After being injured in an auto accident, workplace accident, or other personal injury accident, it is important to take steps right away to protect your legal rights for filing a personal injury claim. In Texas, as well as other states, there are specific time limits for filing a claim against the responsible party for damages, with help from a personal injury lawyer.
These time limits are often referred to as the statute of limitations, a legal term. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you could be left not receiving any compensation from the negligent party. According to Texas laws, injured people have two years from the date they first experienced their personal injuries to file a lawsuit in civil court against the responsible party.1
Do I Need to File a Lawsuit if I Have Already Received a Settlement Offer?
Often, insurance companies are quick to respond once a claim for personal injuries has been submitted. The primary goal of all insurance companies is to get you to accept a settlement offer for the least amount of money possible.
Even though they may act like your injuries are of the utmost importance to them, they still want you to sign your settlement agreement or cash their check right away. Many people do not realize they could be entitled to a larger amount of compensation. In addition, the initial settlement offer insurance companies make often has very limiting terms and conditions.
For instance, it is quite common practice to include a clause that states you cannot seek any further compensation for related medical bills and expenses once you accept the offer or cash the check. This means that if you take the initial settlement offer, but later discover you have more serious injuries requiring surgery, you will be left covering the cost of your surgery.
Unfortunately, the only way to truly get insurance companies to make a fair and reasonable settlement offer is by filing a lawsuit. Even if you have already received an initial settlement offer, it is highly advisable to NOT accept it without first speaking to your own personal injury lawyer.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Two-Year Texas Statute of Limitations?
There are a few situations where the two-year statute of limitations in Texas can be waived. The first situation is where the injured person is not of sound mind or is under a legal disability. This exception may also be applied to those individuals under the age of 18. In this case, the two-year time limit does not start until after the person has recovered and is no longer disabled, or of an unsound mind, or turns 18.
The second exception is if the injured people were to leave Texas for a period of time. For instance, they go stay with relatives in Florida while they recover from their injuries. The time they are away does not count toward the two-year statute of limitations.
However, rather than risk your claim, it is always in your best interest to seek legal advice as soon as possible from a personal injury law firm, even when you are doing so on behalf of an injured family member. To arrange a free consultation for your personal injury claim, please feel free to contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers at 713-364-0723 now!