How A Lawsuit Can Happen
What if you have an accident and about a year later you get sued? One of your first questions is what’s been going on in that year and why didn’t you know this was coming?
In most cases, your insurance company has been dealing with the person or the person’s attorney who was allegedly hurt in the accident. If the victim of the accident continues to need to treat or cannot come up with a solution with your insurance company, he or she has no choice but to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the one-year anniversary of the date of the accident.
This is known as the “statute of limitations.” In Tennessee, it is short as one year for bodily injury claims. Our neighboring states are much more generous with time.
So often times, the person filing a lawsuit may not be seeking millions of dollars, but it may be that they’re waiting to have a surgery performed or waiting six months following one to see how they do before they can value the injuries allegedly caused an accident.
I know in my injury cases if someone has potential permanent scarring the plastic surgeon will wait one year before they do a revision surgery. And in several other types of cases the recovery time is 4 to 6 months.
Commonly, we’ll see someone try to put surgery off for as long as they can to see if they could avoid it. But if six months of therapy doesn’t work, and then they get scheduled for surgery in a couple months. And then it’s going to be 4 to 6 months before they’re normal. That’s past a year.
Another concern you may have, is that sometimes the people suing you were up walking around after the accident. And it would be understandable to assume that they must not have been hurt if they could walk around and talk after the accident. If you’ve never had the unhappy experience of waking up a day or two after a trauma to find yourself unable to move, count yourself lucky. This type of reaction is much more common than laying on the ground at the scene in pain. This is especially true with muscle injuries, especially in the back and neck, that often take 24 to 48 hours to reveal themselves.
And if you receive a complaint either from the sheriff or a private process server, call your auto insurance company immediately. They will hire an attorney and evaluate the claim. If they believe that the claim should be paid they will pay it, and if not they will fight it.
But remember, while you don’t get to tell them what they can do, you can express your desire that your claim be settled within the limits to avoid exposing you and your assets to a lengthy trial with an unknown result.
Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through PeelLawFirm.com wherein other articles may be accessed.