Texas’ statute of limitations (time limit to filing a lawsuit).
Anyone in Texas who is considering filing a lawsuit for a personal injury or wrongful death needs to be aware of Texas’ statute of limitations. While the law states that victims in Texas have two (2) years to file a lawsuit, there are exceptions to the standard limit.
If you are suing a government entity or municipality, you likely have much less time to file a claim. You see, claims brought under the Texas Tort Claims Act must meet additional pre-suit and post-suit notice requirements. If you fail to meet these requirements in the allowed time, you may be barred for even filing your lawsuit. The best course of action for anyone is to hire an attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure you have every chance at a successful recovery.
Defining the statute of limitations.
In the majority of personal injury and wrongful death cases (including car accidents, medical malpractice, work injuries, etc) filed in the State of Texas fall under this two-year limit. While there are exceptions to the two-year limit (which we discuss later in this article), the best course of action is to act as quickly as possible. In order to meet the deadline under the statute of limitations, it is necessary for the parties to resolve the claim within two years from the date of injury or death. If this is not possible, you must file a lawsuit within that period of time since this extends the deadline beyond the original two-year period.
Exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations.
There are instances under which the courts make exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations.
- The Plaintiff is a Minor Child
When the plaintiff in a personal injury or wrongful death case is a minor child (under 18), the statute of limitations does not come into play until the child is of legal age. What this means is that in the case of a 15-year-old who lost a parent in a work-related accident, the right to file a claim would not begin until the child reached his or her 18th birthday, and would expire when the victim turned 20. This doesn’t mean that the child cannot file a lawsuit until after the 18th birthday; a parent or guardian can file the claim on behalf of a child. It’s important to note that Texas also has a 10-year statute of repose on all medical malpractice cases.
- The Negligence of Defendants Were Not Known
Texas law has a “discovery rule” which means the two-year statute of limitation period only begins after a reasonable person would have become aware they had a case for a wrongful death claim. One example of this type of situation would be when a person takes a prescription drug that causes the person to die from complications prior to the discovery the drug was defective and the defect was actually the cause of the death. The justification here is that the family would not have been aware they had a case for wrongful death until after this information was discovered; in many cases this does not happen until years after the death and thus after the usual statute of limitations had “expired.”
When the defendant deliberately hid any involvement they may have had in a person’s death, the court may approve to extend the statute of limitations in order to allow the family of the deceased to file civil action against that defendant.
- Mental or Physical Impairment
There is a possibility the statute of limitations may be extended beyond the standard two-year period if a plaintiff suffers a mental or physical condition that prevents him or her from filing a claim within the initial two-year period. This might happen in the case of a car accident when one party goes into a coma that lasts beyond the initial two-year period.
If you plan to pursue a lawsuit, it’s important to choose an experienced lawyer to handle your case. The lawyers at Rasansky Law Firm are experienced in filing all types of personal injury claims in Texas. If you wish to schedule a free consultation, call our office (toll-free) at 1-877-405-4313.
Speak With a Dallas Personal Injury Attorney For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.