Injury Law

How Long Do You Have To File An Auto Accident Claim?

Car Accident

When you are involved in a car accident in Texas, you have a limited amount of time to file an auto accident claim. The “statute of limitations” is the legal term for the period you have after an accident to make a claim for any injuries or damages that you sustained. If you wait too long, you might not be eligible to collect for any damages or injuries that you sustain.

In auto accident law, Texas is an at-fault state. That means when you are in a car collision, the person who is liable to pay for damages and injuries is determined by who is at fault or negligent. A person is found negligent if they either did something to cause the accident, or if they failed to do something — the failure of which was the direct cause of the auto accident.

If you want to file a claim against an at-fault driver, there are some laws that you need to understand related to timelines and the statutes of limitations. The Texas statute of limitations for filing an auto accident claim is two years from the date of the accident. That means that once you are in an accident, the clock begins ticking and you have to make your claim within two years from that date, or you will lose your eligibility to be fairly compensated.

Why you should file a claim immediately

Although you have two years to file, waiting a long time to file a claim after the accident may be detrimental to your case. Over time, your memories begin to cloud, and proving your case might become more difficult. There are times when injuries take time to surface, but if you don’t address them immediately, it can be hard to prove causation and to hold the other drive liable for your injuries. To ensure that you have all the information necessary to file in time, you should find an auto accident lawyer immediately; an attorney can help keep you on track and ensure you are taking the right steps to prove your case.

Why you need to seek emergency medical care

Someone might wait to make a claim because they don’t think they are injured badly and don’t seek medical treatment. That is a huge mistake. If you think that you are injured even the slightest bit in an auto accident, you should seek medical care immediately. Some auto accident injuries aren’t felt or serious at first. But as time progresses, they become more serious. But if you aren’t able to prove that the injuries were related to the auto accident itself, then you are going to have a hard time recovering for damages.

Even if you don’t file a claim immediately, you will want to keep all records and documents about your injuries. Your personal injury lawyer will need documentation to prove that the injuries and damages you are claiming are real, which will require physicians notes and treatment. If you don’t get the treatment necessary, it is possible for the defendant to be found not liable due to your obligation to mitigate damages.

The plaintiff in any auto accident case has the obligation to mitigate damages, meaning they have the responsibility of reducing the severity of their injuries by seeking the necessary care and treatment. If you don’t see a doctor or you ignore an injury that becomes worse, if you try to sue later you might not be able to. Not only will you have a hard time showing causation, but you also run the risk of breaching your duty to mitigate your injuries.

Texas law allows those involved in auto accidents two years from the date of the accident to file a claim against the at-fault driver. But waiting isn’t a good tactic to help you win your case. If you are going to wait to file a claim, at the very least don’t delay getting the treatment you need and keep records and documents of everything, or you will have a very hard time proving your case in court. The best way to file a claim an accident attorneys immediately and letting them handle the case for you.

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Deborah Ferguson is a freelance journalist and writer.

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