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How Does the Texas Statute of Limitations Affect My Car Accident Claim?

Jan 13, 2023 - Car Accident by

A driver making a phone call after a car accident

In the immediate aftermath of a serious car accident, filing a personal injury lawsuit may not necessarily be the first item on your priority list. You already have a lot on your plate, just trying to heal and recover. You can always file a claim later, right?

Not necessarily. When left unfiled, your opportunity for compensation and justice may slip away. The Texas statute of limitations puts a timer on your personal injury case from the day it happens, something that many victims don’t know. And because critical evidence may start to disappear soon after the crash, the time limit to build a successful case may be even shorter.

While you recover from your injuries, let an experienced car accident lawyer handle your claim. An experienced Texas personal injury attorney, like those at Roberts & Roberts, will understand Texas personal injury statutes and can help protect your legal rights.

What is the Statute of Limitations in Texas?

Understanding the Texas personal injury statute of limitations can be the difference between success and failure for claimants. Each state has their own set of rules for when claims must be filed by. According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, all personal injury claims must be filed within two years—car accidents included.

While this may seem like a lot of time, it really isn’t. Consider what you may have to deal with after an accident:

  • Seeking medical attention
  • Filing a police report
  • Gathering evidence related to the crash (and who caused it)
  • Waiting to reach maximum medical improvement
  • Calculating current and future medical costs, lost wages, and other economic losses
  • Estimating a “fair” value for non-economic losses (like pain and suffering or emotional trauma)
  • Negotiating with the insurance company

Each of these steps will take time and effort on your part that can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Some of them may even require hiring expert witnesses.

That’s why it’s important to start early and call an experienced personal injury lawyer so you don’t have to face it alone.

Wrongful Death Claims

Although the statute of limitations is two years across all personal injury claims in Texas, there are exceptions for wrongful death claims. While the same two-year deadline applies to wrongful death claims, but this timeline can be delayed in certain circumstances.

First, the clock doesn’t begin to count down until the death occurs, even if the injury that caused the death occurred on a previous date. Further, if a minor child is eligible to bring a wrongful death claim for the loss of a parent, the statute of limitations is pushed forward to their 20th birthday.

Texas also has a “discovery” rule for wrongful death for cases where negligence isn’t discovered until well after the death—for example, if it was caused by drug that wasn’t known to be defective until years later. However, the discovery rule is unlikely to apply in any fatality related to an auto accident.

Accidents Involving Government Vehicles

Another rare exception is if your claim involves a government vehicle. In Texas, car accident claims involving government vehicles follow special rules that make them more complicated to file. Not only do claimants only have six months to file their claim, but they are also required to give the state a chance to respond to the allegations.

If your personal injury claim involves a government vehicle, time is of the essence. The shortened timelines of these claims make them that much more prone to running out of time, so be sure to file as soon as possible.

Related: What is the Legal Deadline in My Case?

Why Getting Started on Your Personal Injury Claim Quickly is Key

As soon as your car accident occurs, your first priority should be to seek immediate medical attention and protect yourself and loved ones. But be sure not to let your case go by the wayside, as it may cost you. The sooner you gather evidence, contact an attorney, and plan out your claim, the stronger your chances will be of winning your personal injury claim.

There are a few extremely important reasons for this.

One is that evidence could start to disappear almost immediately after the accident occurs. Debris gets cleaned up. Eyewitnesses forget details. Camera footage gets deleted. The sooner your attorney can begin investigating the case, the more likely they’ll be able to collect evidence crucial to your case.

Second, you want to give your attorney as much time as possible to review evidence, conduct detailed analyses, talk with experts, calculate your damages, and make sure your case is as strong as it needs to be to win a settlement or convince a jury. Factors like Texas’ shared fault rule can make car accident claims complicated, which makes every minute even more valuable.

Not every claim is straightforward. Shared fault rules mean you could be responsible for part of your accident. Depending on how your insurance views the incident, you could end up owing money. You need to be sure you’re protected before filing, so don’t wait to start the claims process until it’s too late to get help.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help Your Personal Injury Claim

It’s important to make the most out of your limited time to file. But if you don’t have much legal experience—and you’re also trying to recover from your injuries—taking on the responsibility alone can quickly exhaust injury victims and their families, physically and emotionally.

Hiring a personal injury lawyer may be your best decision when filing a personal injury claim. That way you don’t need to put any unnecessary stress on you and your loved ones after a traumatic accident. Personal injury attorneys know the right steps to take, including:

  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Gathering and analyzing evidence
  • Communication with your insurance
  • Determining the at fault party
  • Calculating damages
  • Filing a personal injury lawsuit

Your attorney will be there to protect your claim from any potential mistakes or overlooked details. Their experience will allow you to greatly increase your chances of fair compensation for your injuries and ensure your loved ones and community are protected from further injustice.

Roberts and Roberts: Texas Statute of Limitations Personal Injury Experts

When you’re injured in a car accident, you can’t afford to wait. At Roberts & Roberts, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to help you get the justice you deserve. We take your injuries personally and use our years of experience to ensure you and your loved ones are protected.

If you or a loved one are in need of legal assistance, contact our office today or call us 24/7 at (903) 467-5757 to schedule your free consultation.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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