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Understanding How Long You Have to File an Injury Claim After a Car Accident

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In different states, you have varying amounts of time during which you can file an injury claim after an accident. That’s why you need to do some quick research following a vehicular collision. You don’t want too much time to elapse because, after that, you’ll have to pay for your medical bills yourself, even if it was the other driver’s fault.

Some factors can come into play that can further complicate matters, though. We’ll talk about some of those right now.

What’s the Standard Amount of Time That You Have?

Let’s say that you’re in Texas when you get in your accident. You’re sure that the other driver made a mistake, so the liability should be theirs. Generally, you have two years from the accident date to file your injury claim.  

Mark that date on the calendar. Presumably, you’ll have all kinds of things to worry about, like repairing your vehicle and talking to your insurance provider. You might need to speak to a lawyer as well if you feel like you’ll need to bring a suit against the other driver.

If you need to file an injury claim, though, make sure you do it before two years have elapsed.

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What About if a Government Employee Injures You?

Now, let’s talk about some times you’ll face a different timeframe during which you’ll have to file. 

Perhaps a government employee injured you, or the car crash happened while you were on government property. If so, you can scrap that two-year period during which you could typically file your injury claim.

Instead, you have only six months to file. That’s much less time, so you’ll need to act fast to determine your injuries and figure out whether the accident caused them. If you can’t file by that deadline, a court might dismiss your case entirely.

What if the Responsible Party Leaves the State?

Maybe your crash takes place in Texas, but the person who hit you was driving through the state on their way back from vacation. They might be halfway across the country within days of the accident.

If that happens, there’s a Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Section that will be in your favor. It contends that the time the person leaves the state may not count toward the two years during which you must file your injury claim.

If you’re in this situation, you’ll likely want to hire a lawyer since these cases can get technical in a hurry.

The Victim’s Mental Competency

The victim’s mental competency might be an issue with these cases. Let’s say that the injured party is not of sound mind when the accident occurs. That can effectively stop the two-year clock during which you can file.

The other driver might call in a mental health professional to determine if the victim is of sound mind after the accident. If they are not, such as if they’re in a coma, for instance, that can pause the clock. Once they come out of that coma, the clock will resume, assuming they’re now of sound mind to decide whether to file an injury claim or not.

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Age-Restricted Exemptions

Certain age-restricted exemptions can come into play in these cases. For example, let’s say the victim that the car crash injury is a minor under Texas law, which is to say that they are under 18. In some instances, the two-year clock might stop until the minor reaches the legal age.

Once the minor reaches 18, they are an adult, and they can legally decide whether to file an injury claim on their behalf. However, in the meantime, a legal guardian or parent can do it for them if they feel they have just cause to do so.

As you can see, these cases can assume some complexity in a hurry, depending on the crash details. If you’re in Texas and get in one of these accidents, it’s definitely going to be in your best interest to locate a lawyer to help you more times than not. If you try to navigate the laws on your own, you might miss out on your chance to hold the other driver liable, even if what happened was clearly their fault.

It might not seem fair sometimes that limitation statutes exist, but they do so because memories fade and evidence erodes. That’s why you should have a running clock, during which time you can still file fairly.