If you are in an accident that leaves you injured, contacting a personal injury lawyer in Navasota, TX or Rockdale, TX to discuss your legal options is likely the last thing on your mind. However, as lost wages and medical bills put you under financial strain, you may wonder if the window of opportunity for seeking compensation for your injuries has passed. Keep reading to find out if there is still time for you to file your personal injury claim.
How Soon Do I Need to File a Claim for a Personal Injury in Navasota, TX or Rockdale, TX?
In Texas, if you are injured due to the actions or carelessness of another individual, you have two years to file a personal injury claim. The countdown begins on the day you are injured, not the day you seek medical care or the first day of the calendar year.
For example, if you were injured in an automobile accident on February 1, 2022, you have until February 1, 2024, to file your claim. Occasionally, specific circumstances can impact the statute of limitations on your claim and give you more or less time to file. Statute of limitations is the legal term for the amount of time you have to file your claim.
Exceptions To the Rule
In Navasota or Rockdale, TX, certain situations fall outside the usual statute of limitations. However, sometimes it can be confusing to determine if your claim is an exception, so consulting a personal injury lawyer right away is critical.
The Discovery Rule
One of the most common exceptions to Texas’ statute of limitations is the discovery rule. This rule is only applicable to situations where the victim was injured but did not realize it immediately. Victims claiming this exception have two years from the date they discovered their injury. Some accidents do not cause readily apparent wounds, and this law is designed to protect individuals who do not realize they are injured after the incident.
Claims Involving Minors
If the person injured is a minor, the statute of limitations does not begin until they turn 18. Therefore, the injured person will have two years from their 18th birthday to file a personal injury claim, even if the injury occurred many years earlier.
Claims Involving Individuals With Physical or Mental Impairments
If the victim is mentally or physically impaired, and their condition prevented them from filing during the two years following the incident, they may be granted a filing extension. This exception protects impaired individuals by allowing them the opportunity to pursue justice even if it is outside the typical statute of limitations.
Claims Where the Defendant Committed Fraud
If the person at fault, also known as the defendant, committed fraud, the statute of limitations may be extended. As fraud involves tricking the victim, it is understandable that the victim might not realize the scope of the damage done to them by the other individual at the time of the accident.
Claims Where the Defendant’s Negligence Was Unknown
Sometimes, an individual will be injured due to another person’s negligence, but they won’t find out immediately. Determining who is to blame for accidents caused by negligence can be challenging for numerous reasons. Offering an extension to the time limit allows victims to find out who was responsible for their injury and file a claim for their medical expenses.
Negligence of a Government Agency or Employee
When a government agency or employee injures an individual, the victim must submit a notice letter with their claim to the responsible government unit within six months of injury. Filing a lawsuit against the government requires additional paperwork to be submitted with your claim. Since there is a small window where you can seek compensation, it is essential to work with a personal injury lawyer to ensure you submit everything you need before the deadline.
Is it Possible to File a Claim too Soon?
Take Your Time
Yes, it is possible to rush your filing and hurt your chances of receiving a fair settlement. While it is vital to ensure you don’t miss the deadline to file your claim, take care that you don’t file prematurely. If you file before the total severity of your injuries is known, you won’t receive the compensation you deserve. Some injuries are not discovered until weeks following the incident, or they may seem to be minor at first and develop into a severe issue.
Consider the Future
You’ll also want to wait long enough to know how much the injury will impact your life. If this injury is a constant factor in your life, you’ll want to make sure you request enough compensation to cover your medical bills in the future. It could also limit your ability to work, in which case you’ll need to request money to help compensate for future lost earnings.
Work With a Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced lawyer in Navasota, TX or Rockdale, TX, will ensure you make wise decisions regarding when to file your claim. Your lawyer will look at the facts of your accident, your diagnosis, and your projected recovery to determine the best time to file your claim and the amount of money to request. Working with a lawyer will also prevent you from missing any mandatory dates, as they will manage the filing of the personal injury claim for you.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Case?
If you are uncertain if your injury is worth pursuing compensation for, talking to a lawyer will benefit you. Whether your situation is eligible for a claim will be decided by multiple factors, which the lawyer will go over with you, allowing you to make an informed choice. Keep in mind that Texas requires the personal injury victim, also known as the claimant, to prove three things to win a personal injury case.
1. The Defendant was Negligent
For the defendant to be negligent, they must have behaved with a lower level of care than expected from a reasonable person and in a way that caused harm to another individual. Negligent behavior is careless and reckless behavior that shows little regard for the safety of others. For example, if the defendant was texting while driving and didn’t see a stop sign, then hit you, they have behaved negligently, as they were reckless in their decision to text while driving.
2. The Defendant Caused an Injury
You cannot file a claim simply because someone behaved negligently; their negligence must have caused specific injury or damage. The damage can be to your property, body, or mental state, but it must stem from the incident.
3. The Injury Caused Quantifiable Damages
To receive compensation for damage done to your property or person, you will have to be able to prove your loss. Medical treatments, medications, and lost wages must all be documented. In addition, if your injury is chronic, you’ll need your doctor to provide you with paperwork stating your estimated future healthcare costs from the injury.
Don’t allow the medical bills you accumulated because of another person’s negligence to put financial stress on you and your loved ones. Instead, ensure you file your claim within the Texas statute of limitations by talking to a lawyer today. Contact Brian C. Gutierrez, accident and injury lawyer, to start seeking the compensation you are owed.