Exceptions to Tennessee Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
In any personal injury claim, filing within the statute of limitations is necessary in order to preserve your case. If you try to file a lawsuit past the statute of limitations deadline the court can throw out the lawsuit and bar you from collecting any damages.
In Tennessee, victims in accidents have one year from the date of their injuries to file a claim for compensation, but there are some exceptions to that rule.
At Mitch Grissim & Associates, our dedicated attorneys are here to answer all your questions about a case and any exceptions you may qualify for. To learn more, call or contact us today for a free consultation.
Minor Age Victims
One significant exception to the one year statute of limitations on Tennessee personal injury claims is when the victim of an accident is a minor. Under Tennessee law, if a minor’s medical bills are in the parent’s name (which they almost always are), the parents only have one year to bring a claim on behalf of the minor. Otherwise, the minor would only have a claim for their pain and suffering once they turn 18, and they would have until their 19th birthday to file a lawsuit.
In some cases, an accident may be fatal for the victim, but it may be days, weeks, or more before the victim succumbs to their injuries. If the family of the victim wishes to file a lawsuit for wrongful death in a situation where the death was not immediate, the statute of limitations may be extended either 120 days or one year from the date of the victim’s passing depending on the specifics of the case.
In Tennessee, there are certain exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in car accident cases. If the injured party is a child at the time of the accident, then the statute of limitations may be extended until the child reaches the age of majority (18 years old).
In addition, if the injured party was mentally incompetent at the time of the accident, then the statute of limitations may be suspended until the individual regains their competency. The statute of limitations may also be extended in cases where the other driver was operating the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If the injured party was not aware of the injuries caused by the accident until after the two-year statute of limitations has expired, then the injured party has one year from the date of discovery of the injury to file a claim.
Birth Trauma And Injury
In Tennessee, the statute of limitations for birth trauma and injury cases is slightly different. These cases are typically subject to a one-year statute of limitations from the date of the injury or, in the case of a minor, from the date of the minor’s 18th birthday.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the injured party discovers the injury late and the statute of limitations has already expired, then they have one year from the date of discovery to file a claim. Additionally, if the injured party was mentally incompetent at the time of the injury, then the statute of limitations may be suspended until the individual regains competency.
Another exception to the statute of limitations is the doctrine of the “discovery rule.” This doctrine states that the statute of limitations begins to run when the injured party discovers or should have discovered the injury, rather than when the injury occurred. This exception is typically applied when the injury is not immediately apparent, such as in cases of medical malpractice or birth trauma.
The statute of limitations for birth trauma and injury cases may be further extended if the defendant acted fraudulently or with malicious intent. In such cases, the statute of limitations may be suspended until the fraud or malicious intent is discovered by the injured party.
Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that assigns responsibility for an injury or loss among parties who are at least partially at fault. This doctrine is used to determine the extent to which each party is liable for the damages incurred in an accident. In states that follow a pure comparative negligence rule, any party found to be at least partially responsible for the damages is liable for their percentage of the damages.
In relation to exceptions to the statute of limitations, comparative negligence may be used to extend the statute of limitations for a particular individual if it is determined that the individual was partially responsible for the accident or injury. For example, if a plaintiff was found to be 20% responsible for the accident, the statute of limitations may be extended by 20%, allowing the plaintiff additional time to file the claim.
In some cases, comparative negligence may be used to completely negate a claim, even if the plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for the accident. This is especially relevant in cases where the statute of limitations has already expired. In such cases, the court may decide to discount the plaintiff’s recovery to zero if they are found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident.
Personal Injury with Criminal Charges
Finally, the statute of limitations may be extended for personal injury cases when there are associated criminal charges for the person at fault for the injuries. In this situation, the statute of limitations is extended from one year to two years for the victim to file a claim.
Common examples include when a driver that causes a car accident is charged with driving under the influence or if injuries are caused by the intentional act of another during a robbery or other personal assault.
To learn more, talk to a Tennessee personal injury attorney today.
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Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident and wish to learn more about your legal options? Call the office or contact us today at Mitch Grissim & Associates to schedule a free evaluation of your case with one of our knowledgeable Nashville personal injury attorneys now.