In populous, commuter cities like Houston, Texas, it’s common for car accidents to occur on a daily basis. Often, drivers and passengers sustain injuries in these incidents, ranging from minor lacerations to broken bones and even death. Unfortunately, not all of these victims receive the help they need to gain the compensation they deserve.
After a car accident, you need an advocate on your side in the form of an experienced car wreck lawyer. With the right legal representation, you have someone to help you understand your options. Moreover, you have someone to ensure you act quickly, within your state’s statute of limitations.
A statute of limitations is a time limit the law places on an injured individual as they decide whether to pursue legal action. You might also see people refer to it as a “prescriptive period.” The most important thing to understand is that once this deadline passes, you may no longer file a claim.
Generally, statutes of limitations vary as you move through each state. Additionally, it changes with the type of case. For example, some particularly violent crimes do not have a prescriptive period.
The Statute of Limitations in Texas
To continue with Houston, TX, as an example, the statute of limitations for any personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. That is the amount of time available for you to file a claim for a car accident in the state of Texas.
Moreover, it applies to claims filed by motorcyclists, pedestrians, passengers, and cyclists in addition to motorists. The same is true when it comes to claims for property damage, such as damage to the car or any belongings damaged in the accident.
When a faulty part contributes to an accident, the victim has the potential to recover damages from the manufacturer. However, the statute of limitations for this type of claim is also two years.
What If the Accident Involves a Death?
If you lose a loved one in a fatal car crash, the State of Texas has a statute of limitations of 2 years for you to file a wrongful death claim. When someone passes away later as a result of their injuries sustained in the incident, this time limit begins at the time of their death. However, there’s also the potential to extend this period in certain complex cases.
Typically, this extension adds a year to the time limit.
Exceptions to These Statutes
Generally speaking, it is rare for a court to permit an extension to the deadline specified in a statute. However, there are some exceptions. Here are a few examples.
- The accident involves a minor.
- The defendant fled the scene to avoid legal action.
- A disabled or catastrophically injured individual requires help to file the claim or was unable to file it for a period.
- A military deployment did not allow the victim to participate in their case.
When you work with a car accident attorney, you have someone to help you understand whether any exceptions apply to your case.
Above all, these time limits exist to encourage diligent and timely prosecution. Government officials and law enforcement tend to believe that people with valid claims act quickly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Often, people don’t understand their legal options after an accident. That’s why it’s a good idea to seek the assistance of an experienced car accident firm.
Why It’s Important to Act Fast
A car accident is a terrible and overwhelming experience. Initially, people tend to feel shock followed by a mental fog that lasts for days or even weeks. However, the clock is ticking for you to file a claim.
Additionally, it’s important to understand that insurance companies rarely part with money easily. Adjusters often require a substantial amount of evidence before they provide the compensation victims deserve.
To many people, two years seems like plenty of time. However, lawyers need to conduct investigations, collect evidence, and build your claim. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to pursue the compensation you need to move on with your life.