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

If you sustain an injury due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may qualify for compensation through a personal injury claim in Texas civil court. However, not everyone who experiences a personal injury is eligible to collect these funds — especially if the accident occurred many years ago. Texas’s statute of limitations imposes a strict deadline for filing a personal injury claim, and if you wait too long to file, the court will likely refuse your claim.

Texas’s Two-Year Statute of Limitations

According to the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Sec. 16.003, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas civil court. If you file after this time period, the person you are holding liable will most likely file a motion to dismiss your claim. Once the court realizes you filed outside of the statute of limitations, it will almost certainly dismiss your claim.

There are two exceptions to this rule.

  • Texas will extend your filing deadline if the at-fault party in your claim moves out of Texas for a period of time. If the defendant leaves Texas at some point after the accident and before you could file your lawsuit, the court will not count his or her absence toward the statute of limitations.
  • If you were under the age of 18 or under a legal disability at the time of the accident, Texas will not begin the statute of limitations clock until you turn 18 or the period of disability is over.
  • If a government agency is liable for your injuries, special rules will apply to your case. You may have a shorter window to file your claim than if you were filing against a private company or individual.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may have longer than the usual two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if your lawsuit names certain entities as liable parties, you may have even less time to file. You should consult with your attorney to determine your exact filing deadline.

Why Are Statutes of Limitations Important?

The purpose of personal injury lawsuits is to provide tangible justice to people who are the victims of another person or entity’s negligence. You may wonder why statutes of limitations are in place, since they may seem to prevent innocent people from obtaining this justice.

Statutes of limitations are important for two main reasons: evidence and credibility. The longer you wait to file your claim, the more likely your evidence will not be as fresh as it would have been if you filed within the two years following the accident.

Eyewitness memories can deteriorate and these individuals may pass away or leave the area. Physical evidence may be destroyed or disappear in the years following the accident. As a result, it can become more difficult to prove your need for damages. With statutes of limitations in place, you can protect your best interests and strengthen your overall claim.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Lawsuit

After experiencing a personal injury in Texas, it is absolutely crucial that you speak to a personal injury attorney in McAllen. Speaking to your injury lawyer will ensure that you understand what statute of limitations your case is subject to, and the exact deadline you will need to file to ensure you remain eligible for compensation.

Your injury lawyer will begin the preliminary investigation into your claim, as well as file the necessary paperwork to launch the lawsuit process. Your personal injury attorney can also handle all negotiations and discussions with insurance agents and other lawyers on your behalf. Protect your personal injury claim by contacting your attorney as soon as possible following your accident.