A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on your ability to file a lawsuit against another party. When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, once you’ve been injured, the clock starts ticking and when the time runs out, you no longer have legal recourse. This is why it’s important to act promptly whenever you’ve suffered an injury.
Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years. Per Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, personal injury civil lawsuits need to be filed no more than two years after the “day the cause of action accrues.” This means that the statute of limitations starts the day of the accident. You may have gone to the doctor a few days later and received your diagnosis, but the two years still start the day you were injured.
It’s also important to note that the statute of limitations for civil personal injury cases is the same whether the injury was intentional or whether it was caused by the negligence of another party.
Filing a Lawsuit After the Statute of Limitations Expires
No experienced personal injury attorney would attempt to file a lawsuit more than two years after the date of an injury, but sometimes injured parties who are not working with an attorney will try to sue, either because they are unaware of the statute of limitations, misinterpreted it, or because they believe that they can make a case to the judge to grant an exception.
If you try to file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss based on the fact that the injury occurred more than two years ago. The court will then summarily dismiss your case.
Exceptions to the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
There are some exceptions to the Texas personal injury statute of limitations that can extend the timeline. Before filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court on your own, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury law so you can fully understand all of the potential exceptions to the statute of limitations and whether they will apply to your situation. Two common examples include:
- When the injured party is of unsound mind or under the age of 18. In these circumstances, the statute of limitations clock doesn’t start at the time of the injury, but when the party becomes mentally competent or when they turn 18.
- If the defendant in the case leaves the state of Texas at some point during the two-year window; their period of absence is not counted as part of the two years, but the clock starts ticking again when or if they return to the state.
Schedule a Personal Injury Case Evaluation Today
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important not to delay in filing a lawsuit to get the compensation you deserve. To schedule a case evaluation with a personal injury attorney at Kelly Legal Group, contact us today at 512-505-0053.