Car accidents in Houston can result in serious personal injuries. When the reckless actions of other drivers are to blame, our Houston car accident attorneys can help you hold them accountable. While it is important to report your accident to the insurance company right away, Texas statute of limitations allows up to two years to file a car accident claim.
What is the statute of limitations for a car accident in Texas?
A statute of limitations is the amount of time the law allows for you to bring legal actions against another person. Applicable both in criminal and civil cases, time frames are listed under the Texas Statutes. What is the statute of limitations for a car accident in Texas? Two years from the date the accident happened.
What the statute of limitations in car accident cases does is allow adequate time for the following:
- For your doctor to uncover the full extent of your injuries and your prognosis for recovery;
- For our Houston car accident attorneys to gather the evidence needed in support of your claim;
- For negotiations with insurers and the at-fault driver’s attorney, in an effort to reach a (fair) settlement;
- For filing the appropriate legal documents required by Texas court for a car accident lawsuit if a reasonable settlement cannot be reached.
Exceptions for car accidents in Houston involving government entities.
There is an exception to the two year statute of limitations for car accidents in Texas. If you suffer a car accident involving a state government entity, the statute of limitations is only six months. Government agencies for which this exception applies include:
- Department of Corrections;
- Department of Education;
- Department of Motor Vehicles;
- Emergency Management Services;
- Social Services;
- State Attorney General’s Office.
In addition to the reduced timeline for filing, these types of car accident cases are generally more complex as claims must be submitted through the government entity involved.
Texas statute of limitations for fatal car accidents.
When car accidents in Houston end up proving fatal, surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver responsible. The statute of limitations in these cases is still two years but rather than timing it from the date of the accident, it begins on the date the victim passes. Those entitled to file a wrongful death claim include:
- The spouse or domestic partner of the victim;
- Their children or legal wards;
- Their parents or legal guardians;
- Personal representatives of their estate.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can provide a sense of justice to surviving loved ones. It can also provide the compensation needed to cover funeral costs, outstanding medical bills, current and future losses in income, and other expenses.
How long after a Texas car accident can you claim personal injuries?
Car accidents injuries may involve symptoms that take months to fully appear. This is particularly common with back, neck, and head injuries. You can claim personal injuries at any time during the two year statute or limitation period. However, the longer you wait to report injuries or seek medical care, the more likely insurance companies will try to deny or dispute your claim. The following steps can help protect your rights to compensation:
- Seek medical care immediately after a car accident, regardless of current symptoms;
- Undergo any testing and treatment your doctor recommends;
- Follow your doctor’s advice regarding work and activity restrictions;
- Attend all follow-up visits;
- Keep copies of medical records and a journal detailing your symptoms and the impact they have on your life.
Getting an extension for the Texas statute of limitations.
Statutes of limitations are dictated by law. Not filing your claim in a timely manner could leave you paying out-of-pocket. However, there are limited situations where the two-year limit may be paused or ‘tolled’. Reasons for an extension on the statute of limitations in Texas include:
- Age: In cases involving minors, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until they reach the age of 18.
- Delayed discovery of injuries: Statutes of limitations may be extended if injuries are not immediately apparent or properly diagnosed after an accident.
- Diminished mental capacity: If the person injured is not of sound mind, such as due to a head injury or other impairment, the statute of limitations is tolled until they recover.
Don’t let the statute of limitations on your Texas car accident expire
Two years may sound like a long time but don’t risk missing your chance of recovering full compensation after an accident. Take advantage of a free consultation with our skilled Houston car accident attorneys. With over 30 years of experience, you can count on Johnson Garcia LLP to provide the personalized service and professional legal guidance you need. Available 24/7, give us a call or contact us online today.