A statute of limitations is a deadline on when you can file charges against someone in a court of law. Because crimes vary in severity, there is typically a different policy for each individual offense. For car accidents and other personal injury charges, the statute of limitations in the state of Texas is two years.
If you have ever endured an injury that left you ailing for more than a couple of years, you may think it unreasonable to put a time limit on how that pain could manifest. However, the law has a few different reasons for imposing this restriction.
Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. That means that many people who witness them may already be unsure of exactly what they saw. When you combine uncertain eyewitness testimony with an extensive amount of time, faded memories make the account even less reliable.
To accurately retell the story of what happened, a judge or jury wants witnesses who feel confident in what they experienced. Any time longer than two years may be a challenge.
In addition to sketchy recall, evidence does not tend to age well. It can deteriorate over time or go missing. As more people interact with the scene of the accident, new details can contaminate the original ones. A car accident from over two years ago lacks physical proof, thereby negating the case altogether.
At the end of the day, the statute of limitations exists as a measure of fairness for those who may have caused the accident. Addressing the situation in a timely manner allows that person to deal with the consequences and move on.
If a car accident leaves you injured, and the other driver was at fault, it is important to file a lawsuit quickly once you determine it is necessary. Even if you are well within the two-year statute of limitations, earlier processing encourages more reliable testimony and stronger evidence to help your case.