Important note: The material below is not legal advice and is not to be relied on in the absence of advice by an attorney. Only your attorney can advise you as to the applicable statute of limitations in your case. Please consult with an attorney before making any decision as to the statute of limitations in your case.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit in Tennessee?
Time limits vary depending on the type of lawsuit being brought up, but medical malpractice, negligence, wrongful death, product liability, and personal injury cases all have a one-year statute of limitations. TN residents have three years to bring a case of fraud, however, and some exceptions will apply to specific situations.
Statutes of limitations are state laws that define how long a plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit to the court. They are in place to make sure that the details are fresh in the minds of everybody involved and to make sure cases are filed in a timely manner. Time limits vary from state to state and with the type of case involved, but for most cases involving personal injury, the statute of limitations in Tennessee is one year.
Tennessee Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury and Negligence Cases
The personal injury statute of limitations in Tennessee is one year in most cases. According to the Tennessee statute of limitations for personal injury claims, a lawsuit “shall be commenced within one (1) year after the cause of action accrued” in cases of “actions for libel, injuries to the person, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or breach of marriage promise.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104)
Applicable Statute of Repose in Tennessee
“a) Any action against a manufacturer or seller of a product for injury to person or property caused by its defective or unreasonably dangerous condition must be brought within the period fixed by §§ 28-3-104, 28-3-105, 28-3-202, and 47-2-725, but notwithstanding any exceptions to these provisions, it must be brought within six (6) years of the date of injury; in any event, the action must be brought within ten (10) years from the date on which the product was first purchased for use or consumption, or within one (1) year after the expiration of the anticipated life of the product, whichever is the shorter, except in the case of injury to minors whose action must be brought within a period of one (1) year after attaining the age of majority, whichever occurs sooner.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-103)
“The following actions shall be commenced within three (3) years from the accruing of the cause of action: (1) Actions for injuries to personal or real property; (2) Actions for the detention or conversion of personal property; and (3) Civil actions based upon the alleged violation of any federal or state statute creating monetary liability for personal services rendered, or liquidated damages or other recovery therefor, when no other time of limitation is fixed by the statute creating such liability.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-105)
“The following actions shall be commenced within one (1) year after the cause of action accrued: (A) Actions for libel, for injuries to the person, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, or breach of marriage promise.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104)
Wrongful death cases fall under the same statute as personal injury and toxic tort cases.
The (Tennessee medical malpractice statute of limitations) states, “The following actions shall be commenced within one (1) year after the cause of action accrued: (A) Actions for libel, for injuries to the person, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, or breach of marriage promise.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104)
Malpractice (Other Professions)
A one-year statute of limitations applies to cases of attorney or accountant malpractice.
“For the purpose of this section, in products liability cases: (1) The cause of action for injury to the person shall accrue on the date of the personal injury, not the date of the negligence or the sale of a product; (2) No person shall be deprived of the right to maintain a cause of action until one (1) year from the date of the injury; and (3) Under no circumstances shall the cause of action be barred before the person sustains an injury.” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104)
In Tennessee, a product liability cause of action accrues “when the injury occurs or is discovered, or when in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence, it should have been discovered.” McCloskey v. Bryant Air Conditioning Co., 524 S.W.2d 487, 491 (Tenn. 1975). Buckner v. GAF Corp., 495 F. Supp. 351, 354 (E.D. Tenn. 1979)
Rights Under the Tennessee Products Liability Act
The Tennessee Products Liability Act states that consumers should expect that their recently purchased products will work properly and will not cause the consumer any harm. However, if this is not the case and the consumer can prove that the product was unreasonably dangerous or defective while the product was on the market, then the consumer can submit a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Silicone Breast Implant Injuries
Silicone breast implant cases have a statute of repose of 25 years from the date of the implant(s) and a four-year statute of limitations from discovery of the injury. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-103).
Municipal Liability/Sovereign Immunity
Tennessee does not have sovereign immunity for government entities in tort cases.
The discovery rule applies to most cases.
Comparative negligence applies: If the plaintiff is found partially to blame for their injuries, compensation is reduced by the percentage of their blame. If the plaintiff is more than 50% to blame, no compensation is awarded.
Charitable entities are not immune to prosecution.
Clear and convincing evidence of intentional, fraudulent, reckless or malicious conduct must be presented by the plaintiff. There are no caps on punitive damages.
What Crimes Have No Statute of Limitations in Tennessee?
There is no statute of limitations for any crime punishable by death or life in prison, such as murder.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay a Claim in Tennessee?
Insurance companies are usually able to pay within 30 to 60 days of the initial claim.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Assault in Tennessee?
Any assault lawsuits must be filed within one year of the incident to fall within Tennessee’s statute of limitations.
Can a Statute of Repose Be Tolled?
No. The clock on a statute of repose starts immediately and cannot be tolled, even if the plaintiff has yet to discover the malfunction or injury.
No-Fault Insurance: Is Tennessee a PIP State?
No. Tennessee does not have a no-fault insurance system, so it doesn’t have personal injury protection coverage included in auto insurance policies.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes. For instance, the discovery rule extends the deadline so that the clock doesn’t start running until the injured person has learned about their injury. Tennessee also allows plaintiffs who were minors when they were injured to reach age 18 before the clock starts running.
If you need a lawyer to help you understand whether or not your case is within Tennessee’s statute of limitations and whether or not you’re entitled to compensation, contact an experienced attorney with Parker Waichman LLP for a free consultation today.
Consumer Fraud Complaints
Complaints about consumer fraud can be directed to the Tennessee Office of the Attorney General online or by calling (615) 741-4737 or 1-800-342-8385 (toll-free inside Tennessee).