Statute of Limitations for a Car Accident Claim in Tennessee
Posted in Car accidents on August 27, 2020
No one wants to get injured in a car accident. However, vehicle accidents are not uncommon in Tennessee, and they are often caused by the careless or negligent actions of other drivers on the roadway. If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, it is important to understand that there is a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party to recover compensation. This time is called the statute of limitations.
The time limit to file a Tennessee car accident lawsuit
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Tennessee is one year from the date the accident occurred (TN Code § 28-3-104). This is shorter than the deadline in most other states. If a victim fails to meet this one-year time frame for filing a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party, they will be unable to recover any compensation for their losses. However, there are various exceptions to this rule.
Certain injuries may not be immediately apparent in the aftermath of a car accident. In these cases, the statute of limitations could be delayed and begun from the date in which the victim discovers or reasonably should have discovered the injury. This exception is called the “discovery rule.”
The law in Tennessee will also allow delaying the statute of limitations if the injury victim is unable to legally or competently represent themselves. This is called “tolling” the statute of limitations. This delay is also available to victims who are under the age of 18 at the time they have been injured in a car accident. Minors who are injured in a car accident have until one year after their 18th birthday to file a claim against an alleged at-fault driver.
If a car accident case involves the death of a victim, family members may need to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for their loss. In Tennessee, the wrongful death statute of limitations is one year from the date of the deceased’s death.
Most cases are resolved through insurance carriers
The vast majority of car accident cases are resolved through settlements made between insurance carriers and victims. It is important to understand that a car accident needs to be reported to the insurance carriers as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Failing to report the accident in a timely manner could result in the insurance carrier delaying or denying a claim.
A personal injury lawsuit may be necessary if the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement for a victim’s injuries or if they deny a claim altogether.
What kind of compensation is available in these cases?
If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a car accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of another person, there may be various types of compensation available for your losses. This could include:
- Full compensation for medical bills caused by the crash
- Lost wages and benefits if a victim cannot work
- General household out-of-pocket expenses caused by the crash
- Loss of personal enjoyment damages
- Pain and suffering damages
In rare circumstances, punitive damages may be awarded in the event the at-fault party was grossly negligent or intentionally caused the car accident and subsequent injuries. If you have additional questions about bringing your car accident claim in Tennessee, contact our Nashville car accident attorneys.