Understanding Texas Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
Understanding Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims is no easy task, but we’re here to help.
The Texas statute of limitations provides the time period within which legal action can be taken. It controls the time a person can file a lawsuit seeking compensation after an injury occurs. Keeping this in mind is crucial because you may lose your right to pursue legal action if you wait too long.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims is two years from the date the cause of action accrues. This time period starts from the date of your injury or the date that you should reasonably have discovered the injury.
Although the general limit is two years, some situations extend or shorten the deadline. Examples are:
- When the injury occurs to a minor
- The injury is not discovered immediately
- The defendant is a governmental entity, such as a City, School District or State Agency
What is the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims?
The statute will begin from the date on which the event occurred.
This period is different in every state, and an injury claim must be brought within two years under Texas law.
Even if you’re unsure whether you want to pursue a case, it’s wise to consult with an attorney sooner rather than later. Keep in mind that there are some exceptions to the two-year rule, such as cases involving minors or delayed discovery of the injury. Understanding Texas statute of limitations in personal injury claims and having the right personal injury lawyer in your corner will help you receive justice.
Some factors that uniquely affect the statute of limitations in Houston are:
- The cause of action and the type of injury. Most personal injury claims in Texas have a two-year statute of limitations. Some claims have a different deadline, such as libel, slander, breach of promise to marry (one year), sexual assault (5 years, but 10 years after the victim turns 18 if the assualt occurred when the victim was a minor), asbestos, or silica-related injuries (30 years or earlier).
- The location and jurisdiction of the injury. The statute of limitations varies depending on where the injury occurred and who the other party is. Federal laws may apply if the injury occurred on federal property or involved a federal employee or agency. Maritime laws may apply where the injury involves a maritime vessel or worker.
- The identity and status of the defendant. Special rules apply when the defendant is an ogovernmental entity, such as a city, county, or state agency. For instance, you must send a written notice of your intention to sue within a specified time period and that time period can vary from depending on which agency you are seeking to sue. In some cases, you must provide notice within 30 days of the incident.
- The discovery rule and tolling provisions. In some instances, a person only discovers their injury or its cause after the statute of limitations has expired. The discovery rule may allow you to file your lawsuit within a reasonable time after discovering or should have discovered your injury even if it is after the statute of limitations has expired.
How does the statute of limitations help you?
A statute of limitations is important because it ensures that cases are filed in court promptly and evidence is fresh. Here are some more reasons the statute of limitations plays a pivotal role in the legal system:
Preserving the evidence and witnesses that are relevant to your claim.
Preserving evidence and relevant witnesses is essential to make a successful personal injury claim. Evidence and witness statements help determine who was responsible for causing your injuries and how severe they were. With all evidence preserved, your chances of winning your case increase.
Encouraging prompt, efficient resolution of disputes.
The Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims is in place to encourage prompt and efficient resolution of disputes.
People will take action promptly and efficiently when there is a set limit. It prevents unnecessary delays in resolving disputes and promotes timely resolutions.
Waiting too long can make it difficult for the parties involved to recall details or gather crucial information. It also protects defendants from lawsuits for something that happened so long ago that they may not have any way to defend themselves properly. Overall, statutes of limitations help keep the legal system fair and efficient while protecting everyone’s rights.
How does the Texas statute of limitations work for personal injury claims?
We’ve already learned that the Texas statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline by which legal proceedings have to start. But how long is the Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims?
The length and time allowed under a statute of limitations vary depending on the nature of the claim and jurisdiction of the personal injury claim.
For civil cases, the statute of limitations ranges from one year to 30 years in some instances.
For most personal injury cases in Texas, this period is two years from the date of the incident. For example, if you were under 18 at the time of your injury, the two year deadline begins on your 18th birthday.
It’s important to note that once the statute of limitations has passed, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit in most cases.
Time limitations for different types of personal injury claims
Car accidents and negligence claims
If you’ve been in a car accident and suffered injuries, for most people the time limit is two years, but this depends on the type of case. However, if the other vehicle belonged to a government entity, such as a police car or a public bus, the deadline may be shorter.
A first-party automobile insurance claim is also an exception, as the contract generally determines its statute of limitations. They are commonly four years, but each contract may differ.
Regardless of the specifics, acting quickly is essential if you believe you have a negligence claim related to a personal injury.
Product liability claims
The state has established a statute of repose that limits your ability to seek compensation after a certain amount of time has passed. In the case of product liability claims, this limit is 15 years from the date of sale or lease.
The 15-year statute of limitations applies to most product liability claims, such as design, manufacturing, and marketing defects.
Circumstances like fraudulent concealment, express warranty, or tolling agreements can create exceptions that extend or reduce the statute of limitations.
Slip and fall accidents
A slip-and-fall accident can happen anywhere, from a grocery store to a hotel lobby. You may be entitled to financial compensation if it’s through someone else’s negligence. The time limit for slip and fall claims in Texas is generally two years from the accident date.
The two-year statute of limitations applies to most types of slip and fall claims, such as those based on negligence, premises liability, or an attractive nuisance. Exceptions come in instances of legal disability, fraudulent concealment, discovery rule, or tolling agreements.
4 Factors that may affect the statute of limitations
1. Discovery rule and delayed discovery of injuries
The delayed discovery of injuries and the discovery rule extends the deadline for filing a claim in cases where the injury was hidden and verifiable. This means that if you don’t discover your injuries until later, the clock may start ticking at a different time.
If you get injured but are unaware of it, what happens if the injury becomes evident later? The discovery rule provides that the statute of limitations begins to run once you know, or should have known of, your injury.
This rule is for cases where the injury is objectively difficult to detect but can be confirmed by medical or scientific evidence. If the injury is apparent or discoverable at the time of the accident, then the rule does not apply.
2. Minors and persons with disabilities
The statute of limitations in Texas is affected if the injured person has a “legal disability” when the accident occurs. This refers to minors or people who are of unsound mind. Such a person can not make legal decisions on their own. In this type of case, they have two years from the date that the legal disability is removed to file a claim. A minor has until age 20 to file a lawsuit since the statute of limitations starts to run when they turn 18.
It’s worth noting that the statute of repose may limit or extend the statute of limitations for minors and persons with disabilities in certain instances.
3. Government entities
If a government entity is a party to a claim, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is generally two years. Some exceptions exist by imposing different filing deadlines if the state is a party. In most instances, you will have an obligation to notify the government entity of your intention to file a legal claim well before the statute of limitations expires. The deadline to provide this notice can be as short as 30 days after the incident, but each governmental entity can have different notice deadlines.
4. Tolling of the statute of limitations
Tolling of the statute of limitations means that the filing deadline for a lawsuit is paused under certain circumstances. The common types of tolling of the statute of limitations in Texas include:
- Legal disability – examples of a legal disability are being a minor and being of unsound mind. The statute of limitations does not include the time of the disability.
- Discovery rule – which occurs when an injury is hidden and verifiable. The statute of limitations begins to run once the person knows or should know of the injury or damage and its cause.
- Fraudulent concealment happens when a person’s injury or damage is concealed by fraud or deception. The statute of limitations is tolled until the person discovers or should have discovered the fraud or deception.
- Tolling agreement – is when two parties to a potential lawsuit agree in writing to suspend the statute of limitations for a certain period of time.
Common pitfalls to avoid when dealing with the statute of limitations
Dealing with personal injury cases can be tricky. You must have an understanding of the Texas statute of limitations in personal injury claims. Missing deadlines could result in losing your case. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid:
- Waiting too long to file: The statute of limitations varies depending on your case type.
- Assuming the deadline doesn’t apply to you: Even if you have a strong case, it’s essential to abide by the statute of limitations. Don’t assume that your circumstances will exempt you from this requirement.
- Failing to gather evidence promptly: Time is of the essence when it comes to gathering evidence for your case. Waiting too long can make preparing the necessary evidence to succeed in court more difficult.
- Not seeking legal advice early on: Personal injury cases can be complex, and going through the legal process alone can be challenging. It is advisable to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney.
By being aware of these pitfalls and taking appropriate actions, claimants can effectively protect their rights and interests and pursue their cases.
Benefits of acting promptly in personal injury cases
Acting promptly in personal injury cases can have many benefits for the victim, such as:
- Meeting deadlines: There are often strict time limits for filing a personal injury claim. If you miss these deadlines, you may be unable to bring your case to court. Acting promptly can help the injured party comply with the statute of limitations.
- Collecting and preserving evidence: Gathering witness statements, medical records, and photographs of the scene early means you can preserve these. This evidence can help prove your case in court.
- Getting compensation faster: Personal injury cases can take months or even years to resolve. By acting promptly, you can speed up the process and get the compensation you deserve as soon as possible.
Find a lawyer to help you understand the Texas Statute of Limitations
Understanding Texas statute of limitations for personal injury claims is important for anyone who has been an accident victim. It sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit. If a claim is not filed within the statute of limitations, it may be dismissed or barred by the court. By being aware of the statute of limitations, you can protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve as soon as possible.
Seeking legal advice promptly can make a difference in the outcome of your personal injury case. Consult a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to protect your rights and interests.
You must take timely action to receive compensation for personal injury. The right to claim is not unlimited, therefore, do not delay to seek medical attention, legal advice, and take legal action after your injury. The sooner you act, the better your chances of obtaining justice and recovery.
Q: How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Texas?
A: The statute of limitations in Texas limits the time you have to file a personal injury claim to two years. There are some exceptions, however.
Q: How long after an injury can you sue in Texas?
A: You have up to two years from the date of the injury to file a claim unless you were under a legal disability, such as being a minor.
Q: What is the discovery rule in Texas for personal injury?
A: The discovery rule is an exception to the statute of limitations that applies to some personal injury cases. It defers the start of the statute of limitations until the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered their injury.
Michael uses his curiosity and skill to fight for people whose lives have been forever altered by tragic or traumatic events.