Helpful Information

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim an Injury?

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Apr 27, 2022

Tennessee is one of a handful of states that has a very strict statute of limitations period for personal injury cases. The statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time an injured person has to file a lawsuit. In Tennessee, injured victims only have one year from the date of injury to pursue legal action. In most other states, an injured person has two or more years to file a personal injury lawsuit for car accident injuries. Moving swiftly is imperative to provide injury victims the opportunity to seek compensation for their suffering.

If you have suffered car accident injuries anywhere in Tennessee, speaking with a lawyer is a good next step to find out your legal options. Labrum Law is standing by to provide you with a free and thorough case evaluation. Contact our office today by calling (615) 338-9500 today.

Acting Quickly to Meet Tennessee's Short Statute of Limitations Period for Car Accident Claims

Under Tennessee Code Section 28-3-104, an injured person (with few exceptions) must file a person injury lawsuit no later than one year after sustaining injuries. In the case of a car accident, the date of the injuries would be the date the car accident happened. Because of the short limitations period, anyone who has been injured in a car accident has very little time to seek the advice of a Tennessee car accident lawyer.

Many people are completely unaware that they have limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit until they experience injuries that warrant legal action. Car accidents happen daily nationwide, and Tennessee is certainly no exception. Because of a lack of understanding of statutes of limitations, many car accident victims in Tennessee seek the advice of a car accident lawyer too late. Most states provide injured victims more time to hold a negligent party accountable for causing a car accident.

Unfortunately, Tennessee law is not as favorable for injury victims, which is a challenge for many innocent individuals who want nothing more than to recover from what may be debilitating and permanent car accident injuries.

Special Rules for Minors Injured in Car Accidents

When a minor, which is a person under the age of eighteen years, suffers car accident injuries, the statute of limitations period does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of eighteen. As such, once a minor celebrates his or her eighteenth birthday, he or she must file a personal injury lawsuit within one year. In other words, the minor must file a personal injury lawsuit on or before reaching the age of nineteen. In some cases, this limitations period may be extended, but exceptions should never be relied upon in Tennessee.

What if a Person Suffers Fatal Injuries in a Tennessee Car Accident?

In the most tragic of car accidents, some victims suffer fatal injuries. In such cases, legal representatives of deceased victims may wish to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or parties responsible for causing the car accident. Under Tennessee law, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit concerning car accident injuries is one year from the date of the victim's death.

What this means is that the date that triggers the statute of limitations is not necessarily the date of the accident, but the date when the victim passed, which could be on the same day as the accident, or it could be days or weeks later.

How Do I Know if I Have a Strong Case?

Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but in most cases, one or more individuals can be blamed for causing the accident. Common causes of car accidents include, among others, the following:

  • Distracted driving (such as texting while behind the wheel);
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Speeding;
  • Running a red light or stop sign;
  • Changing lanes without signaling; and
  • Following a vehicle too closely.

Regardless of how a car accident happens, if the injuries resulting from the accident are severe and require extensive medical treatment, seeking compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit may be warranted. Examples of catastrophic injuries that lead to life-long difficulties include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries (some of which may result in paralysis);
  • Internal organ damage;
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), including concussions;
  • Orthopedic injuries that cause permanent disability; and
  • Burns (in the event a car accident involves a fire).

Injured car accident victims typically do not know if they have a strong personal injury case without seeking the advice of a lawyer. An injured person may have suffered greatly, but injuries alone do not dictate the strength of a lawsuit. The conduct of all drivers involved – including the injured person – must be analyzed. No factor should be overlooked when discussing legal rights with a Tennessee car accident lawyer.

The statute of limitations is just one factor that comes into play when evaluating a car accident case, and missing the statute of limitations period to file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee can be a heart-wrenching experience.

Contact a Tennessee Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Tennessee car accident, it may be time to consider how a Tennessee car accident lawyer can help you. Because time is limited to file a legal claim, acting quickly is essential to protect your legal rights. A lawsuit filed even one day late is too late. At Labrum Law, we routinely help clients pursue car accident lawsuits to recover compensation for their suffering. To schedule your free consultation, contact Labrum Law today by calling (615) 338-9500.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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