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What is the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee?

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In 2013, a Rutherford County woman elected to have a hysterectomy using robotic technology. According to Injury Lawyer News, the woman suffered a pelvic abscess following the procedure, leading to a longer hospital stay and an increase in medical bills, pain and suffering. As a personal injury lawyer in Tennessee may recommend, the woman filed a lawsuit against the medical facility within a year, citing a failure to test the robotics involved.

Tennessee places a statute of limitations on how long victims have to file a lawsuit against a negligent party. Understanding the laws and procedure following an incident can help people secure compensation.

Current laws

According to Tennessee law, personal injury victims have one year to file a lawsuit. As the Tennessee State Courts points out, the state's highest court recently ruled that when people file a personal injury lawsuit or a claim involving another civil matter, the trial court must base the statute of limitations on the type of injuries as well as the basis of the claim.

There are varying limitations based on the nature of the civil case. For personal injury, libel and professional malpractice, victims have one year to file a claim. For damage to personal property - which a personal injury lawyer in Tennessee has seen go hand-in-hand with damages from a personal injury claim - plaintiffs have as long as three years to file suit.

Other factors to consider

Beyond filing a claim in the right time frame, plaintiffs should understand the other factors that may affect their case. Tennessee abides by a shared fault rule, which can limit the amount of damages to which a victim is entitled. For example, if a truck rear-ends a car that is stopped at a red light, the fault is usually placed on the truck. However, if the car had a broken tail light, a court may find that the driver of that car is at least partially responsible for the incident, reducing the possible damages.

Further, Tennessee does cap non-economic damage in personal injury cases. Someone who wishes to recover damages after an accident should be aware that in most cases, awards related to items like pain and suffering are capped at $750,000. However, that cap rises to $1 million if the injuries include the following:

  • The death of a minor child's parent
  • The amputation of a limb
  • Paralysis from a spinal cord injury
  • Severe burns

There are a number of other codes that apply to filing a lawsuit. Anyone with questions should consult with a personal injury lawyer in Tennessee.

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