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Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association

Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Imagine you are driving home after work. You slow down to stop for a red light and suddenly, everything goes black. You come to and realize another driver hit you from behind.

These situations are unfortunately common thanks to unsafe behaviors like distracted driving and following too closely. In fact, more than a million rear-end collisions occur every year. However, while it may be obvious who is to blame for these crashes, the extent of the damage they cause can be much less clear.

Late-onset injuries

“Risk does not disappear – it shifts from humans to machines,” points out a spokesperson for the insurer American International Group, Inc. (AIG).

That describes a lot of Americans’ attitude toward self-driving vehicles. They might very well be capable of cutting the accident rate significantly, but that may not be enough to encourage people to buy one. People would need to believe that an autonomous vehicle would reduce their own chance of being in an accident — and they’re not.

In fact, a recent survey by AIG found that only 39 percent of U.S. residents believe that driverless vehicles will operate more safely than those driven by human beings. The results were about even on whether the respondents were comfortable with sharing the road with an autonomous vehicle. Forty-two percent said they were, while 41 percent said they were not.

Introduction

A concept that may be unfamiliar to those who do not have extensive experience with the United States court system is that of the rules governing how long a plaintiff has to bring a lawsuit after an injury. The way this works in practice is that plaintiffs’ attorneys are aware of these rules and ask questions from potential clients to ensure that a statute of limitation will not prevent the bringing of a lawsuit. Similarly, one of the first things defendants’ attorneys check after receiving a new lawsuit is all of the defenses they can raise, including a defense that the statute of limitations has run and therefore bars the cause of action brought by the plaintiff.See Klehr v. A.O. Smith Corp., 521 U.S. 179 (1997) (discussing the doctrine of the statute of limitations in a RICO case).

On the other hand, Courts in the United States are limited to decisions regarding active cases and controversies by the United States Constitution Art. III, Section 2, Clause 1. An action may not be commenced until a cause of action accrues. If all of the facts necessary to establish a claim are not possessed by the plaintiff, then the action is premature and the defense counsel can quite easily draft a motion to dismiss showing that the plaintiff’s pleadings fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See § 1:2. Accrual of cause of action, 1 Tenn. Cir. Ct. Prac., Lawrence A. Pivnick. Claims that are not yet ready for decision are termedripe. The Tennessee Supreme Court has defined ripeness doctrine as: “The central concern of the ripeness doctrine is whether the case involves uncertain or contingent future events that may or may not occur as anticipated or, indeed, may not occur at all.” B & B Enterprises of Wilson Cty., LLC v. City of Lebanon, 318 S.W.3d 839, 848 (Tenn. 2010).

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