Tennessee Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits

A summary of state laws that could affect a car accident case in Tennessee, including lawsuit filing deadlines and shared fault rules.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Tennessee, you’ll want to get familiar with the state laws and car insurance requirements that could affect any settlement or lawsuit you bring over the accident. This page provides an overview of the Tennessee-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, plus links to more detailed information.

Tennessee Car Accident Laws

If you plan to file a lawsuit after a car accident in Tennessee -- and even if you’re only making an insurance claim for the time being -- there are a few state laws to keep in mind, beginning with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started (this kind of law is called a “statute of limitations”).

The relevant deadlines for  filing a car accident lawsuit in Tennessee  are:

  • one year  after the accident for cases involving personal injury (you can find this law at Tennessee Statutes section 28-3-104)
  • three years  after the accident for cases involving vehicle or property damage. (Tennessee Statutes section 28-3-105)

What if you don’t get your lawsuit filed before the deadline passes? It’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear your case in that situation. That’s why it’s so critical to pay attention to the deadline, even if you think your case is going to settle out of court. You always want to leave open the option of bringing a lawsuit, not merely for leverage during settlement talks, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if the settlement process isn’t promising a satisfactory solution.

Get details on other Tennessee laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in Tennessee.      

Tennessee Car Insurance Requirements

Like most states, Tennessee requires drivers to carry adequate car insurance coverage on any vehicle owned and operated in the state. The following minimum coverage is mandatory:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, when two or more people are hurt, and
  • $15,000 per accident for vehicle or property damage caused by the accident.

For more information on car insurance coverage requirements in Tennessee, including details on uninsured motorist coverage, check out our companion article Tennessee Car Insurance Laws.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Tennessee

You might not find it necessary to hire a lawyer for every variety of car accident claim. For instance, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance company isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the car accident, and you suffered only minor injuries, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself if you’re comfortable with the process.

But if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident, or if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the extent or the costs of your medical treatment, things can get complicated (and contentious) very quickly. In those situations, it may be time to discuss your case with a local car accident lawyer in Tennessee. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.

A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to Tennessee civil court.

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