By Jedidiah McKeehan

The statute of limitations is a law which states how long you have to bring a lawsuit against someone who has harmed you. Each state has a different time limit for different situations. Here are some statute of limitations commonly encountered in the state of Tennessee.

The first one, and most common, is a statute of limitation for a personal injury lawsuit. This would include injury from a car wreck or mishap on private property. The statute of limitations to bring a lawsuit is one year from the date of injury.

Additional statutes to be aware of are:

Contracts – 6 years.

Libel (written defamation) – 1 year

Slander (spoken defamation) – 6 months

Medical malpractice (or almost any kind of professional malpractice) – 1 year

Products liability – 1 year

Property damage – 3 years

So, in most cases, you have 1 year from the date of the injury or the date the injury is discovered, which is usually the same time.

Now there are a few cases in which the statute of limitations goes beyond the timeframes listed above.

If the injured party is a minor, they have until one year after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit. For example, if a 16-year-old is injured in an accident, they have nearly 3 years to file (on their 19th birthday).

Knowing what your limited timeframe is to file a lawsuit helps you to make a decision on what your next steps should be. Remember, you don’t have an unlimited time to file so if a lawsuit is a possibility, it is best to speak to an attorney to understand your options.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.