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Statute of Limitations - Demand Letter extends?

Discussion in 'Auto Accidents, Injuries' started by John Hill, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. John Hill

    John Hill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Tennessee
    Case details: I was hit in TN (I am a resident) by a driver from IL in late June of 2018. I sent a demand letter last month for injury and other costs and have received a low counter-offer this week. I plan to negotiate, but I am concerned now about the statute of limitation ending and the insurance company ceasing to communicate. Can they do this or stall on the paperwork until the accident/statute date has passed? What would be my best option to ensure I receive the settlement I am looking for?

    I would like to avoid an attorney as my case is not high value. Thank you.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Active Member

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    Yes, they can stall. You MUST file suit before the time limit expires, as you will be barred from filing suit after that.
     
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  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I assume you're talking about a car accident and that you were not personally hit by this person.

    Why did you wait nearly a year to do this?

    I'm not sure who "they" are, but the Tennessee statute of limitations for "injuries to the person" is one year. If your accident occurred in late June 2018, you need to get an attorney lined up ASAP and file suit. Don't wait to see how things go with the negotiations.

    We don't know what "settlement [you are] looking for" or whether it's reasonable, but the only sensible thing to do at this late time is to get a lawsuit on file ASAP.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    It's a 1 year deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline you are forever barred from initiating a lawsuit and your claim becomes worth zero.

    They absolutely can ignore you and close the file when the time is up.

    There are two issues in that question.

    Your best option is to file your lawsuit before the deadline date.

    Whether that ensures that you receive the settlement you are looking for is anybody's guess.

    Good, that makes it easy for you since you can file your lawsuit in small claims court without a lawyer. I think the limit is $25,000 these days. You can get forms and instructions at your local court or on its website.
     
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  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    Agree.
    File immediately. The statute of limitations is regarding the time to initiate action. Having filed, you may still be able to negotiate outside of court, but you will at least have it as an option if negotiations fail.
    Since we are nearly half way through June you are surely up against the clock. Do it today.
     
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  6. John Hill

    John Hill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you everyone for the replies. I kind of assumed the response, it helps me a lot. I waited so long because medical bills were not final until April. I am reviewing small claims filing in TN now.

    The offer letter they sent made mention of two liens, one of my health insurance and one of my car insurance. Can someone help me understand what will happen if I accept their offer, based on the attached language? Is the money owed to them coming out of my settlement or they pay them off as well? Thanks again!
     

    Attached Files:

  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Well-Known Member

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    Anything owed to a lienholder would come out of the settlement amount.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    The attachments say that, if you don't provide a release of the liens, the party offering the settlement will make the check jointly payable to Lienholder #1, Lienholder #2 and you.

    The second attachment adds a deadline for accepting the settlement.

    With respect to the statute of limitations, while I can't speak for Tennessee, in some states, insurers are obligated by law to advise you about the expiration of the statute of limitations, and failure to do that may prohibit the insurer from relying on the SOL. Nevertheless, unless you get a check in hand, file your suit before the SOL expires.
     
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    A quick search found nothing to indicate that TN imposes such a duty.
     
  10. John Hill

    John Hill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you. I am confused by the liens, as my car insurance company said they are filing a suit on their behalf to collect whatever funds they paid out from the car accident (including my deductible). If I want to keep the entire amount they have offered to me, I would have to pay the liens first? Is there any way for me to accept their offer, receive the funds and then they deal with the car and health insurance companies?
     
  11. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I understand your confusion. Assuming the two liens are legitimate, the lienholders are entitled to get paid before you get paid. You can either pay off the liens and obtain releases, in which case the insurer will write a check only to you. Or, if you don't do that, the insurer will write a three party check that will be incredibly cumbersome to take care of. If I were you, I'd ask the insurer to write three separate checks: one to each lienholder and one to you for whatever is left.
     
  12. John Hill

    John Hill Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the detail. My confusion is as to why settlement for my personal injury, pain and suffering & out of pocket expenses should go to pay the car or health insurance company. If each of us are asking for settlements (I did not include their costs in my demand letter and they did not include mine in theirs), shouldn't they negotiate an amount with each party and pay each individually?
     
  13. Zigner

    Zigner Active Member

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    The liens will be paid before you see any money. That's true whether you settle or go to court.
     
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    Because the car and health insurance companies do not have express claims against the other driver except by way of a right of subrogation. The right of subrogation is a right to pursue your claim for you in the event you don't do it yourself. Their liens are a claim on what you do get if you pursue it yourself (and their contracts with you will also say they have a right to get repaid from the proceeds of any suit you file against the other driver). The other party knows this stuff and does not want to be exposed for a claim by them on the subrogation or lien should you not pay the insurers after they pay you. So they are going to insist that the payment either be made by joint check or that they issue separate checks to each of you if the amounts to be paid to each are disclosed to them. One way or the other, you're going to have to end up repaying the insurers out of this.
     
  15. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    You need to include all of your damages in your settlement demand, including those for which you had insurance coverage and did not pay out of pocket. There will be a single settlement, not multiple, separate settlements for you and your insurers.
     

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