A statute of limitations establishes the maximum amount of time for someone to file a legal claim to recover damages against another party that caused their injury. Having a deadline is important because it:
- Promptly brings those responsible for harming others to justice
- Can help those impacted by the harm of others recover damages from their injury as soon as possible
- Helps preserve evidence and make the most of witness testimony, both which may diminish over time
Every state, including Texas, has its own statute of limitations for all the different civil and criminal cases its courts see, including personal injuries resulting in paralysis.
How Long do You Have to File a Paralysis Injury Claim in Texas?
According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code §16.003, that statute of limitations for paralysis injuries in Texas is two years from the injuring incident to file a claim against the responsible party.
This statute of limitations applies to most personal injury claims, including those caused by negligence or intentional acts. It applies to cases involving slip and fall incidents, vehicle accidents, and product liability issues.
Medical malpractice could also cause paralysis, such as through a botched surgery. A victim of this kind of negligence would also have two years to file a lawsuit, but under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.251.
Do Not Delay Getting Your Lawsuit Ready
The clock starts ticking right when your accident occurs, and gathering evidence, building a case, and filing a claim can take time. That means you must decide whether you want to pursue a case against the person or organization that’s responsible for your paralysis injury as soon as possible.
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Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
While the statute of limitations is applied equally across all paralysis injury cases, there are a few situations that may pause the ticking clock.
The Injured Person Was a Minor or “of Unsound Mind”
The timeline would be affected if the injured person was a minor or “of unsound mind” when the incident caused the injury. So, the clock doesn’t start ticking until the injured party turns 18 or “becomes mentally competent.”
For example, if you were 16 when you were in a car accident that resulted in your partial or full paralysis, you would have two years from the time you turned 18 to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
The Responsible Party Leaves Texas
The timeline would also be affected if the responsible party leaves Texas after the accident and before the lawsuit is filed. The period when that person is not in Texas is not counted in the time frame. This effectively increases the time someone may have to file.
For example, if the driver that caused your paralysis injury moves out of Texas for a few months, you could have the same number of months more to file your suit.
Other than these two exceptions, there aren’t many situations that would give you more time to file your suit. Speak with your Texas attorney very soon after your accident. Determine if you have a case and get the filing process started immediately so you don’t miss the deadline.
What Happens If You Miss the Deadline?
The statute of limitations deadline helps preserve the evidentiary integrity of all personal injury cases, which is why it’s so rigid.
If you miss the deadline, you can still file your claim—but your case is likely to be dismissed. Either the court will refuse to try your case, or the defendant and their legal team will point out that you’ve missed the statute’s deadline. There are many reasons why you might miss the deadline, including:
- You didn’t know whether the statute of limitations applied to your case.
- You didn’t know how much time you had.
- You didn’t know or remember the date of your accident.
- Your injuries didn’t become severe until weeks or months after the accident.
Missing your deadline to file a case means you miss out on recovering compensation. You can meet with a paralysis injury lawyer to determine the time frame for your specific case and get started right away on building your case.
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Special Considerations When Filing Your Paralysis Injury Lawsuit
There are two situations you might find yourself and your legal team grappling with when considering filing your case before the statute of limitations runs out:
Listing “Doe” Defendants
If you don’t know the names of all defendants, you can list them as “Doe” and then add the official names of these defendants as you learn who they are (even after the statute expires). However, you cannot add brand new defendants after the statute has expired.
Instead of rushing to take the defendant(s) to court, your attorney might first try to negotiate on your behalf to get you a fair settlement. However, waiting months to start negotiations or missing the deadline to file a legal claim can also:
- Impact your leverage in out-of-court negotiations
- Give the defendant’s legal team an advantage
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Don’t Let Statute of Limitations Run Out on Your Texas Paralysis Lawsuit
The team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins can advise you on how to handle the statute of limitations in your paralysis injury case. We help you file your case on time and are prepared to represent you in negotiations and court proceedings.
You might face insurance companies, negligent drivers, and other parties that caused your pain and suffering. Call in the Strong Arm to fight for justice and recover compensation for you. Contact us today for a free case review.