What Is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas?
Getting into a car accident can be a scary, confusing, and stressful experience. You may be seriously injured and/or your car may have been totaled. While trying to fully recover and get your life back on track, time can go by quickly and you may not realize that you only have a short amount of time to file a lawsuit relating to your car accident. Car crashes often involve significant medical expenses, car repairs, lost wages, and other financial burdens that can put unnecessary stress on your family. Filing a lawsuit before time runs out is essential to obtaining fair financial compensation for your damages.
The time limit for filing a civil lawsuit is called the “statute of limitations.” Each state has its own statute of limitations set for each type of lawsuit. Statutes of limitations exist to protect defendants from legal action after an unreasonable amount of time has passed. These time limitations also encourage plaintiffs with valid claims to pursue them diligently. Time limits also help keep evidence necessary to prove the claim is valid from getting lost over time.
In Texas, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit related to personal injuries or property damage that occurred in a car accident is two years from the date the accident occurred. That means that the victim of a car accident has exactly two years to file any lawsuits against the person who caused the collision. If an auto accident victim does not file their lawsuit within the two-year window, they may lose their right to receive compensation for injuries suffered as a result of the car accident altogether.
The statute of limitations becomes active once the person or persons involved know or should have reasonable knowledge of the harm caused (injuries and damages) by the motor vehicle accident. In almost all accidents – including car, truck, pedestrian, and motorcycle accidents – victims usually know when physical harm has been caused to themselves, their loved ones, and/or their vehicle. If a person died as a result of a car crash and their family would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who caused the car crash, the two-year deadline still applies but does not toll (or begin to run) until the person passes away.
If you file a personal injury lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, the case will most likely be dismissed. A few exceptions can affect how long the statute lasts. If the car accident victim is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until they turn 18. The statute of limitations can also be extended beyond the two-year mark if the defendant leaves the state before you can begin legal proceedings. The period of time during which the defendant is gone will not count against the two years you have to take legal action.
Texas Car Accident Attorneys
In Texas, filing your personal injury claim within the two-year statute of limitations is critical to receiving fair compensation for your car accident injuries and damage to your vehicle. Time will pass quickly and hiring an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process is key to a positive legal outcome. By contacting our legal team quickly after being in a car accident, we can help preserve the evidence needed to pursue legal action against those who hurt you. Contact us today to discuss your case.