Personal Injury and the Texas Statute of Limitations
In Texas as in other states, you are expected to claim damages for an injury accident in a timely manner. If you don’t, your time will run out. This time-limiting law is known as the “statute of limitations.” States have several different statutes of limitations for different types of claims. The practical purpose of a statute of limitations is fairness and protection of defendants: as time goes on, important evidence may be lost, and witnesses’ memories become less reliable. A statute of limitations also ensures that cases are handled with greater efficiency, so that potential charges aren’t hanging over a defendant’s head indefinitely. It‘s generally accepted that it’s more equitable to limit initiating legal proceedings to a reasonable period after the event.
The Texas statute of limitations for personal injury is two years. This deadline is strict. If you try to file a personal injury claim more than two years after your vehicle accident or slip-and-fall injury, you can expect that your lawsuit will be dismissed, even if you have a strong case. The law states, “A person must bring suit for… personal injury … not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues.”
The statute of limitations can be dramatically shorter if your injury case involves the potential liability of a government entity or employee in Texas. You can only file a formal claim with the unit of the government that you believe is responsible for causing your injury, not against the government as a whole, and the claim needs to be filed within just six months of the injury incident.
The statute of limitations kicks in when cause of the claim takes place, sometimes called the “accrual” of the “cause of action.” There are some cases where the statute of limitations can be extended; but only certain events or extenuating circumstances can “toll” (delay, or lengthen) the time for bringing a lawsuit. Texas law provides that when a minor (a person younger than 18) is “under a legal disability when the cause of action accrues, the time of the disability is not included in a limitations period.” This is another example of tolling: when a person is injured as a minor, she or he may file suit at any time before reaching the age of 20.
Clearly, you need to consult an attorney about your case to determine whether you are entitled to compensatory damages well before it’s too late to act.
At Hudson Law Firm, we put PERSONAL back into Personal Injury Law. For an injury claim evaluation, call us at (972) 360-9898, or visit our website to chat with an associate. We understand and care about your injury, and look forward to helping you with your accident claim.