened. For example, you might not realize that your surgeon left a sponge inside your body until years later, long after the statute of limitations has passed. However, the statute of limitations would not begin to run until you realized the injury.
Our Murfreesboro personal injury lawyers can also help you determine the correct date on which the statute of limitations should begin to run. The date the defendant committed the wrongful or injurious act might not be the same as when you were injured. For example, in product liability cases, the date you are injured might occur weeks or even months after you purchased the dangerously defective product. Knowing the right dates in your case might give you more time to file than anticipated.
Call Our Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
If you were injured in the past and are afraid your time for filing a lawsuit is running short, talk to our Gulfport personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. Call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357 for a free case assessment.