Explaining Time Limits on Tennessee Personal Injury Cases. Don't Wait Too Long

Female: Well, if you’ve experienced a personal injury here in Tennessee and are planning a file a lawsuit, you do not want to wait. There is a time limit to file and Attorney Jim Higgins is joining me now with more information. It’s so good to see you.

Jim Higgins: Thank you.

Female: So, a lot of people may have experienced an issue like this, and they’re really contemplating, and they don’t know what they want to do, but they may not realize, you only have a certain amount of time to make a decision, right?

Jim Higgins: That’s right.

Female: Yes.

Jim Higgins: Yes, and here’s what it is, in Tennessee in general, of course, every law that we’ve got, got 20 exceptions, right?

Female: Yes.

Jim Higgins: But, for the most part, you have one year from the date of your accident to bring a client. And, you know, a year seemed so long, but it isn’t. If you have - you know, we have clients - most of our cases that we deal with are, of course - you know, we have our nursing home neglect team, and we have a (serious act’s)[00:00:43] team. So, ours are pretty catastrophic injuries cases....

Female: Yes.

Jim Higgins: ...car wrecks and stuff. So, you know, you got people that are dealing with hospitals. You got people dealing with, you know, medical cares, being out of work. So, they’re trying to deal with all of these life issues and that clock is just ticking.

Female: Yes.

Jim Higgins: And, you know, one of the hardest things I’ve seen a lot is I’ll have people that will begin to talk to the insurance companies and that they feel that they’re having this cooperative good conversation...

Female: Right.

Jim Higgins: ...and the year expires and they think that the insurance company ignored it and they don’t. You know, don’t say in a phone call, “Stop,” and they say, “Well, your case is over,” and that’s so disheartening to talk to those people.

Female: Yes, and there are some exceptions. I mean, all of these rules of - it gets so complicated.

Jim Higgins: Sure.

Female: But, that’s a good thing about you guys is that you can help them kind of weave through what are the exceptions or do they have a case or those types of things.

Jim Higgins: Absolutely and they’re welcome to call us whenever. Two the major exceptions are if you’re minor. So, if you’re 12 years old and you have [00:01:37] about it or 15 or 16 or 17 when that happened...

Female: OK.

Jim Higgins: ...your clock doesn’t - they’ll only start running until you’re 18 and then you’ll have a year from that moment.

Female: Oh, OK.

Jim Higgins: One of the harder exceptions that my office with the Tennessee Association for Justice and some other lawyers help to lobby a change for this year were - there was not for a while any real - what we call a tolling period like for the minors, for people who are incompetent. So, we would have people in nursing homes that may Alzheimer’s, that may have something horrible, some neglect or abuse happening to them, and their clock could be running on that year. And, they don’t even know - didn’t know they have rights. They didn’t understand the legal rights. The family didn’t know what happened...

Female: Yes.

Jim Higgins: Until it was too late, so we had a law change this year and the way the law is changed now if that person was incompetent, there’s going to be a tolling period.

Female: OK.

Jim Higgins: And, which is so important, because you don’t want that - nobody wants it to be unfair.

Female: Right.

Jim Higgins: We all just want a fair playing field.

Female: And, due to the statute of limitations, I assume the sooner the better to call an attorney, right?

Jim Higgins: Absolutely. Actually, don’t even think about it, call me early. If you got an accident case, if you got questions, you call me. I’ll tell you if you don’t need our office.

Female: Yes.

Jim Higgins: But, if you do, the quicker you get in a good lawyer, the better off you are.

Female: That’s a good thing, it’s that - the trust issue there. You got to let them know whether this is something to pursue or not.

Jim Higgins: We try to, yes.

Female: Yes, that’s great. All right, The Higgins Firm is serving Tennessee. Give them a call at 1800-705-2121 or just go to the higginsfirm.com. Thank you so much, Jim.