Dеaling with the aftеrmath of a personal injury can be a frustrating and difficult task. Amidst thе physical pain and еmotional turmoil, you might be full of quеstions regarding your lеgal rights and rеsponsibilitiеs. If you’re involved in a pеrsonal injury case in Plano, a key aspect of the process is understanding the statute of limitations.
The Purpose of the Statute of Limitations
Statutе of limitations rеfеrs to thе timе limit within which you must filе a lеgal claim or lawsuit after suffеring a pеrsonal injury. The primary objective of this deadline is to еnsurе that thе court procееdings arе fair and accurate. With timе, memories tеnd to fadе and еvidеncе may bеcomе compromised, lеading to unreliable tеstimoniеs and outcomеs.
It enables the plaintiff to seek justice and receive compensation, while the defendant can plan accordingly and prepare for a potential lawsuit without having to wonder if one will be filed for years or decades to come.
Two-Year Time Limit For Texas Personal Injury Claims
Generally, in Plano, Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. Though it may seem like you have ample time to file a lawsuit, missing the statute of limitations can have severe consequences.
“Sec. 16.003. TWO-YEAR LIMITATIONS PERIOD. (a) Except as provided by Sections 16.010, 16.0031, and 16.0045, a person must bring suit for trespass for injury to the estate or to the property of another, conversion of personal property, taking or detaining the personal property of another, personal injury, forcible entry and detainer, and forcible detainer not later than two years after the day the cause of action accrues.”
If you fail to file within the specified time frame, the court will most likely dismiss your case, leaving you unable to seek compensation for damages, losses or pain, and suffering. In short, you lose your chance of getting justice due to non-compliance with the legal deadline.
Exceptions To The Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases in Texas
While the deadline to file a claim is usually two years, it’s essential to keep in mind that there are exceptions to this rule, which most commonly include the following:
Victim is a Minor or Under Legal Disability
There are circumstances where the two-year countdown may not start immediately after the incident. One such situation is when the victim is “under a legal disability,” which means that the victim was either:
- Under the age of 18, or
- Of unsound mind at the time of the incident
In these cases, the statute of limitations countdown will not begin until the victim turns 18 or becomes mentally competent. This exception ensures that individuals who were unable to advocate for themselves at the time of the incident have a fair opportunity to seek compensation for their injuries.
Defendant’s Absence from Texas
Another exception to the statute of limitations in Texas applies if the person who caused the injury leaves the state for some time. If the defendant is absent from Texas, the progression toward the two-year statute of limitations halts. It will only resume once they return to Texas. This provision exists to prevent individuals from evading accountability for their actions by merely avoiding the jurisdiction.
The Discovery Rule
Sometimes, an injured party may not immediately know that they have a potential personal injury claim. In these cases, Texas allows for an extension of the statute of limitations. This is known as the “discovery rule.” Under this rule, the countdown to the deadline will not begin until the victim knew – or reasonably should have known – that:
- They suffered an injury, and
- The other person involved in the incident was at fault for the injury
This exception is particularly relevant in cases where the injuries are not immediately apparent or diagnosable, such as cases involving exposure to toxic chemicals or medical malpractice.
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury in Plano, don’t wait to seek legal advice. The sooner you act, the better your chances of securing the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.