After you have been through a personal injury accident, you need to act fast to get the compensation for your recovery. However, lets say you get compensation from your insurance company under the assumption that you were in an accident that was no one else’s fault. Later, you come to find that it was. Can you still sue? Sometimes you won’t realize someone else is liable for your injuries or that the “mechanism” of injury gave you the option to sue a third party. The justice system wants to keep congestion in the system at a low point. To do this, state governments determine a statute of limitations for different categories of cases that limit the amount of time you have to sue.
Statute of Limitations in Texas for Personal Injury
The Texas Statute of Limitations for personal injury in Texas is 2 years. Meaning, you have 2 years after an incident to sue a third party for negligence and compensation. A single day after 2 years, and you are out of luck to sue. Usually, if you have suffered injury and contacted a lawyer, this will never be a problem and in special circumstances the law has made exceptions:
This Discovery Rule
Let say you get into a car wreck and a fire started in the car that caused you to have serious burns and injuries. The wreck was due to a blowout in your tire so you only seek compensation through your insurance company who covers most of the damages. You cover the rest. Two and a half years later you read in the news that a product recall in the model car you were driving when you had the wreck. Apparently a valve was positioned in a way that made fires more prone to happen during a wreck. Even more so, the tire company recalls the tires you were using when you had the blowout. You go to your lawyer, y’all pull out the files and find out your wreck was directly caused by these product liabilities and they are liable for your damages.
Your lawyer will know how to handle this situation. The main thing for you to know about is the Discovery Rule. This allows for a suit to be filed after the mechanism or source of injury has been discovered. You probably won’t have another two years to sue after the discovery of the cause of the accident. You should contact a lawyer directly after finding out what caused your accident to see of your are eligible for compensation.
Tolling of The Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury
Another exception is when the statute period is unable to begin for a certain period of time. This is called “tolling.” When a statute of limitations is “tolled,” it is usually because the defendant or plaintiff is a minor, “mentally incompetent” (such as in a coma or recovering from injuries), or bankrupt. Once there is no longer any circumstances withholding anyone from being capable to be involved in a lawsuit, the tolling will be over.
With any personal injury case, it’s important that you talk to your lawyer as soon as possible. If you think you have a personal injury case, call us for a free consultation and more information on your options.