Texas has a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. You generally have two years from the date of an accident to file a lawsuit, per Texas law. If you attempt to take the at-fault party to court after two years, it is unlikely that you will be able to pursue legal action and hold the negligent party responsible.
While two years may seem like plenty of time to take action after a personal injury accident, it can take months to build a strong case before filing. For that reason, it is imperative that you reach out for legal help as soon as possible.
Understanding the Two-Year Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
A statute of limitations is a deadline placed on how long you have to file a lawsuit to secure reimbursement for your physical injuries, losses, and financial expenses.
However, the details of your case may change the exact amount of time you have to file. For example:
You Might Have Less Time if a Government Agency is Liable
When the liable party is a government agency, special rules apply. These rules could include limits on how much money you can collect and how quickly you need to notify them of the accident.
You Might Have More Time if the At-Fault Party Impeded the Legal Process
Sometimes, to avoid being held financially responsible, negligent parties will flee the state or hide their identities. If this happened in your case (like if you were hurt in a hit-and-run accident), you could have more time to take legal action.
In this instance, you could be granted additional time from the date the negligent party was found and identified.
You Might Have More Time if the Injured Party was Under 18 Years Old
When a minor suffers injuries in a car accident, the statute of limitations may not begin until they reach the age of 18. For example, a child may have until the day they turn 20 to file a lawsuit based on a personal injury accident in Texas.
There are other situations that could grant you more or less time to file your lawsuit, depending on your situation.
Texas’s Statute of Limitations Only Applies to Filing a Civil Lawsuit
The statute of limitations discussed here applies only to the time you have to file a lawsuit in a Texas civil court. It is important to note that most successful personal injury cases in Texas tend to settle out of court, per the American Bar Association (ABA).
Our approach to most personal injury cases includes:
- Meeting with the client to review their case and determine its validity
- Offering assistance if the client has a valid case
- Launching a full investigation into the incident, injuries, and value of the claim
- Using the information we find to build a case
- Approaching the responsible party’s insurer
- Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurer––if possible
- Litigating your case (if necessary)
Since we do not frequently take these cases to court, the statute of limitations does not always directly come into play. However, it is still crucial that we help our clients navigate the insurance claims process before this deadline passes.
Having the option to pursue legal action provides a key incentive for the insurance company to offer us a better settlement offer.
We will File a Lawsuit if the Insurer Won’t Settle
If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement agreement, we can still file a lawsuit and ask the judge to award you the funds they believe you deserve. If we wait and do not file an insurance claim until the last minute, we may not have this option.
The Implications of Failing to File Your Lawsuit on Time
Earlier, we mentioned that if you fail to file your personal injury case on time, the courts could dismiss the matter. That is not the only thing you would have to worry about, though. You also risk:
- Having to pay for your losses out of your own savings
- Limiting your financial recovery options
- Being unable to hold the negligent party accountable for your losses
By taking prompt action, you can protect your rights following an accident.
Talk to a Texas Personal Injury Attorney About when You Need to Take Action
The personal injury team at D. Miller and Associates, PLLC, can help you understand your options if you were injured by negligence in Texas. We can explain how the laws apply in your case and why it is essential to act quickly. We will help you build a claim against the at-fault party and fight for the funds we believe you deserve.
We offer free case reviews where you can learn about your options. Call us today at 713-850-8600 for your complimentary initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
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