Texas Statute of Limitations

September 8, 2023 | By DJC Law Attorneys
Texas Statute of Limitations

Accidents happen unexpectedly, resulting in serious injuries that physically, emotionally, and financially disrupt your life. If you want compensation for your injuries in Texas, you need a lawyer who understands the statute of limitations that governs personal injury claims. This legal time limit can significantly affect your ability to file a lawsuit and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Hiring an experienced Texas personal injury attorney is also in your best interest. Your attorney will know the statute of limitations for your particular case and any other deadlines you must meet.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is a legal time frame within which an individual must file a lawsuit after experiencing harm or injury. State law establishes this time frame, which varies depending on the type of claim.

The statute of limitations requires plaintiffs to bring lawsuits in a reasonable time, preserving the accuracy and reliability of evidence.

In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims might vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Act promptly if you believe you have a valid personal injury claim to preserve your right to compensation.

What is the Purpose of the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

This legal time frame serves several essential purposes in the legal system:

  • Preservation of evidence: Over time, evidence related to an accident or injury can deteriorate or become lost. By setting a legal deadline, the government system ensures that injured parties bring lawsuits while evidence remains relatively fresh and reliable. This can maintain the integrity of the evidence and promotes fair adjudication.
  • Protecting defendants: Statutes of limitations protect defendants (the at-fault parties) from facing lawsuits for events that occurred long ago.
  • Judicial efficiency: A clear and specific time frame for filing lawsuits promotes judicial efficiency by preventing cases from coming forward long after the events in question. This ensures that courts can manage dockets effectively and allocate resources efficiently.
  • Closure and finality: Statutes of limitations provide a sense of closure and finality for both plaintiffs (injured parties) and defendants. Once the specified period passes, individuals can move on without the constant threat of potential legal action looming over them.
  • Encouraging timely resolution: Setting a time limit encourages individuals to pursue legal action promptly rather than waiting indefinitely. This can lead to a swifter resolution of disputes and a more efficient legal process.
  • Balancing interests: The statute of limitations balances the interests of plaintiffs seeking compensation and defendants' rights to defend themselves. It prevents plaintiffs from waiting too long to file a claim while allowing defendants to reasonably anticipate and prepare for potential legal actions.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injuries in Texas

The Texas statute of limitations for most personal injuries is two years from the date of the injury. As such, victims generally have two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for compensation for their injuries. However, there are some important exceptions and nuances to be aware of:

Discovery Rule

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In some cases, injuries may not become apparent immediately after an accident. Texas applies the discovery rule, which means that the statute of limitations may begin when the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. This rule commonly applies in cases involving medical malpractice or exposure to toxic substances.

For example, if you were exposed to asbestos 20 years ago on the job and were recently diagnosed with cancer, you can still have a viable claim since you just recently discovered the cancer. Or if you had surgery and two weeks later started having strange symptoms only to learn that you had a surgical tool left inside of you, the clock will not start ticking for the statute of limitations until you discovered the tool was still inside you or until you should have reasonably known about it.


If the injured party is a minor child (under 18 years of age), the statute of limitations may toll or pause until the minor reaches 18. Once the minor turns 18, they will have the regular two-year statute of limitations deadline to file a lawsuit.

Government Entities

Different rules and timelines apply if you seek compensation from a government entity or municipality. Generally, you must provide notice of your claim within a much shorter time frame, often as little as six months.

Wrongful Death

In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is also two years from the date of the individual's death. This period can vary based on the circumstances, so consult legal counsel to determine the specific deadlines.

Exceptions for Intentional Torts

For cases involving intentional torts, such as assault or defamation, the statute of limitations is typically one year from the date of the incident.

What Happens if You Miss the Texas Personal Injury Statute of Limitations?

In most cases, very limited exceptions apply to the statute of limitations. Rare instances might extend the deadline, such as when the victim didn't immediately discover their injury or in cases involving minors. However, do not rely on exceptions, especially without guidance from a seasoned Texas personal injury attorney.

If you miss the Texas personal injury statute of limitations, you cannot pursue a legal claim for compensation.

Here's what can happen if you miss the statute of limitations:

Barred Lawsuit

Once the statute of limitations passes, you lose the right to file a lawsuit altogether. The court will dismiss your case if you file it after the established time limit, and the defendant can use the expiration of the statute of limitations as a defense against your claims.

Inability to Seek Compensation

If you cannot file a lawsuit, you will not recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. This can leave you with the financial burden of your injuries and no legal recourse.

Loss of Evidence

Over time, evidence can be lost, destroyed, or become less reliable. Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations can lead to difficulties collecting and presenting crucial evidence to support your claims.

Waiver of Rights

Missing the statute of limitations effectively waives your right to pursue legal action for your injuries. Even if you have a strong case, you cannot bring it to court if the deadline has passed.

Defendant's Advantage

Defendants and insurance companies know the statute of limitations and may use it to their advantage. If they know that the deadline passed, they won’t negotiate a settlement or offer compensation.

Emotional Impact

Missing the statute of limitations can distress you and your family, as you cannot hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries.

To avoid missing the statute of limitations, you must take prompt action if you suffered an injury due to someone else's negligence. Consult a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. An experienced attorney can explain the relevant statute of limitations, gather evidence, assess the strength of your case, and guide you through the legal process.

Consulting a Personal Injury Attorney

Understanding and adhering to the statute of limitations is essential to protect your right to seek compensation for your injuries. If you suffered an injury due to another person or party's negligence or wrongful actions, meet with a knowledgeable Texas personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

A lawyer can assess your situation, determine the applicable statute of limitations, and guide you through the legal process to meet all necessary deadlines.

Additionally, working with a personal injury attorney early on can preserve crucial evidence, gather witness statements, and build a strong case to maximize your chances of obtaining full and fair financial recovery for all your damages.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

Personal injury claims arise from the negligence of another individual or party. No matter how someone suffers an injury, if it results from recklessness or negligence, they deserve proper monetary compensation for their damages.

Although no amount of money will erase the injury or turn back time, having compensation to pay for bills and to make a victim whole again is the next best thing. Most personal injury claims come from motor vehicle accidents, but others come from work accidents, premises liability, and even medical malpractice.

Other types of personal injury cases include those arising from:

  • Truck accidents
  • Bus crashes
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle crashes
  • Railway accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Elevator and escalator injuries
  • Dog bites or animal attacks
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective products
  • Wrongful death
  • Intentional acts of violence

The Basis of Personal Injury Claims

Suppose you suffer an injury that was preventable had another person taken or refrained from specific actions. In that case, you might have a personal injury claim.

A Texas personal injury lawyer can prove the following points to support your injury claim:

  • A duty existed between the defendant (at-fault party) and the claimant or plaintiff. For example, a driver has the legal obligation to stop at a red light, and a property owner has a duty to keep their sidewalks clear of ice and snow.
  • The defendant breached or violated the duty. In the previous example, the driver breached their duty to the victim when they ran the red light or let ice and snow pile up on the walkways.
  • The plaintiff sustained physical, emotional, or financial losses, also called damages. Their damages must be the result of the defendant violating a duty. A lawsuit may not go forward if a victim cannot prove they incurred damages.
  • Causation is one of the most essential pieces of an injury claim. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant's actions caused their injuries to obtain compensation.

Most Texas personal injury claims settle before they end up at trial due to the weight of the plaintiff’s evidence. The more evidence they have of liability and damages, the better the chances of receiving a fair settlement or jury award for their damages.

The right personal injury attorney can collect and persuasively present evidence of negligence to maximize the chances of full financial recovery for an injury victim.

The personal injury statute of limitations in Texas is a critical legal concept that affects your ability to seek compensation for injuries arising from another person or party's negligence or intentional actions.

Understanding the time limits that apply to your case and acting promptly by seeking legal counsel can substantially improve your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, don't delay – consult with a qualified Texas personal injury lawyer who will protect your legal rights and pursue the justice you deserve.

Time is of the essence when it comes to personal injury claims. Don't wait to seek legal advice if you've suffered injuries.