Statute of Limitations 101
Good Question. Here at Guest and Gray, we have many potential clients coming into our Forney and Rockwall offices that, without realizing it, find themselves up against the statute of limitations by the time they come speak with an attorney about filing a lawsuit. So, to better inform our clients and the public, here is a Statute of Limitations 101. Class is now in session.
What is the Statute of Limitations in Texas?
According to section 16.003 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, personal injury claims must be brought within two years from the date the accident occurred. If the personal injury results in the death of the person injured, then any wrongful death action must be brought within two years from the date of the injured person’s death.
The two year statute of limitations applies to all sorts of personal injury claims and not just those involving automobile and trucking accidents. Oxford dictionary defines a personal injury as “an injury inflicted on a person’s body…” and the state of Texas, for the most part, follows that form of definition. This means that personal injury can result from any number of causes. It is essentially a negligence suit where you are claiming compensation from another person as a result of the personal bodily injury you received. A few examples of personal injury are:
- Automobile and Trucking Accidents;
- Medical malpractice;
- Products liability;
- Slip and fall;
- Defective medicine
- Workplace injuries
What if I File Suit on the Statute of Limitations Deadline
In Texas, as long as you filed on the date the Statute of Limitations was to run, you are fine. The law in the State of Texas merely requires you to file your claims by the Statute of Limitations date. So, you need to look at the date the accident occurred and then go forward two years. That is the day the Statute of Limitations will run.
The law also does not require that you have the person served on that day as well. All that the law requires is that the Plaintiff act in “good faith” and “with diligence” in effecting service on the other party. This may be shown by hiring a process server and going to last known addresses and employers in an attempt to effect service. Due to the amount of time since the accident, effecting service may be complicated by the fact that the Defendant has moved since the date of the accident, moved out of state, or otherwise tries to avoid service.
Is There a Tolling of the Statute of Limitations if the Victim is Under a “Disability”?
Yes, under section 16.001 of the Tex. Civ. P. & Rem. Code, if a person is under a legal disability at the time the cause of action accrued, then the statute of limitations will be tolled. According to the code, a person is under a legal disability if they are under 18 years of age or they are of unsound mind. The statute also states that you cannot tack disabilities together consecutively to extend the tolling period. That would happen where a person was a minority and then became mentally disabled. The mental disability, in all likelihood, could not be used to further extend the statute of limitations period.
What Happens if I Wait too Long?
If the statute of limitations runs on your claim, then unless one of the very few exceptions applies, your claim is time-barred. This means that any recovery that you could have received if you filed your lawsuit within the time period is now gone. Lost.
Finding out that your claim is over before it was ever started can be devastating news to hear. But that is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to speak with an attorney as soon as you, or someone you love, is injured. The longer you wait to file your claim, the less likely you are to recover. This is because the further away in time from the incident we are, the harder it is to gather the necessary evidence to support you claims in court. Witnesses become less reliable as their memory of the events fade. Video from the scene of the accident is deleted. But most importantly: the insurance company wants you to settle NOW. Right now. They want you to sign on that line before you can speak to an attorney and figure out what your claim is really worth.
If you Have Been Injured in an Accident CALL TODAY!
Guest and Gray, P.C. has a staff of experienced and professional attorneys who will do everything they can to get you the money you deserve for your injuries. It is not your fault! Why should you accept any less? We have convenient locations east of Dallas in Forney and Rockwall to serve our Northeast Texas community. If you are unable to travel, we make house calls in limited circumstances.
Call us Today and Schedule an Appointment with one of Guest and Gray’s experienced personal injury attorneys. If you are up against the Statute of Limitations, we have the knowledge and experience you need in order to help you get your lawsuit going and get the other party served in accordance with the laws in the State of Texas. The call is free and there is no fee unless you recover! CALL NOW! (972) 564-4644