The experienced personal injury lawyers at The McMahan Law Firm want you to know exactly how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Chattanooga.

How Long Do I Have To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee?

When it comes to seeking legal damages for a personal injury in Tennessee, whether it was caused by a vehicle accident, dangerous property, or another situation involving negligence, the deadline is extremely important. Knowing how long you have to file a claim gives you the chance to recover the financial and emotional losses of your accident under the legal system. Learn more about Tennessee’s relatively short statute of limitations, the exceptions, and what can happen if you miss the deadline.

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Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Tennessee

If you’ve suffered an injury in Tennessee due to someone else’s negligence, the standard time limit to file a claim is 1 year from the date of the injury. This deadline, known as the statute of limitations, varies by state and the type of claim. For example, in Tennessee, felonies punishable by death or life in prison have no statute of limitations while other types of felonies have statutes of limitation between 2 and 15 years. The US states with the longest statutes of limitation cap claims at no more than six years after injury. Understanding the statute of limitations is a crucial step in ensuring that your legal rights are protected.

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The One-Year Deadline

Tennessee law allows a relatively short amount of time to file a claim compared to many other states. Louisiana is the only other state with such a short statute of limitations for all personal injury cases. Kentucky also has a 1-year limit for most personal injury cases, but the deadline is extended for those involving motor vehicle accidents.

While the 1-year timeframe may initially appear restrictive, it serves as a reminder to take prompt action and seek immediate legal assistance to protect your rights. By filing a claim as soon as possible, you are acting in your best interest: not only to avoid missing the deadline but also because it allows your lawyer time to collect the necessary evidence and meticulously build a strong case on your behalf. The longer you wait to initiate this process, the more challenging it may become for your legal team to gather compelling evidence and construct a solid argument to support your claim. If you wait too long and miss the deadline, you lose your right to seek compensation altogether.

 Exceptions to the Rule

While the 1-year statute of limitations is a firm rule in most cases, there are a few exceptions:

  • Minors: If the injured party is a minor, the 1-year period doesn’t start until they turn 18. However, this extension does not apply to all types of damages, so it’s important to speak with an attorney for clarity.
  • Mental Incapacity: If the injured person is mentally incapacitated at the time of the injury, the statute may be extended, allowing more time to file a lawsuit once the incapacity ends.
  • Discovery Rule: In some cases, the injury or its cause might not be immediately apparent. Tennessee law acknowledges this through the discovery rule, which allows the statute of limitations to start from the time the injury was discovered or should have been discovered with reasonable diligence.

The question, “How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee?” could have different answers depending on your situation. It is in your best interest to have a legal professional examine the details of your accident and help you understand the timeline specific to your case.

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The McMahan Law Firm will make sure you never miss any deadlines with your personal injury case.

Why Timing Matters

Failing to file a lawsuit within the 1-year timeframe typically results in losing the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Courts are generally strict about this deadline, and late filings are likely to be dismissed without consideration of their merits.

Steps To Take if You Believe You Have a Valid Personal Injury Case

  • Promptly Speak With An Attorney: Given the short window, consulting a personal injury attorney from The McMahan Law Firm as soon as possible after your injury is vital. An attorney can help you understand the specific deadlines that apply to your case and ensure that all necessary steps are taken promptly.
  • Gather Evidence Early: Collecting evidence with your attorney soon after the injury can be vital to building a strong case. This includes medical records, witness statements, and documentation of expenses and lost wages.
  • Understand Your Case: Each personal injury case is unique. Factors like the type of injury, the responsible party, and the circumstances of the accident can all influence the legal process.

Seek Legal Representation To Avoid Missing the Deadline

When it comes to personal injury lawsuits in Tennessee, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations is just 1 year from the date of the injury or discovery. To protect your right to seek compensation, don’t delay consulting with a skilled Chattanooga injury lawyer. The legal process can be intricate, and the McMahan Law Firm has the experience and expertise to guide you through it successfully. Don’t hesitate–reach out to the McMahan Law Firm today to ensure your case is handled with the utmost care and diligence.