Home

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Tennessee Medical Malpractice Cause of Action (Healthcare Liability Action)?

Posted on Jan 20 2014 2:32PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Analysis:  The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice cause of action (now known as a “healthcare liability action” due to recent changes in the Tennessee statutes) is one year as established by T.C.A. § 29-26-116.  If the alleged injury is not discovered within the one year period then the period of limitations is one year from the date of the discovery of the alleged injury (this is known as the “discovery rule” which is applied to many different statutes of limitations in Tennessee).  However, no cause of action can be brought greater than three years after the date of the negligent act or omission except when there is fraudulent concealment by the defendant.  If there is fraudulent concealment then the case must be commenced within one year after the discovery that the cause of action exists.  This three year time period is considered a statute of repose under Tennessee law and the “discovery rule” does not save a claim from being barred under this statute of repose under the plain language of this statute (unless fraudulent concealment is present as stated in the statute).   

 

There is one other exception to the limitation time periods identified in this statute - when a foreign object is negligently left in the patient’s body.  In this circumstance the statute of limitations is one year from the time the alleged injury is discovered or should have been discovered.  This exception also applies to the three year statute of repose based on the plain language in the statute.  (See also Bloomer v. Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center, 299 F.Supp.2d 810 (E.D.Tenn. 2004)).

 

T.C.A. § 29-26-116(a) in totality provides as follows:

 

(a)(1) The statute of limitations in health care liability actions shall be one (1) year as set forth in § 28-3-104.

(2) In the event the alleged injury is not discovered within such one-year period, the period of limitation shall be one (1) year from the date of such discovery.

(3) In no event shall any such action be brought more than three (3) years after the date on which the negligent act or omission occurred except where there is fraudulent concealment on the part of the defendant, in which case the action shall be commenced within one (1) year after discovery that the cause of action exists.

(4) The time limitation herein set forth shall not apply in cases where a foreign object has been negligently left in a patient's body, in which case the action shall be commenced within one (1) year after the alleged injury or wrongful act is discovered or should have been discovered.

 

It is important to note that there are additional significant requirements for pre-suit notice under T.C.A. § 29-26-121 that can bar a claim if not properly complied with prior to filing suit.  The pre-suit notice requirements provide very important defenses to medical care providers for medical malpractice causes of actions because Tennessee courts have strictly construed these requirements.  Additionally, the statute of limitations and statute of repose for medical malpractice causes of action need to be carefully analyzed in any case to determine if they bar the claim.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Defense Litigation blog.

TAGS: Tennessee Medical Malpractice/Health Care Liability, Statute of Limitations, Statute of Repose
Comments
There are currently no comments associated with this article.
Post a Comment / Question
Name:
Email Address:
Verify:
Comments:
Email a Friend
Email this entry to:
Your email address:
Message:
 
Author

Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. He practices in all areas of defense litigation inside and outside of Tennessee.

Search
Enter keywords:
Subscribe   RSS Feed
Add this blog to your feeds or subscribe by email using the form below
Copyright © 2018, Jason A. Lee. All Rights Reserved
Tennessee Defense Litigation Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com

PRIVACY POLICY | DISCLAIMER