What is the Time Limit for Filing a Car Accident Claim in Texas?
There is a time limit known as the “statute of limitations” for filing car accident claims in Texas. In most cases, victims harmed in a collision caused by another’s negligent actions or their failure to act have two years to bring a claim. The failure to do so within the allotted time will typically cost you your right to obtain compensation.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Texas
Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 16.003, the two years designated for car accident victims to file a claim typically begins on the date the accident occurred. However, it is usually in your best interests to begin the process relatively soon after your injuries have occurred since evidence can quickly disappear and witnesses may be hard to find or their memories may fade.
However, that does not mean that you have to resolve your claim before you have reached “maximum medical improvement” (MMI) or understand the total value of your case. If you have suffered serious harm, most car accident lawyers will advise you to wait on settling your case until you fully recover or reach MMI. That way, you know the full implications of your injury now and in the future.
If your claim is against a Texas state or local government employee or agency, you must file a formal claim with the government unit within six months of the accident.
What If You Miss the Two Year Deadline?
In general, there is no way around the statute of limitations. If you wait to file a car accident claim until after the deadline has expired, the party you are attempting to sue will likely file a “motion to dismiss.” Their motion will point out that the statute of limitations has run, which will almost always result in your case being dismissed by the court unless a rare exception applies to your claim. This time limit was established to streamline the legal process.
Exceptions to Texas’ Car Accident Statute of Limitations
Several scenarios may temporarily stop the clock and extend the amount of time you have to file an accident claim. These circumstances include the following:
- The injured person is under the age of 18, or as described by Texas law — under a legal disability.
- The injured person is not of sound mind.
- The party who allegedly caused the injury leaves the State of Texas. The period of the responsible party’s absence will not count as part of the two-year statute.
In these cases, the clock will begin running either once the injury victim turns 18, becomes mentally competent, or once the party returns to Texas.
Our Lawyers Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a severe injury in a car accident, speak to a trusted Waco car accident lawyer. They can help you with every aspect of your claim and ensure it is filed before the statute of limitations has run. Call (713) 225-0500 or message us online today to arrange a free consultation.