A study by the Texas Department of Workers Compensation reveals Texas employers recorded over 178,600 non-fatal workplace injuries in 2020. Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation recorded 105,740 possible injury crashes in 2020, with 166,628 possible injury victims and 3,288 fatal crashes.
If you had an accident and are considering filing a personal injury claim in Texas, Thompson Law can help answer your questions in a free consultation, and there is no fee unless we obtain a settlement on your behalf.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Generally, a statute of limitation is a type of law that prevents an individual from initiating a lawsuit against another individual, group of people, or entity after a certain period of time has passed. How long you can wait to sue in Texas depends on the type of harm caused to you. As it relates to personal injury claims, a statute of limitations is an imposed limit on the duration you have to file a lawsuit after suffering an injury due to the negligence of a third party.
Every state in the United States sets statutory limits on the duration you have to file a lawsuit, and those statues of limitations vary both by state and the type of harm incurred. For example, the statue of limitations for a claim against an individual may vary from a claim against a government entity. This article helps outline the civil statute of limitations in every state in the United States.
The Statute of Limitations in Texas for Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations in Texas for personal injury claims states that you file the injury lawsuit within a two-year time limit from the date of the injury (Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003). You must file your lawsuit within this timeline to avoid losing a chance to receive damages for your injuries or else you right to seek damages expires.
What If I File the Injury Lawsuit After the Deadline?
Should you file your lawsuit after the two-year window has lapsed, the court may refuse to hear that claim. This means you will lose a chance to get fair compensation regardless of how strong your case is. After you file the case, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss the case based on a lapsed deadline. The court will summarily dismiss the case. However, there are rare exceptions that may entitle you to extra time. Contact your personal injury attorney whenever you are in doubt.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Texas for Personal Injury Claims
The state of Texas has identified several situations that may extend the filing deadline to allow litigants to file their injury claims past the two-year limit.
A few scenarios that may likely lead to the modification of the statute of limitations include:
Claims Involving Minors and Legally Disabled Persons
Where the injured person is legally termed as “Under a legal disability” as per Texas law, the statute of limitations may be modified. A person who is termed as “under a legal disability” could either be under the age of 18 or of “unsound mind” when the accident or incident that caused them personal injuries occurred. In such a case, the deadline clock is paused until the period of legal disability is over. This means that the statute of limitations will be applied once the injured person turns 18 or becomes mentally healthy.
Claims Against First-Party Automobile Insurance
In Texas, the deadline for filing the claim against first-party automobile insurance (i.e., your own insurance company) is between two and four years. First-party automobile insurance suits include an underinsured motorist claim, an uninsured motorist claim, or a personal injury protection claim. These lawsuits are filed against your own insurance company according to a written contract.
Wrongful Death Claims
There is an exception to the statute for cases where the victim dies as a result of their injuries. In these cases, the statute of limitations is extended to 2 years from the date of death to allow survivors to file a wrongful death claim. For example, if a loved one dies 6 months after an accident from injuries sustained in the accident, the statute starts to run 2 years after the date of death instead of the date of incident.
Inherently Undiscoverable Injuries
If an injury qualifies as “inherently undiscoverable” within the two-year statute of limitation, by the exercise of due diligence a claim can be subject to the discovery rule. If the court rules that the discovery rule applies, the statute of limitations is suspended until such a time when the injury is discovered in the exercise of due diligence.
Defendant Leaving the State
If the defendant leaves the state of Texas at some point after the accident and before the lawsuit is filed, the deadline clock will pause until their return. As such, the period of their absences is not counted as part of the two years stated in the Statute of Limitations.
Injury Claims Against the State of Texas
The Texas Tort Claims Act reduces the statute of limitations from 2 years down to 6 months for claims made against the State of Texas.
Under Title 28, § 1333 in the United State, the federal courts have jurisdiction over any and all maritime laws and claims, including the right to file a maritime lawsuit in state courts. Maritime accidents are complex and have several statute of limitations that may apply under state and federal law. However, the standard time for filing maritime claims in Texas is three years from when you suffer an injury.
Asbestos and Silica-Related Claims
Claims for personal injuries or death that result from asbestosis or silica-related illnesses have an extended statute of limitations. The two-year statute limit will not run before the date of the exposed person’s death or and the date that you serve a defendant a required report.
Claims Involving Sex Crimes Against Adults
Under Texas law, a victim of sex crimes should bring a suit for personal injury not later than five years from the day they suffered harm. The injury should arise due to conduct that infringes specific provisions of Texas Penal Code Chapter 21 and Texas Penal Code Chapter 43 that outlaw sexual assault of an adult, aggrieved sexual assault of an adult, actions that promote the prostitution of an adult, and sexual trafficking of an adult.
Why Do We Have a Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations have been part of the United States judiciary system for hundreds of years. The main objective of these rules is to protect a defendants’ rights and enhance the credibility of the court processes. These rules encourage the plaintiffs to pursue their lawsuit with some level of diligence.
The statute of limitations also ensures critical evidence is not lost over time. Further, it guarantees the witnesses who will testify in court can draw on more recent and reliable memories. Although the statute of limitations in Texas vary by the type of case being presented, generally the 2 year statute applies to most claims
Do You Need Help with Personal Injury Claims? Trust Thompson Law’s Injury Lawyers
A personal injury from road crashes, unsafe environments, or abuse can alter your life and those of your loved ones in an unprecedented manner. After a devastating injury, you need help to deal with insurance companies and make an injury claim. At Thomson Law, our personal injury lawyers are committed to fight for you and ensure you receive fair compensation so that you focus your energies on fully recovering.
With Thompson Law, you only pay when we win. For more details, get a free case review with one of our experienced attorneys at law using our contact form, or call us toll free today.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney Today
Determining fault in any type of accident can be a complicated process. However, it is crucial to make such determinations for you to recover from your injuries and losses fully.
For example, car crashes can result in hidden injuries which may be severe, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), dislocations or bone fractures, neck and spinal cord injuries, and more. Hiring Thompson Law’s accident and injury lawyers is the first step in ensuring you can file a successful claim and get appropriate compensation.
At Thompson Law, our initial consultation and case evaluation are free. Call Thompson Law or contact us online today for more details.