What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury in Texas?
In the days and weeks following any type of accident, where you’ve suffered injury because of the wrongful or careless acts of another person, the changes and challenges you face every day can be paralyzing. You know you need to take steps to protect your legal rights, but you’re really just trying to get through each day. How long do you have to file a personal injury lawsuit? How much time can you take to adjust to your new normal? Are there benefits to moving swiftly to file a personal injury complaint? Are there potential consequences of waiting too long?
The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury in Texas
In Texas, as in all states, there’s a written law (referred to as a “statute”) that sets forth the amount of time you have within which to file legal action to recover for any losses caused by an accident. Commonly referred to as the “statute of limitations,” it varies, based on the type of legal claim being made. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years, typically starting at the time of the accident (though there may be exceptions, as discussed below).
What Is the Purpose of a Statute of Limitations?
It may seem odd that you have a limited period of time to seek compensation for your losses. Time, after all, won’t do anything to change the fact that you have suffered an injury and that the injury was caused by the defendant’s wrongful act.
The overarching objectives of the statute of limitations involve fairness and the efficiency of the judicial system:
- To successfully prosecute or defend a personal injury case, the parties must rely on evidence. Often, that evidence is in the form of eyewitness testimony, based on the recollections of people who saw what happened. Memories fade, though, even when the parties or witnesses to an accident write down their observations at the time of the mishap. Furthermore, witnesses may move away or may even die, further complicating the determination of liability.
- The threat of an impending lawsuit can be a significant source of stress. Another goal of the statute of limitations is to minimize the length of time that a potential defendant must live with the ever-present worry.
Can the Statute of Limitations Be Suspended or Extended?
In Texas, as in many states, the length of time you have to file a lawsuit may be extended under what is referred to as the “discovery rule.” The discovery rule holds that the two-year-period doesn’t start to run until the injured person either discovers or should reasonably have discovered the injury. Additionally, if the injury victim is a minor at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations won’t start to run until he or she becomes 18.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we have aggressively protected the rights of personal injury victims across the state of Texas for more than four decades. We have a thorough understanding of the laws and procedures governing personal injury lawsuits, and will make certain that all pleadings and other documents are accurately and timely filed. We will be your advocate throughout the legal process, from the filing of a personal injury lawsuit through the gathering of evidence to trial or settlement. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.