Understanding the Statute of Limitations and Your Personal Injury Case
Do you plan to file a lawsuit against a negligent person or business after a car accident or animal attack in Fort Worth, TX?
If so, you may need a little help understanding the statute of limitations and your personal injury case.
An experienced personal injury lawyer at the Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, has put together all the information you ought to know on this webpage.
If you should have any questions after you finish reading, you can always give the office a call at (817) 420-7000, or contact our law office in Fort Worth online to find out the answers.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
In civil law, a statute of limitations is the time limit the victim of a dog bite or bike accident has to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages. The exact length of a statute of limitations can vary depending on the nature of the injury and the state in which it occurred.
Individuals who wish to recover compensation after an accident must file a complaint before their statutory window closes.
If they fail to do so, they might lose their right to civil justice forever.
Why Does Texas Have a Statute of Limitations for Civil Lawsuits?
There are four main reasons why Texas has statutes of limitations for civil litigation.
- To encourage people to seek compensation as quickly as possible after car and motorcycle accidents
- To prevent injured persons from holding the possibility of litigation over the heads of at-fault parties
- To make sure witnesses have a detailed recollection of the accident, and
- To make sure the evidence presented by both parties is as recent as possible
There is also some evidence that suggests statutes of limitations can help to prevent accident victims from filing suit over injuries that did not have a noticeable impact on their lives.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Texas Personal Injury Suits?
The amount of time Texans have to take legal action against liable people or business entities depends on the nature of their accident. The statutes of limitations for the most common types of personal injury claims are:
Car Accident Cases
Section 16.003 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code states that there is a two-year statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits in Texas. As a result, victims usually have to file personal injury lawsuits before the second anniversary of their collisions.
Bicycle Accident Cases
The statutory deadlines for filing personal injury claims after bike crashes occur two years after the date of the accident. Injured cyclists who fail to take legal action before this deadline passes almost always lose the right to fight for compensation.
Medical Malpractice Cases
When Texans visit hospitals and medical clinics, they expect the doctors who work there to treat them with a high level of care. They definitely do not expect the medical staff to make mistakes that lead to a worsening of their condition. When errors of this nature occur, victims have two years to begin pursuing compensation.
Dog Bite Cases
It is, unfortunately, not at all unusual for dogs and other animals to attack innocent people. When these violent incidents happen, injured parties get a two year period of time to take legal action against the owner or another liable party.
Slip and Fall Accident Cases
Every year, thousands of Texans sustain painful, life-altering injuries after falling down staircases and slipping on wet floors in the following places:
- Theme parks
Texas law grants these injured parties up to two years to file a premises liability lawsuit against the person or business entity that is responsible for their accident.
Product Liability Cases
When consumer products injure Texans, they have two years to file a product liability lawsuit against the at-fault party. In most cases, the responsibility lies with the manufacturer, the designer, or the distributor.
Workplace Accident Cases
When Fort Worth residents get into accidents on the job, they can suffer a wide range of debilitating injuries, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
Texas law states that injured employees have one year from the date of the accident to file for workers’ compensation benefits.
Wrongful Death Cases
Car crashes, dog bites, and slip and fall accidents don’t just leave Texans with painful injuries. They’re fatal When innocent people lose their lives in this manner, the state of Texas gives their family members two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.
Can the Identity of the Liable Party Change the Statute of Limitations?
The statutes of limitations outlined here apply in almost all personal injury cases involving private parties in the state of Texas. However, if an injured party wishes to file suit against the government, the rules are different.
The Texas Tort Claims Act (TX Civ Prac & Rem Code § 101.101) states that individuals who wish to take legal action against a governmental body are obliged to provide notice of their intent to do so in less than six months. If they miss this filing deadline, they may have to pay for their medical costs and other expenses out of their own pockets.
When Can Courts in Texas Pause or Extend the Statute of Limitations?
The Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code outlines several scenarios under which courts in the Lone Star State may extend or pause (toll) an individual’s statute of limitations, such as:
- The at-fault party chose to flee the state of Texas to try to avoid paying for the damages they caused
- The victim is a minor who does not yet have the ability to take legal action against the negligent party
- The victim did not discover the extent of their injuries until weeks or months after the accident
If you’ve been injured in an accident and believe you might be eligible to get your statute of limitations tolled or extended, please reach out to the team at the Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, today.
Need Help Understanding the Statute of Limitations and Your Personal Injury Case? The Stephens Law Firm, PLLC, Can Assist
If you need some extra help understanding the statute of limitations and your personal injury case in Texas, there is just one place you should turn – Stephens Law Firm, PLLC. Attorney Jason Stephens has the industry experience and statutory knowledge required to provide you with the assistance you seek. Give him a call today to set up a free consultation at his law office in Fort Worth.