A “statute of limitations” is a state law that sets a time limit on a potential plaintiff’s right to bring a lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations set for each type of lawsuit. These deadlines vary depending on the kind of harm you suffered or the kind of case you want to file.
Statutes of limitations exist to protect defendants from legal action after an unreasonable amount of time has passed. These time limitations also encourage plaintiffs with valid claims to pursue them diligently. The goal of the statute of limitations is to prevent frivolous lawsuits years after an incident. It also helps protect the integrity of evidence, which may degrade over time.
To reiterate, the statute of limitations for car accidents determines the time frame in which you may file a lawsuit. In Texas, most car accident lawsuits need to be filed within two years of the date of the crash. According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.003, a car accident injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the crash.
That means that the victim of a car accident has exactly two years to file any lawsuits against the person who caused the collision. If an auto accident victim does not file their lawsuit within the two-year window, they may lose their right to receive compensation for injuries suffered as a result of the car accident altogether.
Generally, the limitation period set forth in a statute of limitation begins to run (or “toll”) when the event upon which a lawsuit is based occurs. For example, if you were in a car accident in Pearland on September 19, 2022, you would probably have two years from the date of that car accident to file a lawsuit (until September 19, 2024).
Under Texas law, there are also special circumstances when the clock might temporarily pause or the deadline might extend. These situations may include:
Do not rely on exceptions to the rule. You should always aim to file your lawsuit within the two-year period. The court will decide if it can wait.
Typically, these rules are applied strictly by Texas courts.
Once you miss the two-year deadline, you not only lose the right to have your day in court, but you also lose your avenue to receive fair compensation for your injuries—regardless of how significant they may be and regardless of how strong your case is against the at-fault driver.
Bringing a case for compensation is complicated work. You may want to do it yourself to save some money, but an attorney knows the procedure.
Whether you need assistance understanding the statute of limitations for your claim, negotiating with an opposing party, or taking your case all the way to trial, the attorneys at Furey Law Firm will fight for your rights toward your recovery. Call us today to arrange a consultation to discuss what damages are available to you as a result of your accident.