The aftermath of a bad car accident can leave your life in turmoil. You may have serious injuries that need time to heal, and physical therapy to regain lost functionality. You may spend time in psychotherapy to deal with the emotional trauma, too. Time can slip away as you focus on recovery and how to restore your life to some semblance of normal again. You put off calling an attorney again and again, and then the months and years disappear.
After all that time has passed, when you finally are ready to pursue your personal injury lawsuit, you’re told that the time has passed and your suit will be thrown out of court due to the statute of limitations. What does that mean, and how can you avoid this kind of scenario so that you can legally pursue the compensation you’re owed after a crash? Here’s what you need to know about the statute of limitations in Texas after a car accident, and how you can get legal help today.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations in any legal situation is simply a period of time after which no lawsuit will be allowed to proceed. Each state sets the rules that will apply for its justice system. In certain rare cases, particularly in criminal law, there may be no statute of limitations at all. Personal injury cases are a part of civil law, though, not criminal law; and as such, they typically do have a statute of limitations.
The reason the statute of limitations exists is to protect the accused. After a certain length of time has passed, evidence is assumed to have degraded to a point as to place an unfair burden on the defendant. Over time, accurate memory of the event tends to fail, and witnesses become less reliable; as people move on with their lives, they may begin to forget important details, and can become less physically accessible by changing jobs or moving away. Physical evidence can deteriorate or get lost, too. After a long enough period of time, not only does it become difficult to produce enough evidence to make a case, but it also becomes difficult to be able to defend against an accusation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in a Texas Personal Injury Case?
The Texas legislature has specified that victims have two years after the day of the injury in which to file a personal injury case with the Texas courts. After two years have passed by, the court is nearly guaranteed to refuse to hear your case, unless you can bring an extraordinarily compelling reason as to why it took over two years to file the claim. Exceptions are extremely rare and should never be relied upon.
Two years may sound like a lot of time, but it’s in your best interest to act quickly after an accident, because in certain situations the statute of limitations can be much shorter. If the accident involves a state employee or state property, for example, the agency involved must be notified no later than six months after the incident.
Get Legal Help After Your Car Accident
If you or a loved one have been injured in a serious car crash, an attorney can help you pursue the compensation that you may be due for your medical bills, rehabilitation, repair or replacement vehicle, pain and suffering, and more. You don’t have to settle for lowball insurance settlements offered in the first days after an accident that won’t begin to compensate you fairly for your losses, so it’s important that you reach out to an attorney who can start protecting your rights immediately.
At Wayne Wright LLP, we work closely with all our clients to understand what your legal needs are and how we can best provide the legal help that you need right away. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a legal professional in Texas, call us by phone, use the contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page now.