Deadlines for Filing Personal Injury Cases in Tennessee

As a Tennessee personal injury lawyer, I receive at least one call every week from a potential personal injury client who has waiting too long to hire a lawyer to get help with filing a lawsuit.  Recently, I had calls from three people in one week who called me too late for help.

There are lots of reasons you should call a lawyer quickly after a Tennessee auto accident or other event in which the negligence of another resulted in a serious injury, but one reason for prompt action is the delay can make it impossible to hire a lawyer who can help you.  

Why do people wait to hire a lawyer?   Some people think that they can resolve the personal injury case on their own, without any legal advice.  Of course, sometimes that is true:  a lay person may be able to settle a personal injury case without the assistance of a lawyer.  For instance, car accident cases that involve only property damage, or that involve one trip to the emergency room and no other medical treatment frequently can be resolved without the help of a lawyer.

But if you call an experienced Tennessee injury lawyer and take advantage of a free consultation he or she will tell you whether you need a lawyer in your case.  At the Law Offices of John Day, P.C. we are happy to listen to the facts underlying  your legal problem and let you know if we think we can help you – all at no charge to you.

Some folks think that they can resolve their personal injury case on their own even though they would benefit from legal advice.  Insurance adjusters for the at-fault party often lead people to assume that a fair settlement will be made – and thus people think that they will wait and see what amount is offered.  In the meantime, evidence is lost,  the course of medical treatment is not consistent, and time slips by.  The at-fault party’s insurance adjuster gets permission to speak to health care providers and employers, and is building a case before you know it.  Eventually, some sort of offer is made – and is usually totally inadequate.  Then, the  one-year deadline for taking legal action in Tennessee creeps up, and makes it impossible to hire a lawyer or, if you can find one, that lawyer will be forced to file suit to get the case resolved – which results in even more expense.  

So, here is the bottom line:   The law setting forth deadlines for filing personal injury cases in Tennessee is very complicated.  Generally, you will act on time if suit is filed against the responsible parties within one year of the date you were injured.  However, there are certain circumstances under which you can have less time and certain circumstances under which you can have more time.  Only when a lawyer is aware of all of the facts can he or she advise you of the actual deadline for filing a lawsuit.  Under most circumstances a lawyer will do this for you at no charge whatsoever.  Thus, I strongly recommend that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer shortly after you or a loved one is injured and seek advice about your legal rights and what deadline for taking action applies to you.

Are  you unsure what what you should look for as you attempt to hire a personal injury lawyer?  Read our legal guide, "Understanding How To Hire a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Lawyer."

Some final words of caution:  The one-year deadline is never applicable to slander cases – the deadline there is generally six months from the date the slanderous words are spoken.  

Second, the deadlines for taking legal action are more complicated when dealing with defective or dangerous products,  injuries that occur because of problems with buildings and other improvements to real property, injuries that occur because of negligent health care, and certain other areas.  When a injury or death arises under these conditions it is essential the legal attention be sought immediately.

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