What Is the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Lawsuits in Texas?
If you were injured in an accident, you should act quickly to pursue compensation. There are laws in place called “statutes of limitations” that put a deadline on your personal injury case and require you to file it before the limitations period runs out.
The statute of limitations for truck accident lawsuits in Texas is 2 years under Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003. This might seem like plenty of time, but if you fail to file your case within the 2-year period, your case will be blocked. It is often important to talk to an Irving truck accident lawyer sooner than the deadline to make sure you have enough time to build your case and get it filed before the deadline runs out. There are a few exceptions and rules that might give you more time to file, such as if you were injured as a minor, but these might not apply in every case.
Talk to a lawyer as early as you can about filing a truck accident lawsuit. The Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Queenan Law Firm offer free case consultations and can help you and your family file a truck accident claim against the driver and the trucking company responsible for your injuries. For your free consultation, call us today at (817) 476-1797.
How Long Do Truck Accident Victims Have to Sue in Texas?
As mentioned, the statute of limitations on truck accident cases is 2 years in Texas. This is the overall statute of limitations for injury cases based on someone else’s negligence, so all types of car accidents and most other accidents also follow this 2-year deadline.
This limitation is technically a limitation on how long you have to file your case in court, not a limitation on getting compensation. However, it is unlikely that insurance companies or trucking companies will volunteer to pay their driver’s victims everything they owe them out of the kindness of their hearts after the 2 years runs out. As long as you start negotiations or a settlement or insurance claim before the limitations period ends, you always have the option of fighting the case in a lawsuit in court if negotiations break down. If you let the statute of limitations run out, it is possible that insurance settlements or out-of-court settlements could be reached after the 2-year period, but it is unlikely that they would be fair settlements for you.
The 2-year limitation means that you need to have the case filed in court before the 2-year period runs out. The case can keep going through the court system after the 2-year statute of limitations expires, but it is important to file sooner for many reasons.
Reasons to File a Truck Accident Case Before the 2-Year Deadline in Texas
While you can technically wait until the 2-year period is up and file your case up until the moment before the time limit runs out, there are many reasons you should want to have your case filed earlier.
Sometimes victims file their injury cases and only find out after they start collecting evidence that there is another party that should be added to the lawsuit. In truck accident cases, it is quite common to sue the trucking company the driver works for as part of the lawsuit. If you wait to file your case until close to the deadline, it may be past the 2-year deadline by the time you learn what trucking company or companies you need to add to the case. If that happens, the court will block you from adding the additional parties in most cases.
Instead, it is better to file sooner and start evidence collection before the 2-year period is up so there are no surprises.
To prove your injury case, you need evidence. Some of the evidence will be under your control, such as any medical records you have, bills for vehicle repairs, and dash cam footage from your car (if you have a camera). Other information might be under other parties’ control, and you will need to tell them to preserve the evidence for trial – and ideally, you will want to collect it as soon as you can.
Your lawyer can send out letters asking parties and witnesses to preserve evidence like trucking company hours logs, truck driver personnel records, dash camera footage, and more. However, it is better to start your case early and get official court subpoenas and orders to help ensure evidence preservation. When you start your case earlier, you can also start taking depositions earlier, getting recorded statements from witnesses about what happened before they are able to forget about the details as time goes on.
Sometimes unexpected issues arise in court cases that require them to be re-filed with the court. For example, court cases are usually filed in the county where the accident happened. If there was a misunderstanding about where the accident occurred and the case was filed in the wrong courthouse, you might need to re-file the case with the right court. If the statute of limitations on your truck accident case runs out before you re-file the claim in the right court, you could be blocked.
Extensions to the Statute of Limitations for Truck Accident Injury Cases in Texas
In some cases, there are laws that apply to extend the deadline to file your case. Typically, these issues are based on the cause of the injury being concealed from the victim. That is unlikely to happen in a truck accident case.
Instead, most extensions will be based on the fact that the victim had a “disability” at the time of the accident. This includes the legal disability of being under 18, so minor victims can typically pause the 2-year limitations period until they turn 18, giving them until their 20th birthday to file their claim.
“Disability” can also include a mental health issue that prevents you from appreciating the injury and understanding that you can seek compensation for it. Talk to a lawyer about whether you have such a disability.
Call Our Texas Trucking Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was the victim of a truck accident in Texas, call The Queenan Law Firm’s Fort Worth trucking accident lawyers for help with your case. Our phone number is (817) 476-1797.