Does the Statute of Limitations Apply to Bringing in an Uninsured Motorist Carrier?
In Tennessee, you only have one year after a car accident to bring a personal injury action. This means that if you wait one year plus a day to file a lawsuit to try to seek damages to help compensate you for your injuries from the car accident, you will not be allowed to do so. This is one reason that it is so important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to discuss your options.Are There Exceptions to the One-Year Limit?
While there is a one year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, a case decided in Tennessee held that the one-year limit does not apply when it comes to bringing the uninsured motorist carrier into the suit (Larrystine Bates v. Michael J. Green, Et Al.).
In this 2017 case, the plaintiff-driver filed a lawsuit against the defendant-driver within one year; then, more than a year after the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff-driver added her insurer to the suit as the uninsured motorist carrier. The insurance company tried to keep her from adding them to the suit, citing the one-year statute of limitations. However, the court ruled that because the insurance company is not a tortfeasor, meaning that the insurance company is not the one who negligently caused the car accident and thus the driver’s injuries, that they can only be liable under contract law. Under contract law, a six-year statute of limitations applies, rather than the one-year personal injury statute.You Might Be Wondering, What Does This Mean for Me?
What this means for you is that you have options. If you have been injured in a car accident because of the negligence of another driver who either does not have insurance or can’t be reached, this ruling gives you the opportunity to bring in the uninsured motorist carrier, even past the one-year mark following your accident. However, you still need to file an initial suit before the one-year limit against the other driver.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, put The Lawyers of Brown & Roberto to work for you today. Give us a call at (865) 691-2777 or contact us through our website Brown & Roberto, PLLC to set up a free consultation.