The statute of limitations to file a claim for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) accident in Texas is outlined under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §16.003. You typically have two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Understanding the state’s statute of limitations is imperative to your case’s success. There are some exceptions to this timeframe.
For instance, if a minor child is injured in a car accident, they could be granted additional time from the date of their eighteenth birthday to take action. In addition, talking to a car accident lawyer about your case could help you understand your financial recovery options.
The Importance of Seeking Prompt Legal Action in DWI Accidents
Time passes more quickly than most people realize. You could lose out on the chance to pursue financial recovery if you put off filing your claim or lawsuit. Even if you have a strong case against the drunk driver who hurt you, your case could be thrown out if it is not filed in accordance with the state’s statute of limitations.
In addition to meeting Texas’s requirements, you also want to file a car accident claim early because certain pieces of evidence are time-sensitive.
Over time, witnesses’ memories of the accident could fade. Traffic camera footage could get deleted, and physical evidence may no longer be accessible. So documenting your accident early could ultimately improve your case’s outcome.
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You Should Report Your DWI Accident to Your Insurer Immediately
Insurance companies also have some time limits for claims. Many insurers expect you to contact them after an accident in a reasonable amount of time.
If you wait a year or two to contact an insurer, they may refuse to compensate you for your damages. This can make the process difficult for you. However, when you contact insurers in a timely manner, they may work to resolve your case with minimal complications.
About the Car Accident Claims Process
If you are wondering about the deadline for filing a car accident claim or lawsuit, you are probably also wondering about the car accident claims process.
The Claims Process Starts With Determining Liability
The financial recovery process begins with investigating who was responsible for your car accident. If a drunk driver caused your crash, the fault might be relatively easy to determine.
But, first, you need to collect evidence to prove that the driver who hit you was intoxicated at the time of the accident. A police report or conviction information could be used as evidence as well as statements from witnesses.
Insurers May Try to Deny Your Claim
Insurance adjusters conduct their own investigations to determine liability. As a result, there is a chance they could shift some of the blame onto you. When this happens, our legal team can perform an independent investigation to help counter an insurer’s determination of fault.
We can protect you from bad faith practices and fight for the compensation you deserve. We may call upon the help of experts, such as accident reconstructionists, to help gather evidence of another party’s negligence.
You Will Need to Present Evidence of Your Damages
Once you can prove fault, you also need to gather evidence to prove your damages. Again, your car accident attorney can help with evidence collection. Medical evidence helps prove injuries and medical expenses. Proof of lost wages, mental trauma, property damage, and other losses could also establish the cost of your expenses.
You Need to Report the DWI Accident to the Insurance Company
After you have all of your evidence, you can submit your claim to the liable insurance company. They may cut you a check to pay for your damages, but make sure they give you a fair offer. Unfortunately, some insurers do not pay car accident victims fairly, so a lawyer’s advice may be helpful.
We can assess any settlement offers to see if they would fairly compensate you. If you suffered severe injuries, you want to make sure they account for your projected future medical expenses. You may require ongoing rehabilitation, for example.
Remember, once you accept an offer from an insurer, you cannot seek additional compensation later on. We want to ensure you do not suffer further losses by leaving any money on the table. We can negotiate for fair compensation and file a lawsuit if an insurer refuses to pay what you deserve.
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You May Need to File a Car Accident Lawsuit
If the insurer does not agree to pay you for your damages, or they refuse to offer you a fair settlement, you can file a car accident lawsuit in civil court instead. Although the American Bar Association (ABA) notes that most personal injury cases do not make it to court, you do not have to represent yourself if yours does.
Instead, a lawyer can assist you with the car accident recovery process.
It Takes Time to Build a Case
Car accident cases can take longer than you might expect. A lawyer from our firm needs time to investigate your accident, gather evidence, and negotiate a settlement with insurers. None of these actions stalls the state-imposed deadline, though. So the clock starts counting down from the date of the crash.
If you lost a loved one due to their accident-related injuries, the statute of limitations begins counting down from the date of their passing. So give your case the time it deserves by starting as soon as possible.
It Takes Time to Assess Your Injuries
Another factor in your timeline is your medical recovery. It can take time for your doctor to assign a prognosis that details how long it will take to reach your maximum medical recovery. If you suffered serious injuries, you might need to make appointments with specialists and undergo a variety of diagnostic testing.
Each of these processes takes time, and we need to calculate your future medical expenses accurately. The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner we can get an idea of what you deserve going forward. This is just one more reason to start your case sooner rather than later.
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Learn More About Filing Your Case by Speaking With a Car Accident Lawyer
So back to your question: what is the statute of limitations to file a claim for a DWI accident in Texas? You now know that the filing deadline in Texas is two years, starting from the date of the accident. You also understand that you should not wait until that deadline is near before beginning the claims process.
If you are overwhelmed by the thought of filing a car accident claim, keep in mind that you do not have to do it on your own. A car accident attorney can help you file your claim, investigate your accident, gather evidence, and handle insurance negotiations. We take cases to court as needed, and we can fight for your rights while you focus on your wellbeing.
Call Loncar Lyon Jenkins or contact us online to receive a free case evaluation.