What are statutes of limitation?

When statutes of limitation apply to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, it means that the plaintiffs in the action only have a limited period of time within which they must file their legal action. All civil actions — even wrongful death lawsuits — will have such a time limit that applies to them.

Statutes of limitation will change depending on the state in which the injurious or fatal incident occurred. Therefore, it is important to look at local laws and regulations when evaluating statutes of limitation as they apply to a particular case. In some situations, plaintiffs will only have one year within which to file the claim.

That said, just because an incident occurred on a particular date does not mean that this is the date that statutes of limitation began to toll. Indeed, sometimes plaintiffs in an action will not discover that the wrongdoing or negligence occurred until much later. In these instances, plaintiffs may be able to argue the "discovery rule." With the discovery rule, plaintiffs may still be able to bring forward a lawsuit by using the date of discovery as the point at which the statutes of limitation clock began to run.

If you or a family member have a potential wrongful death lawsuit or personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee, it is important to determine what statutes of limitation apply to your case immediately. That way, you will not unintentionally miss your filing deadline and be forever barred from pursuing your case. Once you know the likely filing deadline that applies to your case, you can plan the drafting and filing of your lawsuit accordingly.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Claims: Time Limits and the "Discovery" Rule," accessed March 09, 2017

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