How Long After a Car Accident Can You Sue for an Injury in Texas?

After being injured in a car accident, you will likely need to get compensation for your damages through a lawsuit. However, most people do not realize they only have a certain amount of time to file their claim.

In civil cases, car accident victims usually have two years from the date of their injuries to file a claim. This rule helps ensure that cases are filed reasonably soon after the accident and does not overburden the court with stale claims. However, it can prevent you from recovering compensation if you file after the deadline. Our firm knows how to work out the exact timeline of your incident to see how much time we have before your complaint must be filed. If there are special circumstances in your case, we can see if any of the exceptions to this strict rule can be applied.

For your free case review with our Texas personal injury attorneys, contact The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797.

How Long After Getting Injured in a Car Accident Can I Sue in Texas?

Statutes of limitations are the set of laws that determine the time limit within which a specific claim can be brought before the court. The duration of these statutory periods varies depending on the nature of the claim. For claims involving car accidents, there is a specific time limit within which your lawsuit must be filed. According to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(a), plaintiffs have to file their lawsuit within two years of the injury. Once this time limit expires, you will usually not be able to file your case and receive any damages.

Placing a time limit on your ability to file a claim might seem strange, but there are valid reasons for it. Our Texas car accident attorneys can help determine how this rule will impact your case and how long you have left to file. The first reason to file your claim promptly is to ensure that all involved parties have fresh and accurate recollections of the facts. Any delay in initiating legal proceedings can lead to distortion of facts and memories, which may not reflect the actual events that took place.

Second, statutes of limitations allow individuals to move on after a certain period has elapsed without the fear of being sued for something that occurred in the past. The court has only so much capacity to function, so placing a time limit on these cases also helps the judicial system function better.

What Will Happen if the Statute of Limitations Passes Before You File Your Car Accident Lawsuit in Texas?

If you wait too long to file a car accident lawsuit, you are unlikely to receive a favorable outcome. The opposing counsel will likely request the case be dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, and the judge will probably grant the motion. Unfortunately, this is a hard line for the court, so there are few ways around it.

Therefore, it is essential to speak with our team immediately after the accident to ensure you file your claim before the time limit expires. Depending on when you get your case started you might have less time than the two years offered by the law. This will mean our attorneys will have less time to gather the foundational evidence we need to file your claim. The sooner you start your claim, the better your chances of recovering compensation.

Fortunately, the time limit only applies to the filing of your case. Once your car accident claim is filed with the right court, there is no official time limit for when the case should be completed. Rules exist to keep the case moving along, but after it is filed properly, there are no rules that will stop your case because of timing issues. Our attorneys will get the evidence necessary to file your complaint, but we can always gather more after the claim is filed.

Are There Ways to Extend the Statutory Period to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Texas?

While Texas’s statute of limitations does not leave much room for error, there are exceptions that can extend the deadline. These exceptions are reserved for specific situations where justice would not be served by applying the statute of limitations as it is. However, the rules are designed so the clock does start ticking again at some point. We can work with you to see if any of the following exemptions can be argued in your case:

Claims for Minors and Disabled Persons

If an injured person is considered “under a legal disability” as defined in Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001(b), the statute of limitations can be extended. The person who is under a legal disability can either be under 18 years of age or of “unsound mind” at the time of the incident that caused their injuries.

In this situation, the deadline for filing the lawsuit is paused until the disability is resolved. This means that the statute of limitations will not start running until the injured person turns 18 or regains their mental health.

Undiscovered Injuries

If the harm you suffered is considered to be inherently undiscoverable within the two-year statute of limitations period, the discovery rule could be used to extend the deadline. If the court decides that the discovery rule applies, the statute of limitations is paused until the injury is found in the exercise of due diligence. However, this rule is unlikely to ever apply to a car accident since you will be aware of the crash.

The Defendant is Absent from the State

If the defendant departs from Texas after the accident but before you can file your lawsuit, the time limit will be put on hold until their return. According to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.063, the duration of their absence will not be included in the two-year time limit governed by the statute of limitations. This law ensures that defendants cannot escape justice by waiting it out.

However, you should still consult with our lawyers. We can help you track the defendant to see when they return to Texas and have your case ready to file when they do. It is important to stay aware of their potential return as the clock will start ticking once they are back in Texas.

Wrongful Death is Involved

If the victim dies as a result of their injuries, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(b) also provides an exception. In these cases, the statute of limitations is extended to 2 years from the date of death, which might be different than the date they were injured.


Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You File Your Claim Before the Deadline Passes

Call The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. at (817) 476-1797 to speak with our Dallas car accident lawyers and get your free case evaluation.