I was hurt in a car wreck last year. I having been talking with the other driver’s insurance company and they tell me that they are going to make me a settlement offer. How much time do I have to file a lawsuit in the event I don’t get the case settled on my own?
In Tennessee you ordinarily have one year from the date of a car or truck accident to file suit against the responsible parties. Do not assume you have more time unless a lawyer familiar with all of the facts advises you that you have more than one year. Failure to file suit on time will result in a loss of your rights.
However, you should not wait until the eve of the one-year deadline to contact a lawyer. A lawyer needs time to conduct an investigation and do the paperwork necessary to file a lawsuit.
Finally, it would be a mistake to assume that it always makes sense to try to settle a case on your own and hire a lawyer only if you could not get a settlement worked out. First, valuable evidence may well disappear in the days and weeks following an accident. Second, you will be negotiating with a experienced claims representative and attempting to place a fair value on yourself without any experience on how to do so. You may be seeking too much money for your claim – or too little. Third, settlement of a car accident claim frequently requires work with health insurance companies and health insurance providers to finalize the claim.