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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Is the Statute of Limitations in Texas for Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Victims of personal injuries should be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a claim in the state of Texas. Understanding the parameters can help prevent a missed deadline that could jeopardize the victims' potential to receive compensation for their injuries.

The personal injury statute of limitations in Texas is generally two years from the date of injury or the date on which the injury became apparent. If the victim fails to file their personal injury lawsuit within this time frame, they may be unable to pursue legal action and receive damages for their injuries entirely.

There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as in cases where an injured individual has a legal disability, such as being a minor or mentally incompetent at the time of injury.

It's important for plaintiffs to note that the statute of limitations applies to all personal injury cases, not just those involving car accidents. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like, "Does Texas have personal injury protection?"

This includes medical malpractice, sexual assault, and maritime claims. Additionally, the statute of limitations applies to wrongful death claims resulting from personal injuries, where the filing deadline is generally two years from the date of the exposed person's death.

What Is Texas' Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

What Is Texas' Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code (Section 16.003) governs the state's statute of limitations for personal injury claims.

This Texas law dictates a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury cases, meaning that injured individuals have 24 months from the date of injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. If the filing deadline expires, the injured person or plaintiff may lose their right to pursue legal action against the at-fault party for their personal injury claim.

  1. Discovery Rule

Victims and plaintiffs should be aware of certain exceptions to Texas' statute of limitations.

The discovery rule applies in cases where the clock starts ticking when the injured party discovers their injuries.

As a result, if a patient learns that they were the victim of medical malpractice six months after the treatment, the statute of limitations will start running from that point, not from the medical procedure date.

  1. Legal Disability

Another exception is when the injured party is under a legal disability. If the victim, for example, is a minor (under 18 years of age) at the time of injury, the two-year statute of limitations does not start running until they become a legal adult.

In some cases, the statute of limitations can extend if the injured party is mentally incompetent.

  1. Asbestosis-related Personal Injury Claims

On the other hand, Texas' personal injury statute of limitations can extend in asbestos-silica-related cases. In this case, the statute of limitations deadline will extend if the case's discovery was on the date of the exposed person's death.

  1. Maritime Claims

According to the state and federal law of Texas, personal injuries regarding maritime accidents have different statutes of limitations. The deadline can typically be three years, but it also depends on where the victim was at the time of the accident, such as:

  • Offshore

  • Onshore

  • Ocean

  • Dock

  • Waterway

  • Highway

  • Suburb

Maritime claims may have a longer statute of limitations than other personal injury cases.

Missing the Deadline for a Personal Injury Claim in Texas

Personal injury claims can help victims of accidents or intentional harm recover monetary compensation for their losses. However, if they fail to secure their chance to file a claim or a lawsuit within the time allowed by law, the victim(s) may lose their legal right to recover compensation.

Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a person who seeks to recover damages from the at-fault party for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death must file a lawsuit within two years after the cause of action accrues.

In the context of personal injury claims, the cause of action usually accrues on the date of the accident or injury. Therefore, if victims wait over two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, the court may dismiss their case without considering the merits.

Why Is the Statute of Limitations Important for Personal Injury Claims?

The statute of limitations serves several purposes. Missing a personal injury claim deadline in Texas can be a costly mistake that may prevent plaintiffs from recovering the compensation they deserve.

  • Strict Timeline

First, it ensures that all personal injury claims are filed promptly so that the parties involved can gather evidence, interview witnesses, negotiate a fair settlement, or present their case in court.

  • Valid Arguments

Second, it protects the at-fault party from being sued indefinitely for an event that occurred in the distant past, when memories may fade, witnesses may move away or die, and evidence may be lost or destroyed.

  • Immediate Action

Third, it provides a transparent and predictable framework for resolving disputes, which helps reduce uncertainty, delay, and costs for both parties.

However, the statute of limitations can also pose a risk for personal injury victims who do not realize the deadline or underestimate the complexity of their case.

Victims who wait too long to seek legal advice or prepare their case may find it harder to recover compensation, even if they have a solid personal injury claim.

Insurance companies may use the expiration of the statute of limitations as a reason to reject the victim's demand or offer a lower settlement than what the plaintiff truly deserves.

Judges may dismiss the lawsuit even if the victim has a compelling story or substantial evidence simply because they did not file the personal injury claim within the statute of limitations deadline.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Insurance Claims?

In general, the statute of limitations for most automobile insurance claims is two to four years from the date of the accident.

This means that if the victim does not file a claim within this period, they may be unable to recover compensation for their damages or injuries.

Filing an underinsured motorist claim or personal injury protection claim, in this instance, is done against the victim's insurance agency.

As a result, if the plaintiff believes that their insurance agency has violated its obligations pursuant to a written contract or failed to provide compensation, they may have the legal right to sue the company for breach of contract. This is known as a first-party claim.

The Importance of Acting Quickly in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Accident victims suffering from severe personal injuries need to act quickly. Taking the following steps can help them secure the compensation they deserve:

  • Seeking Medical Attention

Even if the injuries do not appear serious, victims should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will ensure that their injuries are correctly diagnosed and treated and that the medical records can be used as evidence in their personal injury case.

  • Filing a Police Report

If the personal injury was caused by a car accident, the no-fault driver should file a police report immediately. The official record of the accident can provide valuable evidence for their personal injury case.

  • Contacting a Personal Injury Attorney

Generally, a qualified personal injury attorney can help victims understand their legal options and guide them through the personal injury claims process. They can also help plaintiffs negotiate with the insurance company and fight for the compensation they deserve.

  • Taking Swift Action

Time is of the essence when it comes to personal injury claims in Texas. Failing to act quickly can result in the victim losing their chance to recover fair compensation entirely.

Seeking Legal Help for Personal Injury Claims

Seeking Legal Help for Personal Injury Claims

The best way a victim can maximize their chances of recovering compensation for their personal injury claim is to consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. An attorney can help them:

  • Understand the applicable statute of limitations and other deadlines that may affect their personal injury protection claim.

  • Investigate the scene of the accident or the circumstances that led to the injuries.

  • Gather evidence, such as medical records, police reports, photographs, and witness statements.

  • Assess the claim's value based on the victim's losses, such as medical bills, lost income, property damage, and pain and suffering.

  • Negotiate with the insurance company on the client's behalf or represent them in court if needed.

By working with a personal injury lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and resources to handle the case within Texas' statute of limitations, plaintiffs can avoid common mistakes, overcome obstacles, and achieve a fair and just outcome. They can provide insight on what the average personal injury settlement in Texas is.

Final Words

It's essential for victims to file a personal injury claim on time because failure to do so could result in a loss of the legal right to seek compensation.

Once the two-year statute of limitations has expired, plaintiffs cannot bring a claim against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Even if the no-fault party does have a strong case with significant injuries, it will be virtually impossible for them to recover compensation.

Insurance companies are always looking for ways to reduce their expenses. They will argue that, since Texas' statute of limitations has expired, they are no longer responsible for paying damages.

However, an attorney can help victims navigate the complicated legal process and ensure that they file their claim within Texas' statute of limitations. The Dallas injury law firm will also assist clients in gathering evidence, negotiating with the insurance agency, and taking their cases to court if necessary.

Victims can seek free consultation sessions from Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. With "We Go to War for You" as its motto, the law firm can help personal injury victims recover maximum compensation for their losses.


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