Under Texas law, any victim of a car accident, truck accident or motorcycle crash has a limited time to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for the wreck. In fact, most civil lawsuits have a statute of limitations to sue for car accidents – that’s the time period the law allows for someone to file suit.
What’s the Statute of Limitations to Sue for Car Accidents in Texas?
In Texas, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries. The law says that this statute also applies to wrongful death lawsuits, so if you’re suing because you lost your loved one in a car crash, you must file before that two-year period expires. There are some exceptions to this rule, though, so it’s important to talk to your car accident lawyer about the specifics in your case.
What Happens if You Wait More Than 2 Years?
If you don’t file your car accident lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires – that’s within two years of your injuries – the court will probably refuse to hear your case. That means you’ll lose the right to financial compensation, both through compensatory damages and punitive damages. It also means you’ll lose any leverage you had to settle the case out of court.
Can You Settle a Car Accident Case Outside the Statute of Limitations?
Many lawsuits settle out of court. That means the parties negotiate with each other – often with the help of lawyers – and reach a settlement agreement.
Your lawyer will most likely try to negotiate with the insurance company for you.
But that doesn’t always work out.
Usually, you only need to bring your case to court if the guilty party’s insurance company isn’t willing to compensate you fairly. Remember, insurance companies want to protect their bottom line. For them, it’s not about giving you the money you need to pay your medical bills or to make up for your pain and suffering.
If you’re outside the statute of limitations, though, the insurance company knows that there’s no danger of a huge court judgment. The insurance company knows a court is unlikely to even hear your case, so you’re unlikely to see any compensation at all.
How to Make Sure You File Before the Statute of Limitations
You don’t have to wait until you’re finished with medical treatments to file a lawsuit. In fact, many lawsuits result in awards that will cover future medical bills.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the first thing you should do – as soon as you’re able – is get in touch with a personal injury attorney. You don’t have to file a lawsuit immediately (or at all, if you choose not to). What you do need to do is get a clear picture of all your options and find out whether you’re eligible for compensation. Your attorney can start negotiating with the guilty party’s insurance company right away, which leaves you plenty of time to file a lawsuit in court.