The general rule in Tennessee is that a personal injury lawsuit for an adult must be filed within one year of the date of an incident causing an injury. The failure to file a lawsuit on time will result in a loss of the right to bring a claim even if the case is otherwise valid
There are several exceptions to that rule, some that shorten the period in which a lawsuit must be filed and other exceptions which lengthen the period for action. For instance, if you are injured by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product you must bring your claim within one year of the date of the injury but also within ten years of the date the product was sold to the first user or consumer.
For example, assume that you were hurt on January 31, 2012 because of a defect in a car that was sold to the first user or consumer on June 30, 2002. Under Tennessee law, you would have only five months to file a lawsuit against the car manufacturer or the manufacturer of the part or parts that were defective.
There are other unusual (and often unfair) rules under Tennessee law. You should not attempt to figure out that application of those rules yourself – you will need the help of an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney to help you.
So, how do you protect yourself? When you are injured or are a family member or close friend of an injured person who cannot act for himself or herself, seek the advice of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. There are all sorts of reasons for quick action (securing physical evidence, witness investigation, etc.) but quick action will also help you know for sure how much time is available to take appropriate legal action if it is warranted.
Do not wait until your recover from your injuries to talk to a lawyer. Do not assume that your injuries will heal without long-term impact on your life. Our office does not charge for an initial consultation about your case.