What is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a legal provision that mandates how long you can file a lawsuit and initiate legal proceedings. If you’ve had an accident, such as a trip and fall on someone else’s property in the state of Tennessee, it’s critical to know how the laws work and the filing deadlines for premises liability claims. Missing deadlines could cost you the compensation you deserve. Here’s what you need to know.
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How Long Do You Have to File a Premises Liability Claim?
When pursuing a premises liability lawsuit, Tennessee law (code section 28-3-104) states that claims must be filed within one year of the accident. In cases where an accident results in someone’s death, a wrongful death claim may be pursued by a representative (such as a spouse or other family member) within one year. However, the claim must be filed within one year of the person’s death — not the date of the accident.
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In addition to pursuing compensation for your injury, you may also seek compensation for property damaged as a result. For example, suppose you fell and broke an expensive pair of prescription eyeglasses and want the property owner to replace them. In that case, you have three years to file a claim against the defendant under Tennessee laws (code section 28-3-105).
Premises liability cases can be complicated, and other factors play a role in the owner’s negligence and the cause of your accident. Read on to learn more about how “comparative negligence” may affect your claim.
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How Does “Comparative Negligence” Play a Role?
“Comparative negligence” means that when an accident occurs, the fault or negligence of the parties involved is determined by their contributions to the accident. In many cases, after making a premises liability claim, it is not uncommon for property owners to fight back and argue that the claimant has some responsibility for their accident.
If the property owner is successful in putting some blame on the claimant, it could significantly impact how much compensation (if any) you will receive. For this reason, it’s critical that you have an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you with your case to avoid the pitfalls that can be presented when pursuing a personal injury claim without legal representation.
Here are some arguments that property owners often make against claimants in premises liability claims:
- The claimant should have noticed the apparent dangerous property conditions.
- The hazardous conditions had warning signs posted and were blocked off by cones.
- The claimant was not paying attention to where they were walking.
- The claimant was wearing inappropriate clothing or footwear for the event or circumstances.
What Happens If You Are Found Partially Responsible?
If the court finds that you have some responsibility for the accident that caused your injury, the comparative negligence rules will be applied to determine how much compensation you may be entitled to. Under comparative negligence rules, damages awarded will be reduced based on the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault — another reason why it’s critical to seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. Having legal representation from someone who understands how comparative negligence can impact your case is vital when working to create a solid defense of why you were not responsible for your accident.
What are The Types of Damages You Can Recover?
In Tennessee, plaintiffs in a premises liability claim can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Here’s how each one works:
Economic damages are monetary losses caused after sustaining an injury and may include the following:
- Medical expenses (emergency room, urgent care, prescriptions)
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Diagnostic tests
- Mobility aids (crutches, wheelchairs)
- Lost wages
- Property damage
The above are just some examples of economic damages. When pursuing a premises liability claim, your attorney will review every aspect of your case and its impact on you financially to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Non-economic damages refer to non-monetary losses resulting from an injury and may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium. Loss of consortium means that as a result of the accident, the injured person is unable to provide their spouse with the same love, affection, companionship, or intimate relations that were provided before the accident occurred.
In some cases, if the property owner acted maliciously, fraudulently, or recklessly, the injured person may be able to sue for punitive damages. The intention of asking for punitive damages is to punish defendants for their misconduct and to deter these types of actions from occurring in the future.
Injured on Someone’s Property? We Can Help.
Sustaining an injury, for any reason, can be a scary experience, especially if the consequences are life-altering. Not only can the healing process be a long road to recovery, but it can also be financially taxing for you and your family. If you’ve been injured on someone’s property, we are here to protect your rights and help you hold the parties accountable for their careless actions.
At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, we understand all the tactics insurance companies use to deny claims and offer low settlements. We are an advocate for the injured and are here to guide you every step of the way. We are here to help you recover medical costs, lost income, property damage, and more. We’ll be in your corner fighting for the compensation you deserve.