Texas Car Accidents Blog
Last Updated : July 8, 2024

Injury Claim Deadlines after A Car Accident in Texas

Posted on Saturday, June 15th, 2024 at 4:25 pm    

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident in Texas due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses. It’s critical, however, to understand the deadlines and statutes of limitations that govern how long you have to file an injury claim. You must complete these crucial deadlines to recover the money you need and deserve.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injury Claims

In Texas, the statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including those involving car accidents, is two years from the accident date (Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003). This means you have a two-year window to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party seeking compensation for your injuries and other damages.

While two years may seem like plenty of time, beginning the claims process immediately after your accident is essential. Valuable evidence can disappear, and witness memories can fade over time. Starting early allows your attorney maximum time to build a strong case on your behalf. It also ensures you don’t lose your right to sue by missing the filing deadline.

The two-year statute of limitations applies to most car accident injury claims in Texas, including those involving:

  • Driver negligence (e.g., speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving)
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Uber and Lyft rideshare accidents

If your loved one died in a Texas car accident, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. The exact two-year statute of limitations deadline applies, typically running from the date of your loved one’s death (which may be later than the accident date).

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to File Your Texas Car Accident Claim

While two years may seem like a long time, filing your car accident injury claim is essential. Here’s why:

  • Evidence can disappear: Physical evidence from the accident scene, such as skid marks, debris, and defective road conditions, can quickly disappear. Surveillance camera footage may also be erased if not promptly preserved.
  • Witnesses forget details: Over time, eyewitnesses to the accident may forget important information or become more challenging to locate. Their memories may also become less reliable if a significant amount of time has passed.
  • You may need time to reach maximum medical improvement: To know the extent of your accident-related losses, waiting until you have finished treating and reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) is often necessary. Reaching MMI can take many months, however. The sooner you involve an attorney, the more time they will have to prepare your case while you complete your physical recovery.
  • The at-fault party may delay or deny liability: Insurance companies are not on your side. They may engage in delay tactics or restrict liability for the accident, hoping you will miss the filing deadline. The longer you wait to pursue your claim, the more challenging it is to negotiate a fair settlement.

Consulting with a seasoned car accident attorney soon after your accident can protect your rights and enhance your chances of obtaining the highest compensation possible for your injuries.

Limited Exceptions to the Two-Year Deadline

Texas law does allow some minimal exceptions that can extend the two-year statute of limitations deadline for car accident injury claims:

  • If the accident victim is a minor (under age 18), the two-year clock typically does not start until the minor’s 18th birthday. They would then have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
  • If the defendant (at-fault party) leaves Texas for some time after the accident, the time they are out-of-state usually does not count toward the two years.
  • If the accident victim is of “unsound mind” (mentally incapacitated) at the time of the accident, the deadline clock may not start until after their mental capacity is restored.

These are rare exceptions. The firm two-year statute of limitations applies in most Texas car accident cases. So, it’s always best to consult with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

Texas Car Insurance Claim Deadlines

It’s important to note that insurance claim deadlines are separate from the statute of limitations deadline for filing lawsuits. If you want to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or your insurance (if you have applicable coverage like collision, uninsured motorist, or personal injury protection), you must promptly notify the insurer about the accident. Auto insurance policies require reasonably prompt notification.

Health Insurance and Governmental Benefits Deadlines

If you have health insurance, you will likely need to submit accident-related medical bills to your insurer within a specific timeframe. Failing to submit bills promptly could lead to a denial of coverage. Similarly, if you are eligible for governmental benefits like Medicaid or Medicare, you must submit bills and claims according to the program deadlines and rules.

Compensation You Can Recover for Your Car Accident Injuries

By filing your injury claim before the statute of limitations expires, you can seek monetary damages for losses such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses related to treating your accident injuries
  • Lost wages from missing work during your physical recovery
  • Diminished earning capacity if you have sustained disabling injuries that impact your ability to earn a living
  • Vehicle repair or replacement costs
  • Pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life caused by the accident
  • Punitive damages (in rare cases involving gross negligence or intentional misconduct)

An experienced car accident attorney can analyze your case and estimate the total value of your claim. Only accept a quick settlement from the insurance company after first speaking to your lawyer.

Don’t Let the Insurance Company Take Advantage of You

Insurance companies know the law. They understand that once the statute of limitations expires on your car accident claim, you will have no leverage to negotiate a settlement. That’s why insurers often engage in delay tactics, such as:

  • Disputing liability for the accident
  • Minimizing the severity of your injuries
  • Requesting endless documentation before processing your claim
  • Making lowball settlement offers that do not fairly compensate you

The insurance company may even try to convince you that you don’t need an attorney or should provide a recorded statement about the accident. Don’t fall for these tricks as they are designed to reduce the value of your claim and limit the insurer’s financial liability.

Act Now to Protect Your Rights After a Texas Car Accident

The aftermath of a severe car accident is a confusing time. You may be in pain, unable to work, and facing mounting medical bills. The sooner you speak to a knowledgeable car accident attorney, the better.

At Portner Bond, PLLC, our dedicated injury lawyers are here to guide you through the claims process and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us today online or at (409) 838-4444. We offer free consultations and no upfront fees – we only get paid if we recover money for you.