In Texas, you can hire an attorney any time during a lawsuit.
The more important question is, how long do I have to file a lawsuit?
The answer depends on the reason for your lawsuit.
A law that limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit is known as a statute of limitations.
Under the Texas Statute of Limitations (Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003), all personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years after “the cause of action accrues.”
The cause of action is the reason you are suing. So you must usually file the lawsuit within two years of the accident.
If you have been harmed in Texas, a statute of limitations sets out a window of time for you to file a lawsuit. There are good reasons for this:
Waiting too long to file a lawsuit can make it difficult to prove a case. Eyewitnesses may forget or die, and physical evidence like skid marks may be washed away.
Court systems tend to be backed up. People also move on with their lives, and the law would rather deal with disagreements sooner rather than later. This is sometimes said as letting sleeping dogs lie.
Under a statute of limitation, any lawsuits relating to that injury have to be filed before the deadline or they usually must be rejected by the court.
If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the Court will usually refuse to hear the case. Your lawsuit will be barred (blocked), even if you were not at-fault and the person or company that injured you broke the law. That’s why many insurance companies and attorneys try to use the statutes of limitation to end a lawsuit. They may argue the deadline has already passed. If you don’t know the laws, it may be hard to show the court why their interpretation is mistaken.
Statutes of limitation in Texas begin to run when the cause of action accrues. That means the date of the accident or injury, when you had a reason to sue someone.
Determining the cause of action in a car accident case is usually easy – the date of the accident. But in other cases, setting a date for the cause of action is more difficult.
For example, if you were harmed by taking a pharmaceutical drug over a course of treatment, it may be the moment you understood that you were injured by the drug.
Figuring out when a cause of action accrues can be difficult. It often takes understanding Texas civil laws so you can explain it to the court.
Statutes of limitation are different for different types of wrongful acts.
For example, to recover for someone defaming you (printing something false and harmful about your character), the statute of limitations is one year from the date you knew the defamation was published.
But for a car accident In Texas, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit in the court system.
That is why it is so important to understand the particular statute of limitation for your case. An Austin personal injury attorney from Justinian & Associates can understand your case and advise you on how long you have to file the case.
We understand when the cause of action accrues and the lawsuit period begins to run. And we are experienced with insurance company tricks and methods to argue that a deadline has passed.
Contact us for a free consultation with a seasoned personal injury lawyer. We will listen to your story and explain your options under Texas law.