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What is The Statute of Limitations in Texas For Personal Injury?

Posted by Trent Kelly on January 1, 2023
What is The Statute of Limitations in Texas For Personal Injury?

If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence in the State of Texas, such as in a car accident, the road toward recovery is likely to be both long and challenging. Regaining your physical health and well-being is difficult enough – but it is that much more so in the face of mounting medical bills and lost earnings related to lost hours on the job. When you factor in that you only have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit, it puts an even finer point on the matter. 

While you tend to your recovery, an experienced Texas personal injury attorney will help guide your claim toward an advantageous outcome.

The Statute of Limitations in Texas: Time Frame to File an Injury Claim

In Texas, you have only two years from the date of the accident that leaves you injured to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This is known as the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. While this may strike you like plenty of time to get the job done, it’s important to understand that being laid low by a serious injury – such as those caused by car accidents or slip and fall accidents – can put you out of commission for a considerable amount of time, and two years can elapse in a flash. Consulting with a dedicated personal injury attorney sooner rather than later is always in your best interest.

You can find out more about the two-year statute by referring to Section 16.003 in the state’s Civil Practices & Remedies code. This code states that a civil action for personal injury must be filed no later than two years after the date for the cause of action or the date of the injury.

If another party’s intentional or careless behavior led you to sustain an injury, you want to request the Texas courts to issue a civil remedy–damages–for losses. This two-year time frame applies to the principle of negligence or an intentional tort, which applies to assault and battery in the civil court.

Therefore, it is important to distinguish between negligence and intent in tort law. An intentional tort case occurs when a person harms you or someone else deliberately. Otherwise, most personal injury cases involve the other party’s negligent or reckless behavior.

What Happens If You Don’t File Within the Two-Year Period?

If two years have gone by since the personal injury or intentional tort claim and you submit a lawsuit, the other party will usually file a motion to dismiss. The court will typically support the dismissal. Even if you’ve sustained substantial damages, the clock has stopped ticking, and you lose your right to negotiate or settle a claim.

Noted Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations in Texas

The state has recognized several scenarios that may extend the statute of limitations clock, or at least pause it, after it begins to run. Below are examples of two of these exceptions.

  1. If the plaintiff has a legal disability – is under 18 years old, or is not of a sound mind, the clock normally does not start ticking until the litigant reaches the age of majority or is mentally competent to make a claim. This legal exception is listed under Section 16.001 of the Civil Practice & Remedies Code.
  2. An exception is noted as well if the defendant, or the party who allegedly caused the injuries, leaves the state of Texas within the two years following the accident. Their absence is not included in the two-year time frame, per Civil Practice & Remedies Code 16.063.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney ASAP to Avoid Losing Your Rights

If you have been hurt because of someone’s negligence or have been involved in an incident that involved an intentional tort, you need to contact a personal injury attorney without delay. You don’t want to lose your right to gain the compensation you need.

Again, Sooner Is Better than Later

In fact, it often is best to call an attorney shortly after an accident (even if you’re in the hospital), as it makes filing a claim easier. Not only is the incident still fresh on your mind, but it is also easier to gather the evidence or the testimonies of witnesses.

Don’t Delay Getting Medical Care After an Accident

Also, remember, if you’ve just been involved in an accident, get medical help, if possible, the same day. Even if you believe you’re physically or emotionally okay, some injuries may take time to surface. By having a doctor check you, you can connect with them more easily if you experience medical struggles or complaints at a later date.

Identifying Your Losses

The covered losses – or legal damages – you suffer as a result of the other party’s negligence can be immense, and a critical element of your claim is ensuring that all such losses are well accounted for.

Medical Expenses

The medical expenses you experience in relation to your personal injury claim may be ongoing. The more serious your injuries, the more extensive you can expect your medical expenses to be, and if you experience secondary health concerns or complications, these costs can be compounded. Common medical expenses include:

  1. Emergency care
  2. Surgery
  3. Hospital care
  4. Medical plans including treatments, procedures, and tests
  5. Pain management
  6. Rehabilitation
  7. Physical therapy
  8. Occupational therapy

Lost Income

While you are on the path toward recovery, you are very likely to be off the job and experience lost earnings as a result. This is difficult enough in the face of all those medical expenses, but if your earning potential is affected, it can be more so.

Pain and Suffering

The pain and suffering – both physical and emotional – you experience as a result of someone else’s negligence should receive the attention it deserves. Overcoming this category of loss can be exceptionally challenging.

Settling your claim before you understand the full extent of your losses can leave you with far less compensation than the amount to which you are entitled – and that you need to fully recover.

An Experienced Austin Personal Injury Attorney Is in Your Corner

The accomplished personal injury attorneys at Terry & Kelly PLLC are well equipped to help guide your claim toward its best possible resolution within the statute of limitations that guides it. We care about you and your claim, so please don’t delay contacting us for more information today.

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