Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
If you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ll want to seek compensation for your injuries and any expenses related to them. However, what the personal injury claim process in Texas actually entails can be quite complicated. Most accident victims find it beneficial to work with a personal injury attorney to ensure they have a strong case and are meeting all the requirements and deadlines. While the specifics of what you need to file a successful claim are important to get right, it’s equally as important to know when you have to file. The deadline to file a personal injury claim can sneak up on you faster than you think.
If you’re in Fort Worth or anywhere else in Texas, including the Dallas and Houston areas, reach out to us at The Haslam Firm. Our personal injury attorneys can offer you skilled advocacy and knowledgeable guidance regarding your case. Contact our team to schedule a consultation.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries in Texas
You may have heard the term, “statute of limitations,” but may not be sure what it actually means or how it pertains to you and getting compensated for your damages. It may surprise you to hear that it’s actually a critical component of any personal injury case, and if you don’t follow it, you could be left with nothing.
What does “statute of limitations” mean?
Essentially, a statute of limitations is a strict time limit you have to file a civil lawsuit against someone else seeking damages. This time limit must be adhered to and there are very few exceptions if you go past it. This law is meant to help all parties get the legal solutions they need without imposing an undue burden on anyone. For example, the defendant is protected because they know they won’t get sued for an action or event that happened a decade ago, and by filing within the time limit, the victim can also increase their chances of a favorable outcome because it will be easier to gather evidence and to remember and prove the details of the event in question.
What is the statute of limitations in Texas?
There isn’t one set statute of limitations for all civil cases, so it’s important to understand the time limits that apply to your particular needs. That said, for most personal injury cases in Texas, the statute of limitations is two years. You have two years from the incident to file a lawsuit with the courts. This includes:
Product liability (though in some cases, the statute of limitations can extend until 15 years)
I’ve Missed the Filing Deadline. Now What?
Most people aren’t familiar with the time limits regarding cases like this. It’s only natural that you may wish to bring a suit forward only to find out too late that you’re past the statute of limitations. This is a very real scenario that can drastically impact your ability to collect damages. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
In most cases, the court will dismiss your case if you attempt to file after the statute of limitations has run out. This is typically achieved by the defendant filing a “motion to dismiss” which more than likely will be approved by a judge.
It negatively affects your leverage in settlement negotiations. Once the court rejects your claim, you’re more or less barred from seeking any damages for your injuries, even if you have a clear-cut case on your hands and there’s no question as to the liability of the defendant.
Even though it may seem like a long time, two years pass by much more quickly than you think, especially given the fact that most people will initially try to get compensated through a traditional insurance claim. This makes it all the more important to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Texas
Are there exceptions to the statute of limitations? Yes, but these are very specific and can only be used if you meet the requirements set out by the state. Here are a couple of examples:
One exception is for those who are under the age of 18 or are of “unsound mind” when they’re injured. In this case, the statute of limitations won’t begin until the individual is deemed mentally competent or until they turn 18.
Another exception occurs when the at-fault party leaves the state of Texas for a substantial length of time, in which case the time they’re away won’t count toward the statute of limitations.
Protect Your Present & Future
If you believe you have the grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit, the time to act is now. Reach out to us at The Haslam Firm for trusted legal help in Fort Worth, Texas.