Each year, thousands of people are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents throughout Texas. Generally, injured victims have up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for their damages. However, there are exceptions to the rule for how long you have to file a car accident claim in Texas.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims

The statute of limitations for most car accident claims in Texas is two years from the accident date. If you do not file the lawsuit before the deadline expires, the court dismisses the lawsuit as a time-barred action. 

The state of limitations begins on the date of the car crash. It does not begin from the date an insurance company denies your claim. Therefore, it is wise to talk with a car accident lawyer if an insurance company refuses to process your insurance claim or delays your claim. 

The statute of limitations goes by a calendar year. Therefore, the deadline to file a lawsuit is the same date two years following the accident, regardless of whether the period includes a leap year. However, if the date falls on a weekend or holiday, you have until the following business day to file the lawsuit. 

There is an exception to the general rule. If the car accident causes a wrongful death, the deadline for filing a lawsuit begins on the date the person dies, which may or may not be the same date as the crash.

Tolling the Statute of Limitation for Car Accident Claims in Texas

There could be cases where the deadline to file a car accident claim is tolled or paused. Reasons the statute of limitations could be paused include:


Minors do not have the capacity to file a lawsuit on their own behalf. Therefore, if the accident victim is under 18 years old, the statute of limitations is paused until their 18th birthday. The minor would have two years from their 18th birthday to file the lawsuit.

However, that does not prevent a parent or legal guardian from filing a personal injury claim or a lawsuit on the child’s behalf before they are 18 years old.

Death of the At-Fault Party

If the person who caused the car crash dies before a lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations is paused for one year or until a personal representative is appointed for the person’s estate.

Mental Disability 

As long as a person is mentally disabled, the deadline to file a claim does not apply. However, the person must have been mentally disabled before the car crash. If the car accident caused the disability, the two-year deadline to file a claim applies.

Leaving Texas

If the person who caused the car accident leaves Texas, the statute of limitation pauses while the person remains out of the state.

Car Accident Claims Against Government Entities

It is important to note that the deadline for filing claims against a government entity for a car accident is shorter. The Texas Tort Claims Act requires you to provide notice of your claim to the correct government entity within six months from the accident date. Failing to provide proper notice could prevent you from pursuing a claim or lawsuit.

Furthermore, some local governments have enacted much shorter deadlines for filing claims. For example, you have just 90 days to file a notice of claim in Houston if your car crash involves a municipal government entity. 

You should immediately contact a Houston personal injury lawyer if your accident involves a government entity. Even if you believe the time to file a claim has passed, talk with a lawyer during a free consultation to determine if there are circumstances that could have extended the time to file a government tort claim.

A lawyer calculates the deadline to file a car accident claim based on the facts of your case. Knowing the deadline for filing car accident claims is essential to protect your right to compensation for damages.

However, prompt action also helps you prove your case. Evidence can disappear or be destroyed the longer you wait to pursue a claim. You could lose valuable evidence needed to prove the other driver is liable for damages. 

Also, most claims for motor vehicle accidents settle without filing a lawsuit. Therefore, the sooner you contact a lawyer about your case, the sooner the attorney can begin negotiating a settlement for your claim. 

Rushing to settlement can reduce the amount of money you receive for your damages. By acting promptly to pursue your car accident claim, you have time to weigh all options and take steps to give you the best chance of receiving maximum compensation for your claim. 

Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help

For more information, contact the Houston car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.

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Houston, TX 77098
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