If you are involved in a car accident, you have the right to seek compensation in the form of damages for injuries sustained and/or any resulting property damage. It is however worth noting that you only have a limited window of time within which you should file the claim – referred to as the statute of limitations.
If you fail to file your claim within this stipulated period, your case will likely be dismissed; denying you the justice you deserve.
Every state, including Tennessee, has its own specific statute of limitations.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Tennessee statute of limitations.
Deadline For Filing A Car Accident Injury Claim
If you suffered injuries as a result of being involved in a car accident in the state of Tennessee, you must file your claim within a year after the accident. It is important to note that the countdown to a year starts right after the accident has occurred.
Deadline For Filing A Car Accident Property Damage Claim
If the car accident causes property damage, for instance to the victim’s car, the victim also has the right to seek compensation. Claims involving property damage are subject to a different statute of limitations, than that used in personal injury claims, in the state of Tennessee. The person looking to make a claim has to do so in three years after the occurrence of the car accident.
Exceptions To The Rule
The statute of limitations on car accidents in the state of Tennessee may be delayed in some specific cases. Here are the two main exceptions to the Tennessee statute of limitations on car accidents:
The Discovery Rule
Some injuries might not be discovered immediately after the car accident. The state of Tennessee delays the commencement of the statute of limitation to the date when such injuries are discovered. As such, the one year window is deemed to start when the injuries are discovered or should have been reasonably discovered, and not when the accident occurred.
The discovery rule is mainly used by Tennessee courts to delay the statute of limitations.
Tolling Or Delaying The Statute
Generally, if the victim does not have the capacity to represent themselves competently, the state may delay the statute of limitations. The practice which is legally referred to as “tolling” may be applied in two situations, where the victim is of unsound mind or is under the age of 18.
For instance, the statue of limitations is delayed until the victim reaches the age of 18 years. After they reach this age, they have one year to file their personal injury claim; and three years to file a claim for property damage.
Similarly, the statute of limitations is delayed if the victim is of unsound mind, and found to be mentally incompetent by a court in Tennessee. Once the court rules that such an individual has recovered from their condition, they have one year to file a personal injury claim.
Car Accident Wrongful Death Claims
If the car accident victim dies as a result of their injuries, a wrongful death claim can be filed. This is only possible if the deceased had the right to file for a personal injury claim in the first place. The claim must be filed within a year of the victim’s death.
In the state of Tennessee, the right to file a wrongful death claim falls to their surviving spouse. If they have no spouse the right passes to their surviving next of kin or children; or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate; or administrator of the deceased’s estate, or the deceased’s parents if at the time of death the deceased was dependent on them.
Car Accident Claims Against Municipalities
If a government official or employee causes a car accident you can hold their respective Tennessee municipality responsible. Any claim against an elected official, government official or Tennessee municipality must be filed in a year after the accident.
Hire A Reputable Tennessee Car Accident Attorney
When recovering from the injuries of a car accident, you might not have the time or energy to focus on the intricacies of the law regarding car accident claims. This is why should seriously consider hiring an experienced lawyer in the field of car accident claims in the state of Tennessee.