Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Tennessee

Posted by J. Matthew Bolton on October 11th, 2018

TN Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

How Does it Work? How Will Missing the Deadline Limit Your Case?

If you have experienced a personal injury, whether it be from a car accident or any incident where someone else has caused you harm, you may be considering a personal injury lawsuit. If so, it’s imperative that you acknowledge and comply with the statute of limitations for your state. Statute of limitations refers to a set time period which limits your right to file a lawsuit in court.

In the state of Tennessee, the statute of limitations is outlined in Tennessee Code Annotated section 28-3-104, which sets a deadline of one year for the filing of all lawsuits seeking reparations for personal injuries. Tennessee’s one year statute of limitations often forces plaintiffs to file suit before they know the full extent of their injuries. Similarly, there are many cases in which individuals cannot file because the statute of limitations expires before the person considers filing a lawsuit.

What if you miss the filing deadline? If more than a year has passed, it’s likely the defendant will file a motion to dismiss the case. Only in rare exceptions will the plaintiff’s statute of limitations be extended. Tennessee legislature has extended the statute of limitations from one to two years if:

“(A) Criminal charges are brought against any person alleged to have caused or contributed to the injury; (B) The conduct, transaction, or occurrence that gives rise to the cause of action for civil damages is the subject of a criminal prosecution commenced within one (1) year by: (i) A law enforcement officer; (ii) A district attorney general; or (iii) A grand jury; and (C) The cause of action is brought by the person injured by the criminal conduct against the party prosecuted for such conduct.” T.C.A. 28-3-104(a)(2).

Therefore, if criminal charges are brought against the defendant within one year following the personal injury case, it may be extended if all of the foregoing conditions are met. Statute of limitations can vary from state to state, and from state court to federal court. Make sure to consult with a lawyer to better understand all of the time limits that apply to your situation and any possibilities for overcoming them.

The single most important thing to remember when filing a personal injury lawsuit is that time is crucial. Although the statute of limitations offers one year to submit your case, attorneys spend much of that time compiling evidence that supports your claim to help you win the lawsuit. The sooner you assign a lawyer to your case, the better chance you will receive a thorough and adequate legal investigation.

If you have questions about how the Tennessee statute of limitations applies to your personal injury case, especially if the deadline is fast approaching, it’s time to discuss your situation with the experienced Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Herndon, Coleman, Brading, & McKee.


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