If you get injured in a car accident in Texas, it is vital that you file an injury claim before the state’s statute of limitations. This is a strict time limit that all injury claimants must obey. With only a few exceptions, if you miss your statute of limitations, the courts will dismiss your case. Discuss your exact time limit to file with a San Antonio car accident lawyer today.
What Are Statutes of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are legally enforced deadlines that require injured accident victims (plaintiffs) to file their causes of actions by a certain date. The purpose of the statute of limitations is to encourage prompt and timely filing. This can ensure important evidence is still available, such as accurate statements from eyewitnesses. Statutes of limitations also keep the justice system fair by preventing plaintiffs from holding the possibility of a lawsuit over defendants’ heads indefinitely.
Two-Year Statute of Limitations on a Typical Car Accident Claim
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003 is Texas’ statute of limitations on personal injury and property damage claims. This statute states that with only a few exceptions, a person must bring a lawsuit for an injury or property damage no later than two years after the date of the accident. The two-year deadline applies to most car accident cases in Texas and San Antonio, including crashes that cause catastrophic injuries. Failing to file the paperwork to bring a lawsuit within two years of a car accident may bar you from financial recovery.
Exceptions to the Rule
It is important to note that the statute of limitations in Texas has some exceptions to the general two-year deadline. Always speak to a car accident lawyer before assuming you have missed your deadline and forfeited the right to file. A lawyer may be able to identify an exception that gives you additional time to file. You may also have less than two years to file, however, depending on your type of case.
Exceptions to Texas’ statute of limitations include:
- The discovery exception. The discovery rule tolls, or extends, the statute of limitations if the victim discovers his or her injury on a date later than that of the accident. The clock won’t start ticking in these cases until the date the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury.
- Wrongful death claims. If you are filing a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident, you have two years from the date of his or her death, rather than the date of the collision.
- Claims involving criminal charges. If your car accident case involves hit-and-run, driving under the influence, or another crime, the courts may toll your deadline until the completion of the criminal case against the defendant.
- Claims against the government. In Texas, you must file a claim against a local or state government within just six months of the car accident.
- Claims involving minors. If your car accident case involves injury to a minor, the minor generally has two years from his or her 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. If you wish to file a claim on behalf of your minor child, however, you have two years from the date of the accident.
There are many confusing rules related to Texas’ statutes of limitations, and state laws are constantly changing. It is critical to talk to a lawyer about your statute of limitations to understand how long you have to file a car accident lawsuit.
When Should You File Your Car Accident Case?
If you miss your filing deadline, you risk giving up the right to hold one or more parties financially responsible for your recent car accident in San Antonio, Texas. The best way to protect your right to recover is by filing a car accident case as soon as possible. Contact an attorney immediately after getting into a car crash in Texas for help filing by the deadline.