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Tennessee’s statute of limitations for car accident claims

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Car Accidents |

If someone hurt you in a car accident, you can file a claim for compensation for any injuries and property damage you suffered. Of course, this process takes time, but how much time do you have?

Each state has its own statutes of limitations for different types of legal cases. Discover the general guidelines for Tennessee.

Personal injury claims

You typically have one year from the date of the accident to start legal action to recover your losses due to personal injury from a car accident. Waiting longer than a year might mean you lose your right to pursue a claim.

This timeframe seeks to balance the interests of both plaintiffs and defendants in legal proceedings. Such a short statute of limitations encourages prompt resolution of claims, ensuring that evidence and witnesses are more readily available and memories are fresh.

Property damage claims

On the other hand, you have three years from the date of the accident to initiate legal proceedings for property damage. While this is much more time than you have for personal injury, the same concerns about evidence and witnesses can apply. Consequently, quickly collecting evidence and building a case can serve the plaintiff’s interests.

Exceptions to the typical standards

Exceptions exist to the preceding rules for specific individuals and circumstances. Minors may have an extended timeframe and be able to wait to file within one year of turning 18. However, this is only the case if the medical bills are not in a parent or guardian’s name. When a parent is caring for the child’s medical care, the parent still only has one year to file.

Similar rules apply to an incapacitated person. If an accident incapacitates you, your yearlong time limit begins once you regain your faculties or the court assigns you a guardian. Wrongful death claims are slightly different and permit filing by the deceased’s representative within one year of the individual’s death, regardless of when the accident occurred.

Also, if the at-fault party faces criminal charges, you could receive two years to file a civil case. If the at-fault party is out of the state, you might also get an extension.

Getting full compensation for personal injury or property damage claims requires gathering sufficient evidence to build a strong case within the statute of limitations. The situation is even more challenging when you are recuperating from injuries or replacing property. Therefore, swift legal action after a car accident is beneficial.

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