If you've been hurt in an accident in Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is called the Statute of Limitations.
The Texas Statute of Limitations
The Texas Statute of Limitations gives you two years to file a lawsuit before your time limit to make a legal claim expires.
According to Texas law, injury victims have a two-year deadline from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you allow that deadline to pass and you haven't yet taken action, it's too late: you will be barred from submitting a claim to the insurance company, and you will be unable to recover compensation for your medical bills, damages, and so on.
Please note that contacting the insurance company is not enough. You must actually file a lawsuit at the courthouse. There may be times when you’re getting close to the statute date but you haven’t yet reached the point in the process when you’d normally file a lawsuit. If this happens, your personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit to ‘save’ the statute; i.e. to prevent the statute from running out in the event that the case cannot be resolved short of a lawsuit.
Filing a Lawsuit and What It Means for You
If you were in a car, truck, bus or motorcycle accident in Texas and it was the other driver's fault, you have a right to make a claim against them (and their insurance company) for compensation. This is the reason we all carry insurance.
The money paid out by their insurance will help cover your medical bills, lost wages, car repair bills, pain, suffering, lost earning capacity and more.
However, if you and the other driver's insurance can't come to an agreement on the terms of your wreck (for instance, they don't want to pay you enough money to cover your medical bills), you might have to file a lawsuit against them. This is most common when the insurance company's offer is extremely low compared to your actual bills and you can't afford to cover the cost of the difference on your own.
Why Do Some People Wait to File a Claim?
There are a lot of reasons people might delay filing a claim. Some examples include:
- They procrastinate
- They don't have time
- The process is too confusing
- They don't want to be "sue happy"
- They don't realize how hurt they are or how much their medical bills will be
- They think they should settle it "under the table"
- They're afraid of the outcome
- They don't realize there's a deadline
What Happens If I Miss the Two Year Statute of Limitations Deadline?
Unfortunately, after the two year deadline, you've lost your right to make a claim forever. If you think you're approaching the two year deadline and you're worried about the future of your case, you should consult your personal injury attorney.
What If I Don't Know If I Want to File a Claim?
It's an important decision, so I understand why you might be unsure. However, I want to warn you against taking too long to decide whether or not to file a claim. The sooner you choose to pursue a claim, the sooner evidence can be collection, witnesses interviewed and other important documents secured. If you want help making the decision, I'd suggest calling your personal injury attorney; they can tell you if you have a good case and whether or not it's worth pursuing.
And again, if you wait longer than two years to file a claim with the insurance company, you will forgo your right to do so entirely.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Yes, a few, most of which apply to children who were injured before they turned 18.
My Statute Date Is Coming Up Soon. What Should I Do?
If you have a statute date that's approaching soon and you have questions about the next best steps, please contact our office to set up your free consultation with our attorneys. During the consultation, our attorneys will look at the details of your case and let you know the next best steps to take, and whether it's worth filing a lawsuit. The consultation is no obligation and no cost.