Lawsuits are guided by time-frames. When to file motions, when to sue, when to depose witnesses. This complicated process is guided by State and Federal statutes that provide clear time-frames for legal actions. Hiring an Alabama injury attorney dedicated to personal injury and wrongful death work can help ensure your law firm is aware of specific deadlines and the various intricacies of law.
Because of these complicated guidelines, it is important to hire a dedicated attorney to inform you properly of the laws and how they affect you. In a recent decision regarding a personal injury and product liability case, personal injury case, Mills v. Fulmarque, state statute ambiguity was contested when due to faulty office furniture a man was injured when he fell off of his chair at work.
Calvin Mills, the victim, sued both his employer and the seller of the faulty chair. After two years of legal filings, the co-defendants attempted to add to the litigation the manufacturer of the office equipment under a theory of comparative fault. Basically they contended that the manufacturer, the seller and the employer were all partially responsible for the injury to the victim. This action created such a problem that it led this personal injury case all the way to the state Supreme Court.
The complication in this case arose because when the co-defendants tried to add the manufacturer, the statute of limitations had run and it was too late to add any other parties to the litigation. This left the negligence of an at-fault party unpunished. The state Supreme Court clarified the time-frame ambiguity in the Tennessee state statute by finding that where it states that, “a cause of action for injuries to the person must commence within one (1) year after the cause of action,” additional defendants cannot be added after the one year statute of limitations has run. Tenn. Code Ann. §28-3-104(a)(1)(2000). This decision by the court prevented the victim from obtaining recovery from the manufacturer of the faulty office furniture. Because the victim’s attorney failed to properly identify all of the potential at- fault parties, Mills was denied his opportunity to recover damages for the injuries he sustained at the hands of another party’s negligence.
When you have been injured and are involved in a lawsuit, it is very important to have an attorney who knows the law and can get the right things done in the short time-frame you have. Getting it right the first time is essential because it otherwise can limit the recovery to which you are entitled. In Mills, the victim’s attorney failed to properly investigate the injury and potential defendants and as a result, the victim was not able to receive the justice he deserved. Mills would have been able to seek remedies had there been more time. However, as is the case with all litigation, the rules regarding time-limits are strictly applied. If a claim is not filed within the designated time against the right parties, you can lose your rights to sue and obtain the remedies you deserve.
Although the following topic is not a central concept in the Mills case, it is important to recognize. Deciphering fault and the choosing who to sue is a strategic decision that is dependent on the laws within your state. In identifying the negligent parties that contributed to an injury, you need an attorney who knows how Alabama classifies fault and what possible defenses are available to the negligent parties. States vary on which doctrines they follow, such as comparative negligence, contributory negligence or assumption of the risk.
If you have been injured contact Alabama Injury Attorneys at Allred & Allred, P.C. to schedule a free appointment. Call 334.396.9200.