How Long Do I Have To File A Personal Injury Negligence Lawsuit?

There is usually a legal deadline to file personal injury claims.  This deadline is typically referred to as the “statute of limitations” or “prescription” period.

The deadline to file lawsuits depends on several factors, including the type of claim asserted, the state where the action is filed, and the court where the action is filed.

For example, in Texas, personal injury negligence lawsuits must typically be filed within 2 years of the accident.

Extension of the Deadlines

In some cases, the statute of limitations can be extended or “tolled,” meaning you would have longer than the standard time period to file a claim.  Examples include:

  • discovery rule:  when a plaintiff did not initially know of the injury and could not have reasonably discovered it
  • fraud:  the defendant concealed its wrongdoing
  • disability:  when the plaintiff is a minor at the time of injury, or is of unsound mind
  • military service:  the plaintiff was actively serving in the military
  • death:  the statute of limitations is usually extended when a person dies
  • absence from state:  the limitations period is usually tolled during the time a defendant is out of state
  • misnomer:  when the wrong party is named accidentally but the correct party is served
  • estoppel:  when a defendant made representations that induced the claimant to delay filing suitrefiling:  a lawsuit was timely filed but dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, and the claimant diligently files in a different court

Contact Morrow & Sheppard Now to Preserve Your Legal Rights

Because of these deadlines, it is important that you contact Morrow & Sheppard as soon as possible so that we can protect your legal rights.  If you or a loved one has been injured, you are entitled to a 100% free and confidential consultation.  After your consultation, if choose to hire us, we do not get paid unless you win.

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Common Questions


Discovery Rule:  Willis v. Maverick, 760 S.W.2d 642, 644 (Tex.1988) (“[t]he discovery rule is the legal principle which, when applicable, provides that limitations run from the date the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered, in the exercise of reasonable care and diligence, the nature of the injury”).

Fraudulent Concealment:  Gaddis v. Smith, 417 S.W.2d 577, 579-580 (Tex. 1967) (“Texas Courts have not invariably ignored the inability to know of the existence of the cause of action in determining when such cause of action accrues. For example, a cause of action based on actionable fraud accrues when the fraud is discovered, or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have been discovered”).

Disability:  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001, § 16.022.

Military Service:  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001, § 16.022.

Death:  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.062.

Absence from State:  Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.063.

Misnomer:  Enserch Corp. v. Parker, 794 S.W.2d 2, 4-5 (Tex. 1990) (“Texas courts have recognized a distinction between misnomer and misidentification. If the plaintiff merely misnames the correct defendant (misnomer), limitations is tolled and a subsequent amendment of the petition relates back to the date of the original petition. If, however, the plaintiff is mistaken as to which of two defendants is the correct one and there is actually existing a corporation with the name of the erroneously named defendant (misidentification), then the plaintiff has sued the wrong party and limitations is not tolled”); Chilkewitz v. Hyson, 22 S.W.3d 825, 830 (Tex.1999) (“[i]n misidentification cases, limitations may be tolled when a plaintiff sues an incorrect entity if there are two separate but related entities that use a similar trade name and the correct entity had notice of the suit and was not misled or disadvantaged by the mistake”).

Estoppel:  Frank v. Bradshaw, 920 S.W.2d 699, 701 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1996, no writ) (holding statute of limitations could be tolled where the defendant’s insurance company paid for the damage to plaintiffs’ car, and the insurance adjuster told the plaintiffs that it would pay their medical bills when their personal injury protection funds ran out, and also specifically represented that there was “no time limit problem with the filing of the medical bills and the payment of their claims”).