Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
While many people have heard of a Statute of Limitations, fewer understand what it means and how it can impact their case. Understanding this important concept can protect your rights if you are hurt.
First, the word “statute” means a law. This law limits, or places limitations on, the amount of time an injured person can sue the individual or company that hurt him or her.
When an injury happens, such as a head-on collision with an 18-wheeler, a figurative clock starts ticking. The statute of limitations tells us how long the clock can run before someone must either file a lawsuit or waive the claim forever.
Someone injured by the act of another has a “personal injury” claim. Under Texas law, the injured person has two years from the date they were injured to sue the at-fault party or their claim may be barred forever.
However, different statutes of limitation apply to different causes of action. Different causes of action may also have different accrual dates. An accrual date is the date the figurative clock starts ticking.
In some cases, the clock starts ticking the day the injury occurs. In other cases, such as some products liability cases, a person may not know that a product is injuring him or her for several months, or even years.
If the accrual, or start date, for the clock doesn’t begin to tick until the person knows they are hurt, they may have more time to bring their lawsuit.
For example, a person begins using a chemical on their lawn five years ago. Every time they use the chemical, they are exposed to a dangerous ingredient that they were not warned about. Over five years, the person develops cancer from the product. Generally, in a case like this, the two-year clock will not begin ticking until the person realizes (or should have realized) the cancer and the chemical were connected.
If you have been injured within the last two years and you are thinking of filing a lawsuit, you should contact an attorney immediately to discuss your case.
If you were injured more than two years ago, you should also contact an attorney to discuss the Statute of Limitations in greater detail.