The Need To Give Formal Notice Before Filing A Medical Malpractice Claim

Tennessee law requires that formal notice of medical malpractice (now called health care liability) claims must be given before a lawsuit can be filed.

Notice must be given before the one-year statute of limitations (the typical deadline for filing suit in medical malpractice cases) expires. The notice must include certain information and must be given or send in a way required by statute to each health care provider who is going to be sued.  Failure to give the right information or to send or deliver the notice in the way required by law will result in a dismissal of any later lawsuit against that health care provider.

(To be 100% accurate, the failure to give notice will result in dismissal of any later case against the health care provider.  The Tennessee Supreme Court has not yet decided the impact of the failure to give notice precisely as called for in the statute.  However, you should assume that notice must strictly follow the dictates of the statute until the Tennessee Supreme Court decides this issue.)

Because the notice statute is very complicated and because we do not know the consequences of omitting one or more of the items that are supposed to be a part of the notice it is highly recommended that consumers should NOT attempt to give notice without the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.  The risk of error are too great.

So, if you think you may have a medical negligence claim,  seek an experienced health care liability lawyer.  This lawyer will need time to investigate the merits of your case, so be sure to act promptly.

Click on the link for more information about Tennessee medical malpractice cases.


John Day represents personal injury victims and families of wrongful death victims in health care liability claims. He is board-certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and, in fact, served as President of the organization. He is an elected member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. His book, "Day on Torts: Leading Cases in Tennessee Tort Law," is used by judges and lawyers across Tennessee to further their understanding of personal injury and wrongful death law in Tennessee. In 2009, Best Lawyers named John "Best Personal Injury Lawyer" for Nashville; he was the first recipient of that award. Best Lawyers also named John as "Best Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Nashville" for 2010. John does not charge for an initial consultation and accepts personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingent fee basis. You can reach him by telephone at 615.742.4880 or by email by clicking here.

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