What is the statute of limitations in Texas and what happens if the statute of limitations runs out?
There is no actual “statute of limitations” passed by the Texas legislature that gives the limitations period for all suits. The phrase refers to the limited period of time to bring a suit to court, whether it is a divorce, personal injury, employment, or even criminal suit. Different types of suits have different limitations periods under the law. The period of time to bring a suit for a particular event is the limitations period. Once limitations runs out you generally cannot bring suit for that event. Statute of limitations periods are extremely important to Texas employment and divorce lawyers.
The most common use of limitations in pop culture is in those criminal law and police shows like CSI or Law & Order. If you commit a crime and the limitations runs before you are charged with an offense related to your action then you cannot be tried for that crime. It’s one of those “technicalities” that allows criminals to get away with crimes on those shows. In civil cases the statute of limitations works the same way. If you are in a car accident, for example, and you decide to sue the other driver for damages, in Texas you generally have two years to file suit. Once that two years ends you generally cannot file suit for anything related to that car accident.
When limitations period begins to run in Texas
Determining when limitations begins can sometimes be a complex issue. In the car accident, you may have two years to file suit but you may not be aware of the extent of your injuries until possibly months or years later. The physical damage to your car is generally very obvious so usually it is difficult to prove the limitations period began any time later than the day of the accident.
But you may have a bodily injury that was slight but over time has become aggravated through the course of normal activities, such as work or playing with your kids. You may not become aware of the seriousness of the injury until months later. So there might be a question of whether limitations for the bodily injury began on the date of the accident or later when you discovered the injury. Figuring out that issue is very fact specific.
Sometimes the initial event may be less obvious. This is especially true in employment cases. Often an employee will not know the employer was discriminating against them or underpaying them until months down the line. In these cases the limitations period may not begin until the employee learns about the problem or should have learned about the problem. Usually employers do not clearly communicate they are doing something improper or illegal. Again, this is very fact specific. Hiring an employment lawyer is one of the best ways to ensure the proper limitations period is identified for your potential claims.
Texas statute of limitations
For most lawsuits in Texas the limitations period is between two and four years; but that is not always the case. Some suits may have longer limitations periods and some may have very short periods. In many employment-related suits you must act within as little as 180 days. There are few rare exceptions to the statute of limitations that allows you to still sue even if limitations runs. Like everything else with the statute of limitations, it is fact specific.
If you believe you have a possible lawsuit it is important to think about what will make it “right”. There may be settlement options or administrative remedies through the government or other organizations; however, a lawsuit may be the necessary path. If you sit on your hands for too long you may not be able to recover at all. Once the threat of a possible lawsuit goes away it is extremely difficult to procure a settlement.
Employment lawyers in Dallas, Texas and Fort Worth, Texas
Employment lawyers in Dallas, Texas and Fort Worth, Texas represent employees in a range of employment law issues. These include employment discrimination, overtime pay, wrongful termination, FMLA, tip pooling violations and minimum wage violations. If you believe your employer violated your employee rights then you should contact employment lawyers ASAP. Many employment law cases require complex procedures to advance employee claims. Employment lawyers in Texas know how to maneuver these procedures to fight for your claims.