The law affords parties injured in car accidents the right to pursue claims against anyone that may be liable for their damages. Even if the injured party does not know the identity of the driver that caused the accident, any action to recover damages must be filed in the proper time and manner, to avoid waiving the right to recover. This was illustrated in a recent case ruled upon by the Court of Appeals of Tennessee, in which the plaintiff’s case was dismissed due to the failure to join an essential party and the failure to file the lawsuit within the time required by the statute of limitations. If you were injured in a Tennessee car accident with an unknown driver it is critical to engage a capable Tennessee car accident attorney who is proficient in pursuing uninsured motorist claims.
Facts Regarding the Accident
It is reported that the plaintiff was involved in a hit-and-run accident in November 2015. The plaintiff suffered significant injuries due to the accident and required extensive medical treatment. In July 2017, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, his automobile insurance carrier, seeking uninsured benefits under his policy. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the lawsuit did not name the other driver involved in the accident or issue a summons against the other driver, as required by the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. Further, the defendant argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the one-year statute of limitations for pursuing personal injury claims in Tennessee. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion. The plaintiff subsequently appealed, arguing that the six-year statute of limitations for breach of contract actions applied when an insured sues his insurer for uninsured motorist benefits.
Pleading Requirements for Pursuing Uninsured Motorist Claims
On appeal, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument and held that the one-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims governed the subject case. The court noted that the Tennessee code provides that a plaintiff who is injured in a hit-and-run accident with an unknown driver and subsequently files a lawsuit for uninsured motorist benefits must issue a John Doe warrant against the unknown driver in order to qualify for coverage under his or her policy.
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