If someone else’s negligence led to you suffering an injury that leaves you missing work and facing significant medical bills, you may be wondering, how long do I have to file a personal injury claim? In Texas and West Virginia, the majority of personal injury cases give the victim a two-year deadline to start the proceedings.
However, exceptions to these deadlines do exist. If you are uncertain if you are going to fit within the deadline for starting a personal injury lawsuit, you may want to contact a personal injury attorney for clarification.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
You are eligible to file a personal injury claim when the negligence of someone else put you in the situation where you suffered the injuries. Some examples of situations that commonly lead to personal injury cases include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall on someone else’s property
- Workplace accident
- Defective products
- Nursing home negligence or abuse
In a personal injury case, you are eligible to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, medical bills, and reduction in quality of life.
For a free legal consultation, call (972) 535-6377
Meeting the Statute of Limitations in Texas
After suffering an injury at the hands of another person in the state, the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 says that victims have up to two years to begin the process of filing a personal injury claim in the majority of cases. The countdown for the two-year window begins at the time that the accident and injury occurred.
This deadline applies to either the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit or of beginning negotiations with the insurance company for the responsible party. If you do not notify the insurer about your injuries within the two years, you may forfeit your right to seek damages.
Exceptions to the Deadline in Texas
There are a couple of exceptions to the two-year deadline for starting a personal injury case in Texas, including:
- A legal disability: where if the victim in the case is less than 18 years old or is not mentally competent at the time he or she suffered the injuries, the two-year deadline clock does not start until the victim reaches 18 or is declared competent.
- Plaintiff leaves the state: where if the person who was responsible for your accident moves out of the state after the accident occurs and before you can file your personal injury lawsuit, the two-year window to begin the proceedings is put on pause until the plaintiff returns to Texas.
Meeting the Statute of Limitations in West Virginia
For a personal injury case in West Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years, according to WV Code § 55-2-12.
The two-year clock begins at the time of the injury or at the time that the victim reasonably should have discovered the injury. This does give the victim a little bit of time regarding the deadline if the injury was discovered well after the accident occurred.
An exception that is allowed in West Virginia is if the victim in the personal injury case is less than 18 years old at the time of the injury. His or her two-year window would only start on the child’s 18th birthday. A personal injury attorney can help you determine if you qualify for any exception.
What if I Miss the Filing Deadline?
If you miss the deadline in your state for starting the process, and if you do not fit under any of the exceptions listed in state law, you probably will give up your right to seek damages. Should you attempt to file a personal injury lawsuit outside of the deadline, the court almost certainly will throw it out and deny your claim, even if the other party was clearly at fault.
Why Is There a Deadline for Starting the Process?
By setting a deadline, states are trying to protect defendants from being subjected to a lawsuit several years or even a few decades after the original injury occurred.
If several years had passed since the time of the injury, it would make collecting facts in the case extremely difficult, meaning it could be almost impossible for a judge to make a fair ruling.
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Contact the Office of a Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More Today
If you suffered an injury at the hands of another person, who was behaving in a negligent manner or who injured you on purpose, you may be wondering, how long do I have to file a personal injury claim? It is important to understand the exact amount of time you have to start the process of filing a claim.
For help with determining whether you fit within the statute of limitations for your particular case, consider contacting Underwood Law Office. During a free review of your case, our legal team can give you advice on the best way to proceed regarding your claim.
Call us today at (972) 535-6377 today for your free consultation.
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