Before mounting a personal injury suit in the state of Tennessee, you should be aware of certain laws and legal rulings that will govern your case. A keen understanding of the law and a good lawyer are your greatest assets when deciding whether to begin this legal process. Damages awarded in these suits can be hefty, although you do not want to file a suit if you are not certain that the law is on your side.
Time Limits for Personal Injury Lawsuits
The exact time in which you have to file a suit in Tennessee state court is governed by §28-3-104(a)(1) and known as the statute of limitations. The statute allows you one year after the reported accident to file a personal injury claim. At any time longer than a year, the court can refuse to hear your case. This means that you must move quickly after a personal injury in seeking a court action or your entire case could be sabotaged.
Shared Fault Doctrine
In Tennessee personal injury suits and insurance settlements, the damages awarded use a shared fault rule. This means that if an accident was partially your fault, the damages you are awarded can be reduced by the percentage of fault you hold. As long as you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault, you will be able to collect damages. Insurance adjusters use the same principle when calculating a settlement, using the precedent set by the courts.
The amount of damages you can receive in some personal injury cases has been capped under certain state laws. In 2011, tort reform legislation was enacted outlining these restrictions on non-economic damages. Non-economic damages pertain to pain and suffering and any other damages that did not have a clear impact on your finances.
The cap for non-economic damages put in place was $750,000 for most personal injury cases. For injuries that include amputation of a limb, paralysis from a spinal cord injury, the death of a minor child’s parent or severe burns, the non-economic damages cap is $1,000,000.
Cases Against the Tennessee Government
For cases involving a Tennessee government agency or employee, a special set of rules apply (T.C.A. § 29-20-305). The statute of limitation is still one year to file a suit after a personal injury but you only have 90 days to file for an appeal if you are denied any compensation. Damages for accidents involving a state agency or employee have been capped at $1,000,000 per accident and $300,000 per person and these caps have not been raised in decades. For local governments, the liability cap is $300,000 per person and $700,000 per accident.
Contact a Nashville Personal Injury Attorney
Regardless of your knowledge of state laws and statutes, you always need an attorney to assist you with any personal injury claim. While the process can be confusing and lengthy, a skilled Nashville personal injury attorney can help you navigate through the red tape and legal bureaucracy to ensure that you receive the damages that you deserve.