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How Texas’s Statute of Limitations Affects Personal Injury Cases

Being injured in an accident is a jarring experience and often a painful one; your injuries can vary from a minor scrape or bruise to something more severe. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you often deserve compensation for your damages. 

However, you don’t have forever to get around to filing a personal injury claim. Texas has a pretty strict statute of limitations for personal injury cases. However, sometimes there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. To help improve your understanding, here’s a closer look at the possible exceptions and if they may apply to your personal injury case.

The Statute of Limitations in Texas for Personal Injury Cases

To keep litigation moving smoothly through the civil court system, Texas, like all other states, imposes a statute of limitations. If you’re not sure what a statute of limitations is or how it can affect your injury case, the explanation is pretty simple.

The statute of limitations is a deadline that refers to how long you have to file a personal injury claim. Something quick to note is this statute of limitations only applies to personal injury cases involving negligence or intentional malicious actions.

So, how long do you have to file a personal injury claim? The state of Texas gives you two years from the date of the accident. Waiting past the two-year deadline may mean you’re no longer eligible to receive compensation for your damages. This can also apply to seeking compensation from your insurance provider.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are exceptions to the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. For example, if injuries sustained in the accident result in a fatality the statute of limitations doesn’t kick in until after the person has passed away. Now, you have two years to file a wrongful death claim. On top of this, some other exceptions can include:

  • Minors aren’t covered by the statute of limitations in Texas. Minors have two years to file a personal injury claim after they turn 18. In other words, the clock starts ticking on their 18th birthday.
  • If the defendant in your personal injury case commits fraud by concealing their actions leading up to the accident. You can petition the court to pause the statute until you can discover the fraud. This can also apply if the court determines that you should have learned about the fraud. How long the statute is paused depends on the type of fraud.
  • When a plaintiff’s injuries are severe enough to leave them mentally incapacitated the statute of limitations is typically paused until they can participate in their personal injury case. If the defendant is also injured in the accident and left unable to participate in their defense, this can be another reason for the statute of limitations to be temporarily halted. However, sometimes the court may decide to appoint a guardian to act on the plaintiff’s behalf and this gets the statute of limitations running again. An example is if the plaintiff is in a coma and healthcare professionals aren’t sure if they’re likely to fully recover.
  • Absent or missing from law enforcement. Bringing an injury claim against a defendant that can’t be found is impossible, at least for a while. Texas may pause the statute while authorities work to locate the defendant. However, sometimes this doesn’t affect the statute so it’s best to pay attention to all information relating to your injury claim.
  • Government entities are often allowed immunity from personal injury claims. This typically only applies when the government entity is acting in its official capacity when the accident occurred. If the entity waives its right to immunity, the statute of limitations will start from that date.
  • Military service is another reason the statute of limitations in Texas can be paused. However, the defendant must be on active duty and the statute restarts once their military service has ended.
  • Sometimes discovering the cause of the accident takes time and this can extend or pause the statute of limitations. Known as discoverability, it allows additional time to file a personal injury claim until after the cause is discovered.

The statute of limitations can also be paused or extended for a few special exceptions. This includes product liability and sexual assault cases resulting in injuries. Construction defect cases can also be an exception.

The Statute of Limitations May Be Running Out On Your Personal Injury Claim

It’s important for you not to delay when filing a personal injury claim, as there are strict time limits, typically starting from the date of the accident. 

To avoid missing any critical deadlines and to safeguard your rights, it’s wise to set up a consultation with a personal injury attorney. They can provide essential guidance on the timeline and assist you through the filing process, ensuring that your claim is submitted within the legal time frame.

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