How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for a Car Wreck?
When Do You Need to File an Injury Claim?
No matter how serious, car accidents are traumatic and stressful events. The shock from a vehicle accident will make it hard for accident victims to think clearly about what to do next. In many situations, psychological effects can overshadow even a serious injury of the incident. That’s why when reporting a personal injury claim after a car accident, it is critical to act immediately.
If you were involved in a Houston auto accident that was not your fault and someone else was accountable for causing the accident, you only have a limited amount of time to file for an injury lawsuit. Hire a personal injury attorney under Houston, Texas accident law immediately. It is crucial to seek medical attention, and it should always be the first thing to do after an accident. But, reaching-out as soon as possible to an experienced Houston car accident attorney is more important-especially as there is a time limit on how long you can wait to file your injury lawsuit.
If you and the insurance company are unable to agree to a satisfactory settlement to cover maximum compensation for your property damage and catastrophic injuries, you may need to file an injury lawsuit to get the money you deserve. But the state imposes a limit on how long you have to file lawsuits for personal injury claims, and that includes Houston car accidents.
Generally, you only have two (2) years to file your car accident claims under Texas law from the date of the car crash. You certainly shouldn’t wait until the last minute to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you through the injury claim process. Drivers’ insurance companies prey on people who are not represented by a high-quality Houston car accident lawyer. Besides, if you wait too long and fail to file your injury claim within this given period, the court may dismiss your case before your personal injury trial, and you will lose any chance of getting the maximum compensation you deserve. This time limit is otherwise known as the statute of limitations. In Texas, that is two years.
Under Texas’s personal injury law, depending on your circumstances and the type of injury involved, several statutes of limitations may apply to your injury case. Take for instance, here are some of Texas’s most common statutes of limitations on personal injury cases:
- If your injury is the result of negligence from someone else, like most slip-and-fall accidents, you normally have two years to file a lawsuit from the date of your injury.
- If a loved one dies due to the wrongful or negligent behavior of someone else, you have two years from the time of death to file a claim for wrongful death.
Nonetheless, one thing you need to remember is that the time, as mentioned earlier, are general guidelines. In fact, given that every situation is different and unique, the statutes of limitations that apply may vary depending on your claim. Also, if your car accident injury involves a government agency or employee, you may need to worry about other time limits-those that may be as short as 180 days.
Why Are There Statutes of Limitations?
For years, the court system has applied the statute of limitations in both criminal and civil matters. Statutes of limitations protect and cover the accused. The legal time limit requires the claimant to file a complaint on time. It helps ensure that substantial evidence does not get lost, and any witnesses called to testify are aware of recent memories.
The longer auto accidents took place, the more likely witnesses’ memories will become imprecise and eventually lose information as police departments change procedures, transfer evidence, etc. Therefore, hearing a complaint about a vehicle accident that happened, say, 10 or 15 years ago would be unfair for the court.
Document Everything That Happened During the Accident
Injury lawsuits and insurance claims are often dismissed due to a lack of evidence. And, even if you don’t know if you’re going to file a lawsuit, you should still protect your best interests and gather enough evidence. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be for an accident claim to succeed even with an injury lawsuit, to fight against the insurance company for property damage.
Several things you can gather or document include:
- Photos from the accident scene
- Recorded statement
- Documentation of your injuries
- Documents and medical bills showing the cost from your Houston accident
- Property damage
- Time taken off from work
The more information and details you have, the easier it will be for your accident lawyer in Houston, Tx, to decide whether you have a case worth pursuing and how much they can receive in a settlement for you.
Dealing with Drivers’ Insurance Company After a Houston Car Accident
First, it is especially helpful to prove that you have sought medical attention right after the car wreck to support your claim, or at least within the first month. Some injuries may not appear immediately following a crash. The more time it takes to prove your injuries, the harder it will be to prove that they were a result of an accident.
After a car crash, make sure you:
- Visit your doctor soon after a car accident, even if you think you are not sure that you are seriously injured
- Never to admit that you are at fault for the vehicle accident, even if you feel you may be liable
- Within 24 hours, file the car accident to your insurance company
- If you have been injured, file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible.
- Even if the other party’s insurance company questions you, do not give or send any recorded statements
- Take pictures of the scene and document what you can remember; if possible, do so while you are still on the scene after the car accident.
- Speak to an experienced car accident lawyer in Houston before deciding whether to accept the settlement offer from an insurance company
Common Car Accident Injuries
There are usually some common types of accident injuries that we see from accident victims:
Head and Traumatic Brain Injury — This may include other traumatic brain injuries, concussions, plastic surgery lacerations, internal bleeding, or skull fractures.
Neck and Back Injuries — This may include whiplash, herniated disks, damage to the spinal cord, strains, or sprains.
Burn Injuries — Burns can run from minor to fatal. Severe burns can take grafts of the skin and cause scarring.
Soft Tissue Injuries — The pain can be lingering when muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched or torn in a car accident.
Spinal cord Injuries –A loss of movement or sensation in the lower extremities may result when the spinal cord is severely damaged.
Broken Bones — Broken bones can be excruciatingly painful, may need surgery to fix them, and may take a very long time to heal.
Damages in a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit
Reimbursement for your losses is a crucial reason to file for an injury lawsuit for a car accident. This is done through financial damages award mandated by the court. The compensation must repay the accident victims for losses and injuries caused by the car crash.
Damage awards can cover losses such as:
- Wrongful death expenses
- Medical expenses such as hospital stays, medical bills, etc.
- Pain and suffering
- Future earning capacity loss or lost wages
- Any property damage caused by the vehicle accident
As you can imagine, without a doubt, financial compensation benefits victims from car accidents. That’s why you need to be aware of the deadlines for filing a lawsuit. Be mindful of when you need to file, so you avoid missing the chance to bring a lawsuit. As with any legal claim, it can be costly to have a missed deadline.
Can I Obtain an Extension on the Statute of Limitations of a Car Accident?
If you missed the deadline to file a lawsuit for your car accident or have no time to file, an extension might be possible. The most common example is with a minor. The statute of limitations does not begin to run until they turn 18.
But, you need to be aware that extensions are usually granted only in specific situations. For example, the court may grant an extension if a person is disabled due to the accident and is unable to file a claim. This usually requires medical proof. There may be other exceptions and extensions available. For more information on these matters, it’s best to talk to an experienced Houston car accident lawyer, as they require significant additional documentation.
So, How Long Should I File a Lawsuit?
You must file an injury lawsuit as quickly as possible. First, though, you have to talk to a trial lawyer at the Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, and we will see if you have a case. After discussing your legal matters with us, you can study your options, address your rights, and see if you must file a lawsuit after that.
The sooner you talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer, the better, since the law limits you to only two years. You don’t have to file a lawsuit on the day you meet an accident attorney or even within the same month. However, the sooner you hire someone to begin collecting evidence, the smoother it will be to defend your case when you need to do so later.
Don’t Delay – Call the Car Accident Lawyer at The Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC, You Can Trust
Troy M. Moore, protecting the rights of the injured!
For legal guidance and representation, you can trust, call Troy M. Moore today. Our law office has the experience and knowledge to build a strong case. During the settlement process, if you consult with us, we will review all witness statements, police reports, witness statements, billing records, doctor’s notes, and more to help you get maximum compensation. And our law firm is always prepared to file a personal injury claim on your behalf if the insurance company doesn’t come up with a favorable offer to reimburse you for costs you’ve already charged, time lost from work, and any medical bills you might face in the future due to accident injuries.
On a contingency fee basis, we manage all personal injury cases, which means we don’t charge you attorney fees unless we get you the total recovery you seek. If you need help in filing for a car accident claim on time, call us through (281) 970-8039 or email us online at our firm’s website to schedule your initial FREE consultation.
We have a strong record of successfully fighting for the rights of our clients. Hire a trial attorney that is willing to take your case to trial, and not one that won’t take your case to trial, only to try and get you to accept a low settlement. We will work tirelessly to help you get your life back on track!
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Law Office of Troy M. Moore, PLLC
Address: 12850 Jones Road, Suite 201 Houston, TX, 77070
Office (281) 970-8039