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How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury?

Regardless of its severity, a car accident can be an extremely traumatic event. If you’ve been seriously injured in a collision, the most important thing to focus on during this difficult time is your recovery. But it’s also crucial to know your rights — and how you can protect those rights by making educated decisions.

This includes claiming your injury in a timely manner, so that you can receive the fair compensation for your losses, financial and otherwise, that you deserve. But if you’re still dealing with healing from your injuries, or if you’re not sure yet what injuries or expenses you’ll need to recover compensation for, should you file a claim now? And how long can you legally wait? We address these questions below.

The Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

After the overwhelming experience of a traffic accident, focusing on healing from your injuries should be your top priority, while you enlist the help of a Texas car accident attorney to help recover compensation for your losses. Some time may have to pass before you can truly understand the extent of your injuries, both physical and psychological. Even seemingly minor injuries can last for weeks or even months after an accident before you’re able to determine their impact on your life. Severe injuries may require ongoing medical treatment and could even have lifelong repercussions.

Still, when it comes to car accidents, there is a statute of limitations — a window of time in which you must file a claim to seek compensation for your damages. The limitation period for a personal injury claim, which includes motor vehicle accidents, is three years, according to Section 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980). This three years may begin the date of the car accident or the date you discovered that your injuries were caused by the accident. There are some exceptions to the three-year limitation, including:

  • Claiming compensation for a child. Children with sustained injuries can claim compensation up until their 21st birthday. In this case, the three-year limitation still applies, but the clock doesn’t start ticking until they’re eighteen years old and a legal adult. However, parents are able to claim recovery on behalf of their children within a three-year window, starting from the date of the accident or the date that the injuries were shown to be a result.

  • Claiming compensation with diminished mental capacity. For an individual who has diminished mental capacity at the time of the accident, there is no statute of limitations. However, if the injured person was receiving treatment under the Mental Health Act of 1983 at the time of the accident, the three-year time limit would apply, although it wouldn’t start until the date the individual was discharged.

  • Claiming on behalf of someone who died during the three-year time limit. If a loved one passed away before the statute of limitations ran out, the executor of their estate has three years from the date of their death to file a claim on their behalf.

How Can a Texas Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

A car accident — especially one that results in serious injuries — can change your life. When you partner with a car accident lawyer, you’ll have a dedicated partner at your side throughout the entire legal process. They will help you understand your rights, communicate with insurance companies and defendant lawyers on your behalf, and act as trusted counsel for your financial concerns. They can also help you understand the average lawsuit for a car accident and the average length of a car accident settlement, so you know what to expect from the legal process.

Texas Car Accident Attorneys Who Care About Your Recovery

Here at the Lopez Law Group, our Texas car accident lawyers proudly serve the Weslaco, Tyler, Spring, Mission, McAllen, Laredo, Houston, Edinburg, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, and Harlingen areas. When our experienced team takes on your case, we fight hard for the settlement you deserve. Contact us online or call +1 (956) 968-7800 for a free consultation to discuss your accident — we’ll advocate for your legal rights so that you can focus on getting your life back on track.