Each state has a statute of limitations on car accident claims which sets the time frame for when you can file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent driver. In Texas, that period is two years.
What If My Car Accident Happened More Than Two Years Ago?
Texas makes it very difficult to file a claim after two years have elapsed. In most cases, you will simply be out of luck. This means that if you attempt to file a claim, it will simply be dismissed by the court.
However, there is a greater question at play. When does the statute of limitations clock begin ticking down? Typically, the two years starts from the time the the accident occurred. There are some cases, though, where the court will toll the statute of limitations to a later date.
For instance, let’s say that you were in a car accident three years ago. You spent two of those years in a coma. The courts wouldn’t say that you were out of luck. They would set a date sometime after you woke up from the coma to act as the starting date for the statute of limitations. You would then have two years from that starting date to file a lawsuit. This is called “tolling” the statute of limitations.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations for a Minor
Minors are not allowed to file lawsuits on their own behalf. They must have a guardian ad litem assigned to them to file the suit. This is not always possible. Therefore, the statute of limitations will not start until they turn 18. They would then have until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Why It’s Important to File Your Claim Within the Statute of Limitations
Unless you can prove that there was no feasible way that you could have filed the lawsuit within two years of your injury, weren’t aware that the injury existed, or were under 18 when the accident occurred, the court will likely not allow you to toll the statute of limitations to a later date. Even if you can toll the lawsuit to a later date, you should try to avoid doing so.
The best time to file a lawsuit is early in the process. Even when you’re still recovering or aren’t sure what you should do, having the suit on file with the courts ensures that your claim will be valid if you decide to pursue it later.
Additionally, it gives your car accident attorney more time to prepare your case. If you need to rely on witness testimony or your own memory of events, you won’t have to worry about trick questions or other verbal trickery preventing you accurately delivering your account of what happened. In other words, it’s always better to start the process early rather than later.
Insurance Companies Will Use a Late Filing Against You
If you file suit a year and a half after an accident occurred, you can bet that the insurance company will argue that you waited because you yourself weren’t convinced the injuries were related to the accident. While this won’t prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve, it’s one more hurdle you will have to overcome.
Of course, there may be a very good reason for filing later. For example, let’s say the accident caused an injury that got progressively worse over time. In that case, you may be able to toll the statute of limitations until the date that you discovered the injury. Again, however, it’s one more hurdle to overcome.
Speak to an Experienced San Antonio Car Accident Attorney Today
In Texas, the court strictly enforces the statute of limitations on car accident claims. It’s therefore crucial to act quickly. If you suffered injury in a car crash, contact Brylak Law as soon as possible to get started on your claim.