How does the statute of limitations affect my car accident claim?

The negligence laws in Texas give a car accident victim the right to sue a negligent driver for compensation. The amount that a person can recover depends upon the nature and extent of the injuries. Catastrophic injuries that result in medical expenses and lost wages would be compensated at higher rates than would an accident in which the person suffered only a minor personal injury.

Regardless of the extent of the injuries a passenger or driver suffer as a result of the actions of a negligent driver, the right to compensation can be lost by waiting too long to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations defines exactly how much time is too long.

The statute of limitations in a personal injury action is two years from the date of the cause of action accrues. Generally, the cause of action accrues on the date of the accident, but in cases involving the death of a car accident victim, the two years is calculated from the date of death.

The court will dismiss an action for damages for pain and suffering and other damages that is filed against a reckless driver after the expiration of the two-year statute of limitations. There is, however, an exception in personal injury cases in which the victim is a child.

When a car accident causes injury to a person who is not yet 18 years of age, the statute of limitations is tolled until the individual is 18. Tolling simply means that the two years is calculated from the day on which the person is 18 years of age instead of from the date of the car accident.

An important step in avoiding running afoul of the statute of limitations is to consult with a Mesquite personal injury attorney immediately if you are injured in a car crash. The attorney has the knowledge of the law and the experience to advise you on the proper calculation of the statute of limitations based on the facts of your specific case.