Jun
17

Statute of Limitations for a Car Wreck.

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The Scenario….

You were injured in a car wreck.  Your car was totaled.  You treated with a doctor for about 4 months and did some physical therapy.  A few weeks after being released from medical treatment, you started having more pain and other issues related to the car wreck.

You haven’t been able to get a decent settlement offer from the insurance company.  For whatever reason, you haven’t hired an attorney yet.  Now, you think you need one.  It’s been a year-and-a-half since the accident.  You heard about something called the “statute of limitations.”  Should you be concerned?  Absolutely!!!

Texas Law of Statute of Limitations for Car Wreck Cases.

The statute of limitation rules in Texas may be found in Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  The general rule is that a car wreck case in Texas is governed by a two-year statute of limitations.  That means that your rights may expire for any claims that you have arising from the wreck if you file suit more than two years after the date of the accident.

Statute of Limitations for Car WreckFor instance, if you had a car wreck on August 1, 2015, then the statute of limitations will expire on your case on August 1, 2017.  if you file a lawsuit on August 2nd, then you are too late and the defendant may be able to get your case dismissed.  This is true no matter how bad the accident was or how severe your injury.

There are some exceptions that might extend the deadline.  However, those exceptions are very limited.  The fact that you are still treating with a doctor is not an excuse for extending the statute of limitations.  Personal problems, such as going through a divorce or if you were too busy with work or school, are also no excuse.

The Purpose of Having a Statute of Limitations.

The purpose of having a statute of limitations are numerous.  After too much time passes, then evidence gets lost or destroyed.  Additionally, witnesses may move away or their memories may fade.  Therefore, having a time limit to file a lawsuit gives the defendant a fair chance to obtain evidence or contact witnesses.

Incidentally, having a statute of limitations also prompts the plaintiff to pursue their case more diligently.  The worst thing you can do if are injured in a wreck is to delay.  You should collect all the evidence while it is available.  Additionally, you don’t want to find yourself scurrying around at the last minute trying to piece your case together.

Other Practical Problems If You Wait Too Long to Pursue Your Case.

As stated before, delay is the worst thing for a car wreck case.  If you are injured, you need to start developing and documenting your case within a few days of the accident while all the evidence is fresh.  You also want to make sure your injuries appear directly related to the accident.  Therefore, see a doctor as soon as possible.

But one of the biggest practical problems is being able to find an attorney when you desperately need one.   Attorneys even turn away potentially good cases if too much time has passed.  Why?  Personal injury cases are challenging enough when there are no surprises.  So, if you wait too long, then many attorneys will tend to avoid  a situation that maybe filled with unknown dangers and pitfalls.

Handling a personal injury case is like raising a small child:  It is always evolving and must be constantly monitored in order to make sure it stays on the right track.  An the attorney does not want to invest time and money taking a case that was not properly investigated and developed from the very beginning.

CAUTION: The law surrounding the statute of limitations is Texas is complicated.  Therefore, this article is only limited to a general discussion about the issue.

If you call and we can talk about your case in more detail, that is when I can offer you my best advice.  A free consultation with an experienced car wreck lawyer in Dallas is only a phone call away.

And, if you are worried about the expense of an attorney, we operate on a contingency-fee basis,  That means you don’t pay until you collect.  If there is no recovery, then there is no fee.  It’s that simple!

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