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Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

If you were injured in an accident, there is a time limit to take legal action and claim compensation for your losses. The Texas personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the accident date, which means you only have a two-year period to file a lawsuit to recover damages. However, there may be some exceptions and possible extensions to this rule. Our Texas personal injury attorneys at Shamieh Law can help.

When someone sustains injuries and damages in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, every state has laws limiting the time the victim has to bring a legal claim. This restriction is called the statute of limitations. After the limitations period expires, the victim forfeits their right to recover damages. While this time limit applies to most cases, certain circumstances may affect the Texas personal injury statute of limitations.

Because the timeframe to file a lawsuit after a personal injury is so short, taking action quickly is vital. Contact Shamieh Law to speak with a Texas personal injury lawyer who can help you understand your rights and what deadlines apply to your case. We have offices in Dallas and Austin and are ready to work on your claim immediately. Schedule your free case evaluation today to see how we can help you and your family fight for justice.

What Is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Texas?

Generally, the statute of limitations for personal injury in Texas is two years from the accident date or when the victim discovered the injury. This restriction means that victims only have two years to file a lawsuit and seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the accident.

However, different types of personal injury cases may have varying time limits in Texas. It’s important to understand what deadline may apply to your case so you don’t lose the chance to bring a legal claim. Here are the general timeframes that apply to common personal injury cases in Texas:

While the two-year statute of limitations applies to medical malpractice cases, Texas has a statute of repose that bars victims from bringing a legal claim more than 10 years after the incident date. Likewise, defective product claims cannot be filed after 15 years from the sell date of the product—even if the injury just happened.

At Shamieh Law, our knowledgeable Austin and Dallas personal injury attorneys know what time limits affect your case and how to file your lawsuit before the deadline.

Why Is There a Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Texas?

The purpose of the statute of limitations for Texas personal injury cases is to encourage victims to take legal action quickly before crucial evidence is lost. Having accurate accident details and relevant evidence to support your case is essential for justice to be served. When too much time passes, it is more difficult to prove negligence and identify damages caused by the accident.

All states have a statute of limitations for civil cases, including personal injury claims. If the statute of limitations has expired, a court will likely dismiss a personal injury case. These deadlines are designed to ensure fairness for both plaintiffs and defendants within the Texas legal system.

When Does the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Begin to Run?

While every case is different, the statute of limitations for Texas personal injury cases begins to run on the accident date or when the victim discovered the injury. For many victims, the day of the accident is when they know they are injured. However, others may not know they suffered injuries until days, weeks, months, or years after the incident occurred.

For example, a patient undergoes minor surgery. Several months after the surgery, the patient experiences severe pain and other serious symptoms caused by the surgeon’s negligence during the procedure. In this case, the statute of limitations will begin on the date the patient discovered the injury, not the surgery date.

If you’re confused about the time limit for your case, promptly consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. A Texas attorney can determine your case deadline and walk you through the legal process.

Are There Exceptions to the Texas Statute of Limitations?

Some circumstances can affect the two-year deadline for filing your Texas personal injury case. Notable exceptions to the statute of limitations in Texas include the following.

The Victim Is a Minor

If the injured victim was under 18 when the accident occurred, the statute of limitations may “toll,” or pause, until the victim turns 18. If no claim was made while the child was a minor, this rule gives victims two years to pursue their claim after they become adults.

However, this rule is different for medical malpractice cases. Under Texas law, medical malpractice victims under 12 have until they reach 14 to file a claim to recover damages.

It is common for parents or guardians to file a lawsuit on their child’s behalf after an accident. If this happens, the victim cannot bring a second claim once they reach adulthood.

The Victim Is Mentally Incompetent

The statute of limitations in Texas may also be extended for mental incompetency. When a victim is mentally incompetent, the statute of limitations pauses until they become legally competent, which can take a significant amount of time.

The Defendant Leaves the State

If the at-fault party leaves Texas before the victim can file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations tolls until that person returns. This exception means that the period the defendant is not in Texas does not count towards the statute of limitations.

Claims Involving Asbestos and Silica Exposure

If the personal injury or wrongful death claim involves asbestos or silica exposure, the two-year statute of limitations begins running on the date of the victim’s death or when the victim serves the defendant the required report for their injury claim.

The Defendant Is a Government Entity

Suing a Texas government agency has a much shorter timeframe than other types of personal injury claims. Texas law requires victims to provide notice of a claim against any government unit within six months after the incident. This notice must have specific information, including:

  • The injuries and damages claimed
  • The time and place of the accident
  • Details of what happened

Further, if you plan to file a personal injury claim against the City of Austin, the deadline is even stricter. You must notify the city in writing within 45 days of the incident for your claim to be considered. Speak with an Austin personal injury attorney promptly to ensure you don’t lose the chance to recover damages.

The Discovery Rule Applies

When an injury is considered “inherently undiscoverable” within the two-year limitations period, the victim may have two years from the injury’s discovery to file a claim. Reasons the injury was not discoverable may include fraud, concealment of evidence, or the harm simply being undetectable until much later.

Can the Texas Statute of Limitations Ever Be Extended?

There are very limited circumstances under which accident victims can extend the Texas personal injury statute of limitations. Generally, your case will be immediately dismissed if the statute of limitations has expired. However, some situations will allow for more time.

For example, if you can show that the discovery rule applies to your case, you may have an extended period to take legal action. The statute of limitations also may pause for victims on active military duty or legally disabled.

How Shamieh Law Can Help You File Your Lawsuit

If you’re injured in a Texas accident, you have a very short timeframe to claim compensation. While two years might seem like a long time, it can go by quickly while you’re recovering from your injuries and trying to get your life in order. Because every case is different, a shorter time limit also may apply to your situation.

To avoid missing the deadline for filing a lawsuit, promptly contact our Texas personal injury lawyers to start your case. Our team works together to collect evidence, build your case, identify your damages, and file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. Swift legal action can also help you get the support you need to pay for medical expenses and care for your family.

Shamieh Law has helped countless personal injury clients throughout Texas pursue justice. With offices in Dallas and Austin, we provide award-winning legal representation to accident victims and their families who need our help the most. Contact us now to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation today.

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