How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Memphis
When you get into a car accident in Memphis, the thought of filing a lawsuit or claim may be overwhelming. It may seem impossible to consider going through the legal process while you recover from an injury. You may think you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit or a claim. Unfortunately, you do not. In Tennessee, injured accident victims only have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. This is called the statute of limitations, and if you miss this deadline, you miss your opportunity to collect compensation for your injuries and damages suffered.
Every state has a statute of limitations. This law sets the maximum time after an event that injured accident victims have to initiate legal proceedings against the responsible party. When the statute of limitations passes, injured car accident victims can no longer file a claim seeking damages.
These statutes exist for many reasons. They help ensure a fair trial, and they dictate a reasonable length of time when responsible parties may assume liability. It also prevents long-dormant claims from arising.
Tennessee Code § 28-3-104 addresses the statute of limitations in the state for car accident claims. Tennessee’s statute of limitations is one of the shortest in the country, and injured accident victims only have one year. Claims filed after a year are often considered invalid by the courts.
While this may seem like a long time at first, time passes quickly after an accident. Victims may be seriously injured and focused on recovering and rebuilding their lives. During this time – the clock keeps ticking.
An experienced Memphis car accident lawyer can help you avoid missing these crucial deadlines. For this reason alone, it is vital to have an attorney on your side after a crash.
Exceptions to the One-Year Statute
If you believe you missed the one-year deadline, don’t give up quite yet. There are exceptions to this rule. In some cases, car accident claims can be modified, giving injured accident victims more time to seek justice.
The Discovery Rule
Sometimes injuries do not show up for weeks after an accident. However, you should not rely on another date other than the date of the accident unless one of our lawyers tells you to do so.
Delaying or Tolling the Statute
Sometimes the statute of limitations is delayed after a car accident if the victim cannot competently represent themselves. This is known as tolling. It is used most often for victims under the age of 18. Once a child has reached 18, they have one year to bring a claim against the at-fault driver. Keep in mind that the parents’ claim for medical bills and damages may not have their statute of limitations tolled.
The surviving spouse or family members can file a wrongful death claim. If a car accident victim dies because of their injuries, surviving family members have a year from the date of the accident to file a claim.
Damage to Property
If you suffered property damage in a car accident, you have even longer to file a claim. Accident victims can file a property damage claim up to three years after the crash.
Claims Involving Municipalities in Tennessee
When a government entity causes your accident, you must follow a different set of standards. Many Tennessee government entities are immune to civil action. However, they can be held liable for claims arising from negligence in car accidents. There are limits to what you can recover, however.
When you suffer an injury in a car accident, you need a law firm that can help you meet all legal deadlines while protecting your claim. We know Tennessee law and can protect you from losing your right to file a lawsuit after a serious accident.
With over 30 attorneys on our staff, we have the resources to take on any case – big or small. We also have the time to devote to your case and treat you like our top priority. Our law firm has handled some of Memphis’s largest and most complex car accidents and has won multi-million dollar car accident cases. Let our winning team help you after a Memphis injury accident.
At Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, our Memphis car accident lawyers understand the complexities of car accidents here in Tennessee. When an accident occurs, we are there. Throughout Memphis and neighboring communities, our law firm has helped numerous families find justice after a serious and disabling crash.
Our strong local presence enables us to provide exceptional legal guidance at every turn. Our Memphis car accident attorneys serve all of Memphis, including Midtown, North Memphis, Cooper-Young, Orange Mound, East Memphis, Parkway Village, Downtown, South Memphis, Binghamton, Berclair, the University of Memphis, Colonial Acres, Uptown, Central Gardens, Oakhaven, Nonconnah, Whitehaven, and more.