What Is the Statute of Limitations in Texas Auto Accident Cases?

The phrase “statute of limitations” is essentially a legal way of saying “time limit.” In Texas, the normal statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. That means if you intend to sue the person who caused your injury, you must do so no more than two years from the date you were hurt. In most situations — we will discuss exceptions later — if you miss the deadline you lose your right to sue.

The two-year statute of limitations applies to most types of motor vehicle injury cases, such as car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, bike accidents and Uber/Lyft/rideshare accidents. It also applies to non-vehicle cases like defective products, construction site accidents and slip-and-falls. Wrongful death claims also follow the two-year rule, so a surviving family member seeking to file a wrongful death claim must do so no more than two years from the date of death.

Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations in Texas

Texas law does have a few exceptions to the statute. In certain situations, the victim gets additional time to file a lawsuit. These exceptions include:

  • Minors: If the victim was less than 18 years old at the time of the injury, the two-year countdown will not start until the victim turns 18.
  • Unsound mind/mental incompetence: Accidents can leave a victim mentally incapacitated or struggling with mental illness afterward. In such situations, the court may extend the statute of limitations to give the victim time to regain mental faculties.
  • At-fault party leaves Texas: If the person who caused the accident leaves Texas for a period of time, the countdown pauses. The clock doesn’t start running again until they return to the state.
  • Discovery rule: Texas follows the discovery rule, which means that the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim discovers they’re injured. This allows for situations where the injuries only become apparent well after the accident. For example, a car wreck might happen today, but it might take a week before a victim starts experiencing injury symptoms.

Talk to a Lawyer Well Before the Two-Year Deadline Approaches

While you have two years to file a claim in most cases, that doesn’t mean you should wait that long to find an attorney. Attorneys need some time to prepare cases and do initial research. If you wait until the last minute, the lawyer you choose may not have enough time to gather evidence and assemble a credible lawsuit. The best thing to do is talk to an injury lawyer as soon as you can following the accident.

Contact a Dallas-Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have suffered injuries due to someone else’s conduct, talk to a Texas personal injury lawyer about your legal options. The attorneys at Ted B. Lyon & Associates have decades of experience representing injured people in Dallas-Fort Worth and throughout East Texas. Call us at 877-Ted-Lyon / 877-833-5966 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to find out how we can help.