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Tennessee Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Tennessee is one (1) year (Ref: Tenn. Code § 28-3-104). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within one year of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within one year, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Tennessee Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to an Tennessee personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Tennessee

There are some variations & exceptions to the 1 year statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Tennessee. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 

  • If, at the time of the underlying accident, the injured person is under 18 years of age or has been "adjudicated incompetent," the injured person will be entitled to one full year to get their personal injury lawsuit filed once reaching the age of 18 or having their competence restored.
  • If the person responsible for the plaintiff's injuries (the defendant) is absent from or resides outside the state of Tennessee some time after the underlying accident, but before the lawsuit can be filed, the period of absence probably won't be counted as part of the one-year filing period (the "clock" won't run during this time, in other words).
  • If criminal charges have been filed against any person who is alleged to have caused the injuries (for example, if criminal assault charges have been brought against the person you're trying to sue for civil assault), the personal injury lawsuit filing deadline might be extended to two years.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Tennessee statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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