When injured in a car accident, it is extremely important to pay attention to the smallest of details. Whether collecting evidence or seeking medical treatment, the particulars may have a large impact on your claim.
One detail to pay close attention to is the statute of limitations for filing your claim. Time limits apply to your right to seek damages. Failing to take proper action within a certain time period can result in that right being lost.
WHAT IS A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?
A statute of limitations is a law that governs how long a person has to file a civil action in court. Each state sets its own statute of limitations. Depending on the state, the statute of limitations for each type of civil tort may be different.
Knowing the statute of limitations applies to your case is essential. You do not want your claim to be barred by your failure to take timely action.
Because the clock on the statute of limitations typically begins ticking on the date that an accident or death occurs, it is very important for a person to begin the process of preparing a claim for filing in court as soon as possible.
WHICH STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS APPLIES TO YOUR CASE?
In Tennessee, all claims for injury to the person, including injuries suffered in a car accident, must be filed within one year from the date of the accident. (See Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104).
When a car accident occurs, it is common that in addition to the driver and passengers suffering injuries, your car may be damaged as well. While the statute of limitations for seeking damages for personal injury is one year, the statute of limitations for injury to personal property is three years, per Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-105.
It is also important to note that, in the event that the person who is injured in the car accident is a minor, and the claim asserts that the car accident occurred due to a defective vehicle part (or safety device such as a car seat), the statute of limitations may be extended.
In cases involving a minor the Tennessee Code states that the action must be brought “within a period of one year after attaining the age of majority.” (See Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-103). In other words, a minor has one year from the date in which he or she turns age 18 to file in court a claim for personal injury. The claim for medical bills related to the injury will probably be subject to the parent’s statute of limitations, which is one year from the date of the accident. For that reason, we recommend filing lawsuits for minors within one year of the accident.
The statute of limitations may also be extended if the plaintiff is legally disabled.
In the event that a surviving family member of an individual who was killed in a car accident brings the claim, the claim type is referred to as a wrongful death lawsuit.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is one year from the date of the victim’s death. It should be noted that, in a survival action, the personal injury statute of limitations – not the wrongful death one – applies.
It is helpful to also know the medical malpractice statute of limitations in Tennessee. It is possible for medical negligence to occur when a car accident victim is being treated for injuries. If this is the case, the statute of limitations is one year from the date that the wrongful act occurred, was discovered or should have been discovered.
Most states have sovereign immunity laws, which protect them from liability in the event that the state – or one of its employees – does something negligent that leads to the harm of another.
Tennessee has waived its immunity in car accident cases, however, it has implemented liability limits under the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act. In car accidents, the liability limit is $300,000 for the bodily injury or death of any one person in any one accident. The statute of limitations for filing a claim against the state or a government entity is 12 months.
Attorney David E. Gordon also serves clients in northern Mississippi. The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Mississippi is three years from the date of injury. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is three years from the date of death. These laws can be found in Title 11 of Mississippi Code.
GET HELP FROM OUR MEMPHIS CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS
Memorizing the different statute of limitations can be extremely difficult to do, especially if you are recovering from the physical and emotional trauma of a car accident. This is where The Law Offices of David E. Gordon can help.
David E. Gordon is an experienced personal injury attorney who knows the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim as well as the importance of paying attention to other minute details in a case.
Less than two percent of lawyers in Tennessee are board certified by the Tennessee Supreme Court, and David E. Gordon is one of them. Practicing law for more than 32 years, he knows exactly what he is doing when it comes to representing the victims of car crashes and other significant accidents.
If you have recently been harmed in a car accident, you do not have any time to spare. As soon as you are ready to take action and get your life back on track, contact us for a free consultation.