If you are the victim of a personal injury or wrongful death you need to know that there are time deadlines on personal injury and wrongful death cases that govern how long victims and their families can wait before asserting claims against defendants for negligent or intentional conduct.
“Statutes of Limitations” are laws that set TIME DEADLINES on the amount of time an injured party is allowed to wait before they are required to file a lawsuit seeking damages against a defendant. Texas, like most states in the United States, has specific statutes of limitations which govern how long an injured party can wait before filing a civil action against those responsible for their physical and/or emotional injuries.
The shortest limitation period or statute of limitations in Texas is one year for slander, which is a verbal statement that is untrue and that causes damage to another person’s reputation. After the expiration of the statutory period, unless a legal exception applies, the injured person loses the right to file a lawsuit seeking money damages or other relief.
Although people often speak of “the statute of limitations”, in fact there are many statutes which apply limitation periods to civil actions. It can be difficult to keep track of the various statutes and their exceptions. If you are concerned about losing your right to sue (as a result of the expiration of the statutory limitations period), contact us today for a FREE consultation. Contact The Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison, P.C. as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected. We can determine which statute applies, and help preserve the right to recover damages. Call (512) 708-1650 for your FREE and confidential consultation. We have an experienced RN (Registered Nurse) on staff.
LIMITATION PERIODS FOR PERSONAL INJURY
The following periods represent a small sample of the statutory limitations periods in Texas. Please note that it may be possible to bring multiple causes of action from a single incident of wrongful conduct, and thus, even if it appears that the relevant statute of limitations has run, it may remain possible to assert a different claim. Also, there may be an exception to the standard limitations period that applies to any given situation. The following list is provided by way of example. If you wish to know how the statute of limitations applies to a specific situation, you should verify the statutory time period and its relevance to your situation with a qualified Texas lawyer, such as our law firm.
Statutes of Limitation:
- Wrongful Death – TWO (2) YEARS
- Physical Assault – TWO (2) YEARS (If victim was younger than 18, limitation period does not begin to run until they turn 18 years of age.)
- Personal Injury – TWO (2) YEARS (If victim was younger than 18, limitation period does not begin to run until they turn 18 years of age.)
- Sexual Exploitation by a Doctor, Psychiatrist, Clergy, or Mental Health Care Provider – THREE (3) YEARS (If victim was younger than 18, limitation period does not begin to run until they turn 18 years of age.)
- Sexual Assault, Incest, and Sexual Molestation – FIVE (5) YEARS (If victim was younger than 18, limitation period does not begin to run until they turn 18 years of age.)
When Does the Clock Start Running on Limitation Periods?
A statute of limitations is said to begin running at the time a claim accrues. Ordinarily, that is the time at which an injury is suffered. However, in Texas, if the victim was younger than 18 years of age at the time of the physical or mental injury, limitation period “clock” does not begin to start running until the victim turns 18 years of age.
Mental Disability Can Sometimes Extend Limitations Period: Tolling of the Statute of Limitations
Texas courts recognize, in very limited cases, that there may be reasons to stop the limitations time clock in situations where a person is so mentally affected by the injury that they are of unsound mind and could not be expected to have the presence of mind to be aware of the deadlines required to file a civil lawsuit against the person or persons responsible for their injuries. In these cases, lawyers sometimes can argue that that the statute of limitations should be “tolled.” When the statute of limitations is “tolled” it means that the time clock (like a stopwatch) has stopped the statute from running for a certain period of time. Recognized reasons for tolling or stopping the statute of limitations include underage victims who are not legal adults at the time of injury (the victim of the injury was a minor at the time of injury), mental incompetence (the victim of the injury was not mentally competent at the time the injury occurred), and in some limited situations where the defendant has left the State of Texas.
An experienced attorney can counsel you on these applications and exceptions to the statutes of limitations. Additionally, a skilled attorney may be able to find another cause of action that may have a longer statute of limitations when one statute of limitations has already expired. Call The Law Offices of Kevin R. Madison, P.C. as soon as possible to ensure that your legal rights are protected. We can determine which statute applies, and help preserve the right to recover damages. Call (512) 708-1650 for your FREE and confidential consultation. We have an experienced RN (Registered Nurse) on staff.