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Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases

Many people are not aware that there is a time limit, called the statute of limitations, until they can take legal action in a personal injury case. Some of them contact a Houston personal injury lawyer when it is too late to file suit for damages. Most of them ask: are there any exceptions to the statute of limitations I can invoke?

Because this is a widespread issue, we believe that it is important to explain how these exceptions apply in Texas. But before this, let us talk about the standard statute of limitations and why it exists.

The Statute of Limitations in Texas for Personal Injury Cases

According to the Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 16.003, the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit is 2 (two) years after the date of the accident. This is the statute of limitations – a staple in the tort law across the U.S. and other legal systems across the world.

This deadline exists for various reasons:

  • Evidence gets destroyed and eyewitnesses forget what they saw in time
  • It is not ethical to hold a defendant under the threat of legal action indefinitely
  • To offer plaintiffs financial relief through compensation within a reasonable period of time
  • To prevent the filing of frivolous lawsuits

Now that we cleared up this matter, let us explain the exceptions admitted by Texas law for extending the statute of limitations:

1. The Plaintiff Is a Minor

If the personal injury victim is less than 18 years old, the start of the statute of limitations is delayed until the minor becomes an adult. From the date of their 18th birthday, they have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.

However, others may file a lawsuit during this period, acting on behalf of the child. Such persons are:

2. The Defendant Acted in a Fraudulent Manner

In certain situations, a defendant may commit fraud in order to conceal their identity or the cause of action in a personal injury case. For example, someone may use a false identity or use false license plates and then flee the car accident scene.

In these cases, the statute of limitations is paused until the personal injury victim discovers or should have reasonably discovered the fraud. There are a lot of factors that may determine the reasonable period for discovery in such situations. This is why you should consult with a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.

there is a deadline for personal injury cases

3. The Defendant Leaves the State of Texas

When you file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas, the defendant should reside on the territory of this state. If the person leaves the state, the statute of limitations is paused until they return.

Please note that this exception to the statute of limitations is applicable to defendants who were Texas residents at the time of the accident. There is a different procedure for out-of-state defendants.

4. Personal Injury Resulting in Death

In some of the worst cases, the personal injury victim loses their life as a result of the accident. Death may occur immediately after the event, or months later, despite the doctors’ best efforts.

In this situation, the statute of limitations starts running from the date of the person’s death. Also, the legal action which the family can initiate becomes a wrongful death lawsuit.

5. Product Liability Cases

If your injuries were caused by a defective product, the statute of limitations is 15 years from the date when you purchased the respective item. Moreover, if the producer specifies that the product has a useful life of more than 15 years, the statute of limitations is extended until the end of the respective lifespan.

Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer as Soon as Possible!

If you suffered injuries and economic damages due to someone’s negligent actions, you may have a valid personal injury case. However, you need to act quickly and talk to a  skilled Houston personal injury lawyer before the statute of limitations is close to expiration.

Although there are certain exceptions to this deadline, they are not automatically granted and you may lose the chance to obtain fair compensation for your damages.

As a new client, you benefit from a free case evaluation, so call us today at 346-220-1821!

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