In Dallas, TX, there was 3,553 serious injury crashes for the year 2012 according to the Texas Department of Transportation. These accidents may have resulted in claims or lawsuits against the at-fault driver to recover appropriate damages. But to collect compensation for damages, injured accident victims must be sure they take action within the necessary time period.
The statute of limitations dictates by when injured parties must take legal action, and it can vary by state. Texas has a two-year statute of limitations during which car accident victims need to take legal action. Failure to follow the proper time limits may bar the car accident victim from recovery.
The Texas statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. The state statutes note, “a person must bring suit for…personal injury…not later than two years after the day, the cause of action accrues.” (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003)
To illustrate this statute, if a person is in a car accident and injured on March 4, 2014, that person has until March 4, 2016, to file a case with the court. Personal injury lawsuits are the most common cause of action after a car accident, although property lawsuits are possible as well.
The law also lays out that if the victim is a minor or of unsound mind at the time of the accident, the limitations period doesn’t begin until the victim turns 18 or comes to sound mind.
Another condition that extends the statute of limitations is the discovery rule. This rule states that if the plaintiff didn’t know that he or she was injured or didn’t know the cause of the injury, the time period doesn’t begin until such discoveries are made. Product liability claims often use this exception. If an injured person didn’t know that a mechanical defect with the car caused the accident, he or she may be able to bring suit after the statute of limitations would have otherwise expired.
It’s difficult to get around the statute of limitations, however, and people with possible claims should seek help from a lawyer to discuss whether they meet the requirements to extend, or toll, the statute of limitations and by when they must file.
So it’s important to begin to act as soon as possible after your accident and resultant injury. Inform your insurance company and that of the other driver of the accident, and contact an attorney if your injuries were serious. If your injuries were minor, you may be able to handle the insurance claim yourself. Your lawyer can help you deal with the insurers and pursue a lawsuit if you cannot reach a fair settlement.
It’s also important to begin collecting evidence as soon as possible. Some evidence may become more difficult to ascertain as the weeks or months go by, including witness recollections of the accident.
The Law Office of Julie Johnson is committed to protecting our clients’ rights in the Dallas area. Get in touch with us by calling 214-290-8001 or fill out our online contact form to set up a consultation.