Deadline for Filing Medical Malpractice Cases in Tennessee

There is a one-year deadline (called a "statute of limitation") for bringing a Tennessee medical malpractice case.  

Changes to the law several years ago means that a person must give formal notice to each defendant in a medical malpractice case before a lawsuit can be filed in the court system.  That notice must be sent no more than one year from the date of the negligent act or negligent omission causing an injury.

The statute that mandates pre-suit notice has some very specific requirements about what the notice must say and how it must be sent to the potential defendant or defendants.  Tennessee appellate courts have not yet had the occasion to do an in-depth examination of how strictly these requirements must be met to satisfy the requirement of pre-suit notice, and thus it should be assumed that each of the statutory requirements must be followed to the letter until we have more guidance from Tennessee appellate courts.  It would be a mistake for any consumer to attempt to give notice of a potential  medical malpractice case without the assistance of an experienced Tennessee medical malpractice lawyer.

After formal notice has been given, the patient cannot file a lawsuit for at least 60 days.  One Tennessee court has ruled that filing a lawsuit too soon after giving notice will result in dismissal of the case.

Giving appropriate notice also works to briefly extend the deadline for filing a medical malpractice case. Once again, Tennessee consumers should not attempt to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit without consulting an experienced lawyer.

There are a couple of circumstances under which the one-year deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit begins to run later than the date of the health care provider’s error.  However, this area of the law is extremely complicated and, as a lawyer who has worked in this area of the law for over thirty years, I would urge consumers not to assume that one of the rare circumstances applies to them.

So, what should you do if you think you have been injured by a medical error?  I suggest you do this:

1. Promptly contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.  If you don’t know one, I suggest you read our legal guide on this topic.

2. Explain exactly what happened to lawyer and what effect the error has had on your life.  It you are able to do so, it is often helpful to the lawyer to have a written time-line of the events that you believe give rise to a malpractice claim.

3. Keep copies of any medical records, bills and other documents that you have concerning the treatment.

4.  If  telephone records will help document your efforts to discuss your health concerns with your doctor or the hospital, keep those records.

I have represented patients in medical malpractice cases for over 30 years.  If you believe you have a valid claim against a health care provider, contact our law firm at 866-812-8787 or complete the Contact Form and we will call you.

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