How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Case in Tennessee?

stethoscope and gavelIf you were injured by a health care provider’s negligence, you must file your claim within Tennessee’s statute of limitations. However, the start of this deadline may vary depending on the circumstances of your case.

If you are filing a medical malpractice claim in Tennessee, it is important that you understand the statute of limitations that apply to your claim. For this reason, working with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney in Knoxville may help to ensure your case is properly handled.

Do not hesitate to contact Greg Coleman Law to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your medical malpractice claim with one of our qualified Knoxville personal injury attorneys.

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Tennessee

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider’s failure to provide a patient with quality care results in the patient’s injury or death.

If you believe you have a medical malpractice case against a negligent health care provider, your claim must be filed within one year of receiving substandard treatment. However, patients cannot file a claim more than three years after the date on which the injury occurred, according to Tenn. Code § 29-26-116(a)(1).   

You are also required to give the at-fault party advanced written notice 60 days before filing the lawsuit. Following the specific requirements for written notice will also extend the statute of limitations by 120 days, if completed correctly.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?

In most cases, the one-year statute of limitations beings on the date the patient became injured by a health care provider’s negligence. However, an injury caused by medical malpractice may not always be apparent when it occurs.

When this occurs, there are some exceptions that may change when Tennessee’s statute of limitations begins. These exceptions include:

The Discovery Rule

When an injury caused by medical malpractice is not discovered at the time the error was committed, the statute of limitations will run one year from the day the injury is discovered.

For example, if you find out six months after an operation that you suffered an injury due to a surgical error, you will have one year from the date you discovered the injury to pursue a claim against the negligent surgeon.

Minors and Incompetent Persons

If the injured patient is a minor under the age of 18 years old, or someone who is mentally incapacitated, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is adjusted.

For minors, the statute of limitation will extend one year past the date the minor reaches age 18. For mentally incapacitated persons, the statute of limitations extends one year following the date the patient is determine to be competent.

Statute of Repose

Tennessee medical malpractice cases are subject to the statute of repose, which bars victims from filing lawsuits if a certain amount of time has passed.

The Tennessee statute of repose for medical malpractice cases is three years from the date you suffered your injury. Under this statute, it does not matter when the injury was discovered, the person’s age or mental capacity – all lawsuits must be properly filed within three years of the injury’s occurrence.

However, there are two circumstances that cause exceptions to the statute of repose, including if:

  • A negligent medical provider commits fraud, concealing their actions so the victim cannot discover malpractice
  • A medical tool or instrument is unknowingly left inside a patient

In these circumstances, the statute of repose does not apply. However, once the health care provider’s error has been discovered, the patient must comply with the one-year statute of limitations to pursue a medical malpractice case.  

Do Not Wait to Contact Greg Coleman

If you believe you or a loved one suffered an injury or worsened medical condition because of a health care provider’s negligence, immediately contact an attorney to discuss your claim.

At Greg Coleman Law, our dedicated team of lawyers will pursue a negligent health care provider to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We will work to ensure your case is properly handled and inform you of any statute of limitations that may apply to your situation.

We provide free, no obligation consultations to help you understand which legal options may be available to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so there is no upfront cost for our services. You will only have to pay legal fees if we recover compensation in your case.

Call (865) 247-0080 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now.