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Understanding Texas Statutes of Limitations

In almost all areas of the law there are what are known as statutes of limitations. This is a way of saying that there is a fixed time limit on how long a specific law will apply. For example, in issues where murder has occurred, there is not a statute of limitations and someone can always be punished for the crime. Of course, there are also crimes of a much less serious manner that do have limitations during which time someone must file some sort of case.Texas Statute of Limitations

What happens if you don’t make the time limit? Essentially, you may lose your chance to file a lawsuit and obtain the outcome you want. The timeframe usually begins on the date of the accident, event, or crime. Once that timeframe ends, just as you might lose out on the right to file a claim or lawsuit, the person who has committed the crime or is liable can no longer be prosecuted or pursued for the matter.

The Texas Statutes of Limitations

When it is the Texas statutes of limitations in question, there are some very simple and straightforward guidelines.

Let’s consider the “civil” Texas statutes of limitations rather than the criminal:

  • Assault and battery cases can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring
  • Debt (per written contracts) can have claims filed within four years or the event occurring.
  • Debt (per spoken arrangement) can have claims filed within four years or the event occurring.
  • False imprisonment can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.
  • Fraud can have claims filed within four years or the event occurring.
  • Enforcement of court judgments can have claims filed within ten years or the event occurring.
  • Legal malpractice can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.
  • Libel can have claims filed within one year or the event occurring.
  • Medical malpractice can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.
  • Personal injury can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.
  • Product liability can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring (in some instances it is a 15 year statute).
  • Property damage can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.
  • Slander can have claims filed within one year or the event occurring.
  • Trespass can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.
  • Wrongful death can have claims filed within two years or the event occurring.

Keep in mind that these are the civil Texas statutes of limitations, meaning they are meant to do nothing more than establish liability and award compensation for loss, damages, injuries, and so on.

There are also caps on the amounts awarded per these various cases, and as a simple example, medical malpractice cases in Texas have financial caps on the sums of money that are awarded as damages (non-economic) like pain and suffering. However, because of the Texas statutes of limitations, the person who is pursuing those claims will have to build their case and file the lawsuit within the established Texas statutes of limitations.

This is why it is risky to enter into some sort of negotiations without legal assistance. For example, you may be seeking compensation for product liability and not working with an attorney. You may feel confident that the insurance company for the liable party or parties is going to offer you a reasonable settlement, and you wait months to hear from them. When you do, the amount is far too low for your needs. While waiting, you may have burned up a lot of time and even reached the end of the statute of limitations.

Working with an attorney from the start of any sort of case is always going to ensure timely filing of your lawsuits and claims, and some sort of practical plan to avoid losing out when the Texas limitations are reached.

Source

Lawyers.com. Texas Statutes of Limitations. 2015. http://research.lawyers.com/texas/texas-statutes-of-limitations.html

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