Texas parents may bring a lawsuit on behalf of their minor children. The statute of limitations for filing is two years from the date of the accident or injury. So what happens when parents do not file within this time-frame? Does this mean that the child is forever barred from recovery? The answer is no, because children can bring a lawsuit later on their own once they reach adulthood.
Rules for Filing a Lawsuit
Once a child turns 18, he or she then has two years in which to file for a childhood injury, regardless of when it occurred. That means that the new statute of limitations would then be one day before his or her 20th birthday. There are still some rules that must be followed, including:
- Claim must not already have been filed
- There has been no previous settlement on the matter
- A valid legal remedy must exist under law
- The child must be competent enough to bring a lawsuit
Adults who are filing for childhood injuries can face significant challenges when it comes to collecting the evidence needed to present a case in court. This is especially true if it has been some time since the accident, as memories tend to fade over time. Medical records could also be difficult to obtain, and witnesses might not be easy to locate. If the accident happened at a business, there’s a chance that the company no longer exists.
The first thing an adult filer should do is to find out as much information about the accident as possible by talking with family members and friends. Some things to ask include:
- Where and when the accident happened
- Proximate cause
- Type(s) of injuries sustained
- What if any medical treatment was given
- How the accident impacted the victim’s life as well as that of the family
- Approximate amount of loss
- Whether or not the effects are still ongoing
- Names and contact numbers of potential witnesses
The Decision to File
Adults who file for childhood injuries will still need to show they were injured, and that their injury was due to negligence on the part of another. Just because a victim did not receive compensation as a child does not mean that he or she cannot obtain relief as an adult. Many times, these cases can be settled without a lawsuit, as responsible parties are often eager to put the past behind them once and for all.
The Sooner You File, the Better
You may have 2 years after your child turns 18 to file a lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean that you should wait. The sooner you file your suit, the more likely you are to win your case because evidence tends to disappear. However, even those with children injured 5 or 10 years ago should consider filing. Regardless of the circumstances, the best think you can do is sit down with a qualified lawyer to discuss your case. Call 713.766.5400 today to schedule your free case evaluation.
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