By: Law Office of Denise Adkison-Brown

Decoding Statutes of Limitations: Timelines Crucial for Personal Injury Cases

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What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a legal timeframe for someone to take legal action. In personal injury, that means how long someone has to file insurance claims or lawsuits for damages. Once the statute of limitations has elapsed, moving forward with any action is virtually impossible. The other party in the claims will immediately note that the claims were filed after the statute of limitations had ended, and those claims would likely be fully dismissed.

Because of that, it’s vital to understand the statute of limitations for your specific claims to ensure you don’t inadvertently miss them and lose your opportunity to recover damages in your case.

Why Do Statute of Limitations Exist?

It might seem better not to have an end date for filing for injury claims or damages. However, there are some reasons why it’s a good idea not to allow people to file claims for years or even decades-old injuries.

– Evidence. The longer a case goes before claims are filed, the less likely there will be valid or usable evidence. Or, if there was evidence, it may have been altered or even lost. Without evidence, it’s hard for a personal injury case to succeed.

– Witnesses. Human memory is all too fallible, especially if a significant amount of time has elapsed. Witnesses can lose track of details or even remember things differently, making them unreliable.

– Keeping people liable indefinitely. If there were no statute of limitations, people could file suits decades after the injury, which could end up abusing the court system and cause considerable loss of time and money.

What Are Texas’ Laws Regarding the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases?

At first glance, Texas’ laws around personal injury statute of limitations appear straightforward. The laws state that the injured party (known as the plaintiff) has two years from the date of the injury or when the injury was discovered, whichever is later, to file claims from the party said to be at fault (the defendant).

What Is Tolling or Reposing the Statute of Limitations?


Tolling the statute of limitations means legally pausing it. There are specific legal circumstances in which the limitations can be tolled, all of which are things that are beyond the plaintiff’s control and won’t be held against them.

– The plaintiff was a minor at the time of the injury. In this case, the statute of limitations is paused until the plaintiff turns 18, at which time the two-year period begins.

– The defendant has left the state or disappeared. The statute of limitations can resume when the defendant is found or back in Texas.

– The plaintiff is found to be not of sound mind or mentally incompetent. For example, if the accident caused a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion that temporarily leaves the plaintiff unable to fully function intellectually, the statute of limitations could be paused until they’ve recovered enough to be deemed mentally sound again.


A statute of repose allows plaintiffs to file for claims after the two-year window for specific cases, usually involving medical malpractice or product liability. In these cases, the plaintiff may not discover their injury until two years have passed but can still make claims.

Are There Any Other Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?

One important exception is governmental entities. In general, the government usually has immunity in personal injury cases. However, if a government agency or employee was negligent in such a way that caused someone to have an accident that caused an injury, there is a possible route to damages.

One example is if a government agency designed a public space, such as a park, that had known dangers and did nothing to mitigate them. If someone is injured and can prove the agency was negligent, the plaintiff may be able to receive damages.

However, the statute of limitations in government cases differs from nongovernmental cases. When dealing with the government, claims must be filed within six months of the injury.

Even then, there are other exceptions. Some cities and municipalities have even shorter limitations. That’s why it’s imperative to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.

What Should I Do if I Need Help Filing for Damages with a Personal Injury Caset?

If you haven’t already, the first thing to do is see a doctor. Although you might think your injury is minor, there are severe injuries that show few symptoms right away. Left untreated, they can worsen and become dangerous. It’s also possible that the person you’re filing for damages from might try to claim that because you didn’t see a doctor immediately, the injury was caused at a later time.

Then, call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 for your free nationwide case review. The statute of limitations is an essential part of any personal injury case, and we’ll want to ensure it doesn’t elapse before you’ve had a chance to file your claims. We can also guide you through the specifics of your case and what the outcomes might be.

Avoid entering into communication with the other party, their insurance representative, or lawyer. Their goal is to pay out as little in damages as possible, so they may try to get you to say something indicating you accept the fault for the injury. They could also try to convince you to accept a much lower settlement than you might otherwise receive. Don’t discuss the case with them; just forward any communications to your attorney.