Our law firm receives many phone calls from people who are owed money or believe that they have a claim against another person or company. Approximately 1 out of every 6 of those phone calls are from people who have, unfortunately waited too long to file a lawsuit to seek damages. We have an ethical obligation to “shoot straight” with those people, and we do so, by informing them they’ve waited too long to take action.
What is the Statute of Limitations?
Texas, like all states has a statute of limitations which defines the time period in which a lawsuit must be filed, as measured from the time of the incident leading to the dispute. After that time period, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in a Texas state court to litigate the dispute. The reasoning behind this statute is to help make sure that meritorious lawsuits are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.
How does this statute work?
There are factors to consider. The period for someone to file a lawsuit varies based on the type of claim he or she may have against another party. Generally, the period starts to run when a person suffers a loss or is injured. (See the chart below).
Can this period be extended?
Perhaps. It is understandable that a person is initially unable to discover that they have been damaged. The law appreciates that reality and in certain circumstances, the court decides that fairness requires the statute of limitations to be extended for a period of time. Determining the length of that time is quite involved, and the injured person should immediately contact an attorney to discuss the time frame.
What are the time periods for my case?
Please refer to the below chart.
Texas Statute of Limitations*
|Injury to personal property||2 years|
|Intentional torts||1 year|
|Medical malpractice||2 years from date of injury|
|Minors||begins on date of 18th birthday|
|Open accounts for debt collections||4 years|
|Oral agreements||4 years|
|Personal injury||2 years from date of injury|
|Product liability||2 years|
|Promissory notes||4 years|
|Oil & gas – securities “scams”||3 years from the sale|
|Written contracts||4 years|
|Wrongful death||2 years from date of death|
*The statute of limitations laws presented are strictly provided to you “as-is.” While we believe that the legal information is accurate as of the date created, we cannot and do not provide any guarantee, analysis or conclusions. The law may have changed since this article was published. The only way to ensure that the statute of limitations law you are reading is up to date and applies to your specific issue, is to consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Texas.
Mark A. Alexander
5080 Spectrum Suite 850
Addison, Texas 75001