What is a “Statute of Limitations”?

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, have been harmed by negligent healthcare, are fighting an insurance company, or had someone breach a contract with you, you may not know that there is a time limit for filing a legal claim. That’s right, even though you are a victim and are battling an extremely difficult situation, you still are bound by specific rules and deadlines.

Every state has what are called statutes of limitations for various legal claims. In general, these statutes run from one to five years, and vary depending on the nature of the claim, such as civil versus criminal, specific legal codes, etc. To help you understand your rights and the limitations of filing a legal claim, read on.

Texas Statutes of Limitations

Texas is one of the many states that has a general range of one to five years for statutes of limitations. A general breakdown of the type of case and statute of limitations includes:

• Personal Injury – Two years from the date of the injury. Note that there are some exceptions.
• Personal Injury Sex Crimes – Five years from the date of the incident
• Wrongful Death – Two years from the date of death
• Medical Malpractice – Two years from the date of the injury, or the date that the injury was identified (such as a retained medical object discovered years following an operation, or a birth injury leading to disability or developmental delays). Note that there are some exceptions.
• Products Liability – Two years from the date in which the injury occurred
• Breach of Contract – Four years is the general statute of limitations, though it should be noted that the individual nature of the contract and the alleged breach may alter that limitation
• Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Four years from the date harm occurred
• Fraud/Consumer Claims – Four years from the date harm occurred

Helpful Information about Statutes of Limitations

As mentioned before, every state has different laws, or codes, regarding statutes of limitations. It is also worth mentioning that there are differences between statutes of limitations for state cases versus those heard in federal courts. The best way to determine what statutes of limitations apply to your case is to speak to an attorney who specializes in the type of case you have (e.g., personal injury, business litigation, criminal law, etc.).

In addition to the general guidelines listed above, the team at Daic Law would also like to offer the following helpful information that may be useful to you as you prepare to initiate a legal claim:

• If you know what area of the law your case falls into, consult Texas legal code to review the actual laws. If you are unsure of what type of case you have, contact our office to learn more.
• Past court rulings, known as precedents, can affect the statute of limitations in some cases. That means that past rulings may determine exactly when the statute of limitations begins and ends for certain types of cases.
• If you have been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else (auto accident, medical malpractice, etc.), the statute of limitations may begin from the date you were injured, or may begin from a later date if the injury is not immediately noticed. For example, the court may decide that you “should” have known about the injury at a particular date (whether that was the date the incident occurred or not), and may decide that your statute of limitations began at a date other than the date you were harmed.

Get the Help you Need

If you think you have been harmed in any of the situations discussed here, it is important that you understand your legal rights, and the options that may be available to you. Contact Daic Law to discuss your case, and find out if you are entitled to pursue financial recovery for your injuries or losses.
At Daic Law, we understand how complicated legal matters can be, and we strive to help every client understand the legal process and move confidently toward a successful outcome. To learn more, call our office or fill out our online form.