How Long After Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

A car accident injury lawsuit begins when a person files a claim in court to seek compensation for their losses. A court will likely dismiss a case that is filed after the statute of limitations has expired. However, exceptions apply, which is why it is best to consult a legal expert.
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Being involved in a car crash can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. In the midst of dealing with the aftermath of the accident and potential damages, you may be wondering how long you have to file a claim for any injuries sustained in the accident. In Texas, the statute of limitations for most car accident claims is two years from the date of the incident, but there is a good reason you shouldn’t wait to file a claim.

The time frame for filing a car accident injury lawsuit sometimes varies depending on certain circumstances. An experienced Texas accident attorney can review your case and help determine whether your case falls under any exception to the two-year limitation rule. Contact our team today to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.

Key Takeaways

  • Under Texas statute of limitations, injured car accident victims have a two-year timeframe to file an injury lawsuit.
  • However, certain circumstances may lengthen or shorten the applicable time period.
  • An experienced Texas car accident lawyer can determine how the statute of limitations applies to your case and guide you through the legal process.

What is Considered an Injury in a Car Accident?

An injury in the context of a car accident lawsuit refers to the losses suffered due to the accident. Often, physical injuries vary in terms of severity, ranging from minor bruises to life-altering conditions. A car accident injury lawsuit can be a vital step toward securing compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and other expenses related to your recovery. The most common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Neck injuries
  • Concussions
  • Brain injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations and bruises
  • Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Soft tissue injuries

The impact of these injuries can extend beyond immediate physical pain, and may extend to long-term health issues, emotional distress, and financial strain due to medical expenses and lost wages. A personal injury claim can be a crucial step in seeking compensation to manage the losses arising out of these injuries.

Minor Car Accident Injuries

Minor car accident injuries, though seemingly insignificant at first glance, should not be overlooked. Minor injuries include headaches, wrist pain, small cuts, and bruises. Sometimes minor car accident injuries lead to more serious conditions if not addressed promptly. For instance, what starts as a minor headache could indicate a concussion. Similarly, wrist pain could signal a sprain or even a fracture that, if left untreated, could worsen over time. Therefore, always seek medical attention immediately after a car accident to ensure your injuries do not escalate into more significant health concerns.

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Car Accident Injury Law

Car accident injury law is centered around the principle of negligence. When filing a personal injury lawsuit, it’s crucial to look into four key elements:

  • Did the party causing the accident owe you a duty of care?
  • Did such party breach their duty of care and cause you harm?
  • Was the violation the direct and proximate cause of your injuries?
  • If so, what are the damages you can seek after being harmed in a car accident?

A duty of care is something we owe to each other while driving on the road. Cause-in-fact means showing that the accident wouldn’t have happened without the defendant’s action or inaction. Proximate cause involves proving that the injuries sustained were a foreseeable result of the accident. All four elements are vital in determining fault, which is essential for any injury claim.

The statute of limitations is another important factor in car accident injury law. It helps maintain fairness in the legal process by ensuring that claims for damages due to road accidents are made while evidence is still fresh and reliable.

How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury in Texas?

Under § 16.003 of the Civil Practice & Remedies Code, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is two years from the day the cause of action accrues. The “cause of action” refers to the moment at which the injured party has the right to initiate legal proceedings, which is typically the date of the accident itself. This timeframe is crucial; it dictates the period within which you can legally seek compensation for injuries sustained due to another’s negligence.

The two-year limitation applies in cases of wrongful death resulting from a car accident. However, the timeline starts from the date of the individual’s death, which may not necessarily coincide with the date of the accident. This distinction is important as it may provide the decedent’s family or estate additional time to consider legal action for wrongful death claims.

It is important to understand and adhere to these time constraints so you may preserve your right to seek justice and compensation through our state’s legal system. If you fail to file a lawsuit within this period, you may lose your right to claim damages for your injuries.

Exceptions to the Applicable Statute of Limitations in Texas for Car Accident Lawsuits

While the law imposes a two-year statute of limitations for filing car accident injury lawsuits, there are exceptions to the rule:

  • Mental Incapacitation: If the victim is mentally incapacitated (e.g., in a coma or suffering from a condition that impairs their ability to make legal decisions), the statute of limitations clock starts after the incapacitation ends.
  • Defendant’s Absence: The statute of limitations is paused in certain cases where the defendant becomes unavailable.
  • Minor Victims: For victims under the age of 18, the two-year statute of limitations starts on their 18th birthday, thereby giving them time until their 20th birthday to file a lawsuit.
  • Government Employees/entities: Under the Texas Tort Claims Act § 101.021, a government unit can be held liable if the employee was acting within their work scope and would otherwise be liable as a private individual. However, victims must act swiftly as § 101.101 mandates a shorter timeframe for filing a claim. The notice must detail the claimed damages, accident time/location, and a description of the incident. Local governments may impose stricter deadlines, such as Houston’s 90-day and Austin’s 45-day limits.

Given these complexities, you should consult with an experienced attorney soon after your car accident to begin the process. Needless to say, it takes time to prepare legal documents. A skilled car accident lawyer understands the benefits of timely claims and will conduct their due diligence while serving citations to the opposing party so your case is not dismissed.

“Although someone has two years to timely file their claim, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident so that the process of gathering all of the necessary information can begin and so that there is no gap in medical treatment. The last thing that should happen is your lawyer scrambling to gather the facts of the case just before the deadline to file. We don’t let that happen.” — Founding Partner Kevin L. Edwards

What Happens if the Statute of Limitations Expires?

A court will likely dismiss a case that is filed after the statute of limitations has expired. If your case falls under the exceptions to the two-year period, then you will need to explain the situation that permits late filing. However, exceptions are not always possible or properly explained, which is why it is best to consult an experienced legal professional who understands the procedure and can do things the right way.

How Do I Claim For a Car Accident Injury?

To initiate a claim for a car accident injury, the first step is to report the accident to the local police who can prepare an accident report with details of the incident. Following the accident, you should seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries and properly document all diagnostic reports, other medical reports, doctor recommendations, insurance papers, and medical bills. You may also want to file a claim with your insurance provider. However, before discussing the accident details with an insurance adjuster, it is a good idea to speak to a car accident attorney who can help you assess if you have a valid claim, and ensure your rights are protected.

What Happens When Someone Claims Injury in a Car Accident?

A car accident injury lawsuit begins when a person files a claim in court to seek compensation for their losses. If you find yourself on the receiving end of an injury lawsuit and believe the claimant was wholly or partially responsible for the accident and your resulting injuries, you can file a counterclaim. In Texas, as long as you can prove that you were less than 51% at fault for the accident, you can potentially recover damages.

This aspect of comparative negligence is where having a skilled car accident attorney becomes crucial. They can assist in gathering the necessary evidence and crafting a compelling argument that highlights your side of the story and helps you get the compensation you need after a car wreck.

How Long Does A Car Accident Claim Take?

The duration of a car accident injury claim can vary significantly, influenced by factors like the complexity of the case, the extent of injuries sustained, and the willingness of involved parties to settle or go to trial. It is easier to reach a settlement when there is clear liability or well-defined losses. However, disputes over fault or amount of damages can prolong the process. Additionally, if the case goes to trial, the timeline extends further due to court schedules and legal procedures.

How Much Is My Car Accident Injury Worth?

The value of a car accident injury claim hinges on the severity of the injuries, medical expenses incurred and anticipated, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, long-term emotional trauma, and more. Additionally, the circumstances of the accident can also impact settlement amounts. For example, a case involving a catastrophic injury resulting in sky-high medical bills, therapeutic treatments, loss of earning potential, disability, and substantial pain and suffering, is likely to yield a higher settlement to cover for such expenses, compared to a claim involving minor injuries.

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Why Hire an Attorney For a Car Accident?

Hiring an attorney for a car accident can significantly increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement, whether you intend to settle out-of-court or go to trial. Personal injury attorneys are trained to pick up legal nuances from the facts and evidence surrounding the case, and leverage their knowledge and experience to build strong legal arguments. They are also adept at handling negotiations with multiple parties and figuring out the best possible trial strategies.

If you are planning to hire an attorney, you should opt for a law firm that specializes in car accidents in Texas. A local lawyer understands how things work in Texas and can be the difference between a minimum payout and getting a favorable settlement/verdict.

Car Accident Injury Lawyer Near Me

For those in need of a car accident injury lawyer in Texas, our firm is conveniently located in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington. In Dallas, you can find us at 1341 W. Mockingbird Ln., Ste. 580W, just a short distance from Dallas Love Field Airport, making it easily accessible for clients flying in or out of the city. Our Fort Worth office is located in La Gran Plaza at 4200 South Fwy, Ste. 2335, a vibrant shopping and cultural hub. For those closer to Arlington, our office at 1600 E. Pioneer Pkwy., Ste. 530 is located next to Ben Thanh Plaza and Central Market.

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How Long After Car Accident Can You Claim Injury: FAQs

1. What are minor injuries in a car accident?

Minor injuries can mean cuts, bruises, strains, aches, and sprains. While these may not seem severe, they can still lead to complications if not treated properly.

2. What should I do after a car crash?

If you or someone around you is in danger, please call 911 ASAP.

Immediately following a car crash, you should first ensure the safety of all parties involved and report the accident to the local police. Next, you may want to document the scene with photos and gather witness information, if possible. Then, seek medical attention even if injuries seem minor to ensure they are properly diagnosed and treated. Whenever possible, you should contact a car accident lawyer to help coordinate with medical providers, insurance agents, or the opposite parties.

3. How long should you rest after a car accident?

The rest period after a car accident depends on the severity of injuries and medical advice from a qualified doctor. Do not underestimate car accident injuries and follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations to ensure a proper recovery.

4. How long after an accident can injuries show up?

Some injuries, like whiplash, concussions, or internal bleeding, may not become apparent until several hours or days after the car crash. It’s crucial to monitor your health closely following an accident and seek medical attention if new symptoms develop or car accident symptoms persist despite help. You should also get a second opinion if you believe your injuries are more severe than assessed by an ER doctor.

5. Should I get a car accident lawyer for minor injuries?

Yes, even for minor injuries, you can consult a car accident lawyer for legal advice. A lawyer can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options. Minor injuries can sometimes develop into more serious conditions, so contacting a lawyer early can help kickstart the legal process while your medical diagnosis continues.

6. How to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer?

While it’s possible to settle a car accident claim without a lawyer, it’s generally not recommended. This is because you may not understand all aspects of the law or pick up on the opposing party’s tactics, and may end up receiving less compensation than you deserve. A lawyer can effectively negotiate on your behalf and work to secure a fair settlement.

7. Can a Texas personal injury lawyer help me file an auto insurance claim?

Yes, a Texas personal injury lawyer can help file an auto insurance claim. They understand how car insurance works and can communicate with insurers on your behalf. A car accident attorney is skilled in gathering necessary evidence and presenting your case in the most favorable light, so you are fairly compensated for your losses.

Call Our Car Accident Lawyers For a Free and Confidential Consultation

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Texas and are unsure about your next steps, we’re here to help. Our experienced car accident lawyers offer free, confidential consultations to discuss your situation in detail. We’ll provide you with personalized advice and outline the best course of action to help you get paid what you deserve. Contact ustoday to schedule your consultation.

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