A statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time after an accident that legal action can be initiated. In the state of Texas, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years. That means you have no more than two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for your injury.
If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit with the court, you will lose your right to seek any compensation for this incident. That’s why it is crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations and to take swift action if you’ve been hurt.
Do not let any more time pass without speaking to a personal injury attorney about your accident. Contact the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, today for a free consultation. We can evaluate your case, explain the time limits that apply, and get to work immediately.
Why Do We Have Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are intended to make the justice system fair and to ensure efficiency within the court system. Statutes of limitations are essential due to:
- Time – Statutes of limitations ensure that lawsuits are filed in a timely manner, while also allowing victims time to fully assess their damages. In personal injury cases, victims may not realize how their injuries will affect their lives right away. Attorneys need time to document the injuries and assess future care needs.
- Facts – Over time, evidence can be tampered with, destroyed, or lost. When it comes to evidence based on an individual’s memory, these memories can fade, become skewed, or the person can pass away before being able to testify. Evidence must be collected in a timely manner to ensure its integrity.
- Harassment – Statutes of limitations ensure that potential defendants do not have the threat of a lawsuit following them around indefinitely.
Statutes of Limitations for Civil Claims in Texas
If you’ve been hurt due to someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or an intentional act, there is a limited time to take legal action. Below are the statutes of limitations for civil claims in Texas:
Personal Injury: 2 years
Wrongful Death: 2 years
Property Damage: 2 years
Product Liability: 2 years (or 15 years from when the product was sold)
Medical Malpractice: 2 years
Exceptions to the Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
There are some exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations in Texas. Three common scenarios can put a hold on the countdown to the deadline, giving you additional time to file a lawsuit. The three situations that can extend a statute of limitations deadline are:
- If the victim is “under a legal disability,” which means the victim was under the age of 18 or of unsound mind at the time of the incident. The two-year countdown won’t begin until the victim turns 18 or becomes mentally competent.
- If the person who caused the injury leaves the state of Texas for a period of time, the countdown stops. Their absence does not count toward the two years, and the countdown won’t begin again until they return.
- If the injured party did not know that he or she had a potential personal injury claim, the statute of limitations might get extended. The countdown to the deadline will not begin until the victim knew or should have known that he or she suffered an injury, or that the other person involved in the incident was at fault for the injury.
What If You Miss the Filing Deadline?
Generally speaking, when the deadline to file a lawsuit in a personal injury claim in Texas passes, you lose your opportunity to seek monetary compensation from the individual responsible for your injury.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in Texas for a Car Accident Case?
In Texas, the statute of limitations for a car accident case is two years. If you become injured in a car accident and there’s proof that the other driver caused it, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for compensation. You will have two years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit against the driver. If the statute of limitations runs out, you will lose all rights to bring legal action against them.
Texas is considered a “fault” state, which means an injured individual may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In most cases, you would be eligible to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
Contact an Experienced El Paso Personal Injury Attorney Today
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, have been providing high-quality legal representation and compassionate service to El Paso residents and visitors for more than 30 years. We have extensive experience handling a wide variety of personal injury cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and many more.
We have three conveniently located offices in El Paso, so call us, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form to schedule your free consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney today.
Remember: Time is of the essence in a personal injury claim. Although two years may seem like a long time, your attorney will need to do a lot of work to prepare a strong case for compensation. Your lawyer will need to conduct a thorough investigation of your accident and document the full extent of your losses. The sooner this legal work begins, the better.