Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Explained

Texas Statute Of Limitations Personal Injury

The clock starts ticking the moment you suffer a personal injury. In Texas, for most personal injury claims, an injured party has two years (Sec. 16.003) from the date the negligence resulted in injury, to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.

Failing to take legal action during this two-year timeframe may result in the inability to recover damage costs associated with your injuries.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Below we discuss common exceptions as well as the purpose for statute of limitations. The best way to determine if the statute of limitations has passed on your personal injury claim, is to speak to an experienced Houston personal injury attorney like Dax Garza.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Texas Personal Injury Claims

Exceptional circumstances may apply to many laws that extend the deadline for taking legal action in a Texas personal injury claim. The laws surrounding these circumstances are clearly defined and apply limits even in these exceptional situations. While some exceptions to the law extend the time limit, others shorten the timeframe significantly.

Claims Impacting Individuals Under Legal Disability

Texas personal injury laws may allow the statute of limitations to accommodate individuals with a disability. Texas laws declare an individual is under legal disability (Sec. 16.001) when:

  • A person is under the age of 18, regardless of marital status
  • An individual is of unsound mind

When a personal injury occurs to someone with a legal disability in Texas, the clock that generally starts, beginning the legal time to take action, is paused until a disability ends.

In these circumstances, the clock starts ticking on the amount of time left to pursue a claim when the injured party turns 18 or becomes mentally capable of pursuing a claim.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas

wrongful deathYour loved one may suffer fatal injuries because of negligence. When this occurs, the time the surviving family of the injured party has to file a wrongful death (16.003(b)) claim begins on the date of a loved one’s death and extends two years from this date. For example, it may be possible a loved one is injured in a Texas oilfield accident and tragically succumbs to their injuries two weeks later. The time you have to take legal action begins on the date of their passing. The family of the deceased may also have the legal option to file a survival action (Sec. 71.021) on behalf of their loved one. A personal injury attorney at Dax F. Garza, P.C. will discuss all the legal options available.

Inherently Undiscoverable Injuries

Some injuries may be inherently undiscoverable within the two-year limit. In these instances, a court may rule that the statute of limitations is paused until the injuries are fully known.

Maritime Claims Statute of Limitations

Many Texans are employed in the maritime industry. Federal laws apply to all maritime claims. While several rules apply on the state and federal level, most maritime claims must be filed within three years (§30106) of an injury. However, these laws are complex, and time limits may vary according to the circumstances in each case, requiring the assistance of a Houston maritime lawyer.

A Defendant Leaves the State

Should the party whose negligence resulted in your injuries leave the state after the injury occurred but before a lawsuit is filed, the clock on the statute of limitations is paused until the defendant returns.

Claims Against Your Personal Auto Insurance

Texas drivers may choose supplemental auto coverage in addition to the required liability insurance. Drivers with additional coverage, including personal injury protection and uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage, may file a claim against their insurance company within two to four years, depending on the type of insurance, for damages in an auto accident.

Claims Involving the State of Texas

Texas has significantly reduced the time a party has to file an injury claim against the state. A personal injury claim must be filed within six months (Sec. 101.101) of an injury if it involves negligence on the part of the state.

The Purpose of the Statute of Limitations and How Waiting to Pursue an Injury Claim Can Impact Your Case

Proof must exist that a negligent action occurred; otherwise, there is no case. As time passes, evidence becomes compromised, and it becomes more challenging to locate or may be destroyed. Memories of events are forgotten and become unclear over time, making eyewitnesses less reliable. The statute of limitations helps to preserve the evidence of a case.

A time limit for taking civil action also removes the cloud of potential liability from a defendant at a determined point in time. Without limitations, a lawsuit could indefinitely threaten the potentially negligent party. A time limit provides relief to possible defendants in a case.

State courts continually experience full dockets, making it challenging to address recent lawsuits. Without a statute of limitations, the Texas legal system would experience significant burdens. The statute of limitations also encourages parties to settle before going to court. The timeframe allows the pursuit of legal action while providing an avenue to settle without court litigation.

injured victimWhile you may be unsure if filing a claim is the right course for you, discussing these options with a Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible will help ensure you do not lose these rights due to missed deadlines. Additionally, as discussed, preserving the evidence in a claim is critical. Solid evidence supports a better outcome in personal injury claims.

Substantial proof of negligence is more likely to encourage a settlement. Going to court to fight sound evidence is costly. A Houston personal injury attorney can begin building your case immediately to negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries.

Contacting the skilled Houston personal injury lawyers at Dax F. Garza, P.C. soon after you are hurt also removes the legal burden from you, allowing someone else to step in to shoulder the load. Suffering a personal injury starts the clock and reduces your time to act with each second. Individuals have the legal right to pursue damages for injuries in a personal injury claim.

Whether an accident occurred yesterday or months have passed since the incident, we want to hear from you and discuss your options for compensation. The team at Dax F. Garza, P.C. can determine whether time limits permit you to take the legal steps to file a claim. Exceptions to the limitations apply. We will take every approach to examine your rights under the law to pursue the compensation you deserve.

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