for my site – 10/9/19 – Statute of Limitations – gtg


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What Is the Statute of Limitations in Texas? Our Attorney Explains

In the state of Texas, there is a relatively small period of time following an incident whereby the plaintiff may file a suit or pursue other legal action against the defendant. The amount of time available is dependent on the type of case as well as several secondary factors. The deadline whereby the plaintiff loses the right to pursue legal action is known as the statute of limitations.

Generally speaking, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the incident. The statute of limitations applies to the following cases accordingly:

General Personal Injuries – 2 years from the date of injury; 
Car Accidents — 2 years from the date of injury; 
Work Accidents where Workers’ Comp is not present – 2 years from the date of injury; 
Wrongful Death – 2 years from the date of death; 
Product Liability Cases – 2 years; 

An exception to the Statute of Limitations – Minor Child
The most common exception to the conventional statute of limitations is that of an injury sustained by a minor. Since minors are seen are not of age to make important legal decisions, The state of Texas extends the statute of limitations, regardless of the child’s age at the time of the accident, until 2 years from the date of the child’s 18th birthday. In other words, the count down does not begin until the child becomes an adult.

For example, if a five-year-old child is injured in a car accident, they would not lose the right to pursue legal action until the date of their 20th birthday.

The same extension of the statute applies to the wrongful death benefits or claim that a child is entitled to following the death of a parent. For example, if a construction worker is killed on the job and he has a 19-year-old child and a 15-year-old child, the eldest has two years from the date of the incident to file a claim, while the younger of the two would have approximately five years to file a similar claim.

Other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Lack of Common Knowledge
In some cases, the statute is said to begin on the date that a reasonable person would have become aware of the injury. A perfect example of this would be an asbestos exposure/mesothelioma case. In most of these types of cases, the victim was exposed to asbestos years or decades prior to the discovery that such exposure results in the deadly disease mesothelioma. Most victims of mesothelioma would go many years before they were diagnosed as having this disease. The law provides a special exception and the statute is extended, and starts to run, on the date that the victim is diagnosed with the disease, even though the actual exposure happened many years before.

Extenuating Circumstances
If there is some compelling force that renders the plaintiff incapable of pursuing legal action, the statute of limitations may be extended. For example, if the victim is in a coma for the normal period of the statute of limitations, they may be granted an extension because they were incapable of filing a law suit while they were unconscious.

Establishing a Reasonable Standard
The term “reasonable” is often used in the legal world. If there are extenuating circumstances that would keep a reasonable person from starting a legal case, the statute can be extended. In the example above, the mesothelioma victim was given a drastically extended statute of limitations because it is perfectly reasonable to assume that they were unaware they were infected. Had that person been diagnosed with mesothelioma and then waited for 3 years to contact an attorney, it would not be likely that the statute of limitations would be extended because it is not reasonable for a person to wait that long.

Furthermore, ignorance is not an excuse. For example, if an accident victim did not know that he or she could file a lawsuit, that would not be considered reasonable in the eyes of the law.

There’s Always a Catch
With most things that sound appealing in life, there is always a catch. The legal world is not immune from this phenomenon. Although you technically have two years before the statute of limitations expires, waiting until the end of that two year period CAN RUIN YOUR CASE! The earlier a personal injury attorney gets involved in your case, the better the chances are of securing the maximum possible recovery. The longer you wait before you hire an attorney, the options available to the attorney will become fewer and fewer and it will likely hurt the value of your case.

So why is that exactly?

Contrary to popular belief, the trial is usually a last resort. The trial is generally considered as the “silver bullet” to be used if other measures fail to result in a fair settlement. Ideally, your attorney will have plenty of time to fully investigate your claim and gain a thorough understanding of all of the facts and circumstances involved which they can use to determine the best course of action. When the attorney has such an abundance of time, they are able to build a strong case in your favor and they can use the threat of taking your case to trial against the defendant while attempting to use alternative methods of resolution. With any trial, there is a substantial amount of risk for both sides since the outcome is in the hands of the jury who are perfectly capable of making an irrational decision. To recap, the attorney will best be able to serve you if they have plenty of time to try alternative methods of resolution while using the threat of taking the case to trial as a motivator to keep the defendants interested in resolving the case.

By waiting until the end of the statute of limitations, you are putting the attorney in a position where they have no choice but to file a lawsuit and proceed toward a trial. It’s a bit like waiting until last few minutes of the game to send in your star player.

What’s Happening While You Wait to Speak to an Attorney?
While you may be waiting to make a decision, the defense side is already forming a case against you. This is simply a normal operating procedure in the world of legal defense. Any time there is a potential for a lawsuit to be brought against them, an insurance company, or another defendant will start preemptively building a case against the plaintiff, even if the plaintiff has not indicated that they are going to file a claim or lawsuit.

In many instances, you will not be able to find an attorney that is interested in your case once too much time has passed. It is always a good idea to at least talk to an attorney and get a no-obligation consultation just to hear all of your options and make an educated decision prior to letting your statute run its course.

You’ve got nothing to lose by getting some free advice, and everything to lose by not doing so.

You are Probably Damaging Your Own Case
Additionally, most plaintiffs unknowingly say things to damage their case any time they speak with the defendants or their insurance adjusters or attorneys. The sooner you get an attorney involved, the sooner you will be insulated from the tricks and deceptive practices used by the defendants and their insurance adjusters.







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