What Is the Statute of Limitations & Why Does It Matter for Personal Injury Claims?May 1, 2018
The statute of limitations is a legal term referring to the deadline for filing a case. Established by state law and differing across states, statutes of limitations can apply to various types of civil cases, including personal injury cases.
Knowing how the statute of limitations works for personal injury cases in Texas is crucial for accident victims. This knowledge can empower victims to protect their claims and their rights to recovery.
What Are the Statutes of Limitation for Texas Personal Injury Cases?
Texas law1 establishes a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including (but not limited to) claims arising from:
When Does the Statute of Limitations Start?
The two-year deadline for filing a personal injury case in Texas starts counting down on either the date on which:
- The injury-causing event or accident occurred; OR
- The injury caused by an accident is discovered or diagnosed.
Please note that the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim will run outside and independent of any criminal (or other) case that may be associated with a given incident.
For instance, if a drunk driver causes an accident and injuries, the statute of limitations for filing a drunk driving accident claim will start counting down as of the day of the accident regardless of whether the driver is formally charged with a DUI (i.e., a criminal offense).
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What Is the Purpose of Having Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?
The intent of the statute of limitations is to encourage prompt legal action while witnesses and other evidence are readily available for a particular claim. The idea is to promote justice by preventing stale claims, with little to no evidence, from being filed.
What Happens If the Statute of Limitations Expires?
If a personal injury claim is not filed before the statute of limitations runs out, a victim (or prospective plaintiff) may be barred from seeking compensation for his or her injuries and losses.
In other words, if a victim fails to file a claim within the provided two-year period, any claim filed after the statute of limitations has expired can be dismissed (on grounds that it is a time-barred claim).
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes. There may be instances in which the court suspends the statute of limitations for a case or in which there may be shorter deadlines for filing claims (like the case of filing a claim against a government agency). An attorney at the Amaro Law Firm can explain whether your potential claim is subject to an exception or whether the standard two-year deadline applies.
The Bottom Line on the Statute of Limitations for Texas Personal Injury Claims
When it comes to filing deadlines for personal injury cases in Texas, the bottom line is that:
- It is usually in plaintiffs’ best interests to take prompt action to file their claims as soon as reasonably possible.
- Putting off a case for months or years can result in less evidence to support a case. It may even result in a claim being time barred if the statute of limitations run out before the claim is filed.
A Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm Is Ready to Help You: Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one has been injured by another’s negligence, contact a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm for essential advice regarding your options for pursuing compensation and justice.
Call (713) 352-7975, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for a FREE consultation. During your FREE consultation, we will review your potential claim, answer your questions and explain how to move forward. Free virtual and mobile consultations are available to anyone who cannot visit our offices.
1: Texas Rules of Civil Procedure