The statute of limitations for personal injuries—that is, how long you have to file a construction accident claim in Texas—is two years. You can read more about this law at Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003.
Failure to file your claim within these two years could mean you permanently give up any and all rights to compensation for this accident.
What Is a Statute of Limitations and How Soon Should You Speak to a Lawyer?
A statute of limitations is a law that gives accident (or crime) victims a deadline for taking legal action against whoever hurt them. For most injury cases in Texas, including those caused by construction accidents, the deadline is two years. While this seems like a long time, this period can pass quickly and leave you without options for financial recovery.
For example, say a worker falls from a ladder that causes a spinal cord injury. Their doctor says it will take six months to complete treatment. The injured worker contacts a lawyer right away. Incorrectly, the lawyer tells them to wait until they have completed treatment to file a lawsuit because they will finish treatment well within the two-year deadline. The lawyer’s reasoning is that they need an accurate picture of the extent of their medical needs before they can file.
As treatment continues for months or years, the injured person discovers they will never reach a full recovery and will suffer from a long-term disability. By the time they finally see a lawyer who can help them pursue compensation, there isn’t enough time to gather evidence and submit a case. For reasons like these, it’s beneficial to see a lawyer early. They can build your case at the same time you are receiving treatment.
Wrongful Death and the Statute of Limitations
When a worker passes away (or expects to pass away soon) from a construction accident injury, the rules for when you can file a lawsuit differ slightly. For example:
- If the injured worker does not pass away immediately, they can file a lawsuit within the two-year deadline. After they pass away, their lawyer can help the worker’s surviving family members turn that personal injury case into a wrongful death case.
- If the injured worker passed away before they could file a case, their family has two years from the date of the loved one’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- If the family waits more than two years to file a case, they may not be eligible for any compensation.
After losing someone you love, it is understandable to need a little time to process the loss and figure out next steps. With that said, if you want to protect your right to compensation, you should keep in mind how long you have to file a construction accident claim in Texas.
Fortunately, a wrongful death lawyer can manage your entire case for you. This would enable you to take the time you need to grieve while your attorney does all the work.
Why File a Construction Accident Claim?
Filing a claim or lawsuit is often the only way to get enough compensation to cover all of your accident-related losses, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income
- Physical impairment
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical expenses
Wrongful death damages are available to those who lost a loved one in a construction accident. Such damages typically include:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of financial support
Any construction employee has the right to file and seek compensation, though they may be unable to pursue their employer directly. However, it is an especially powerful tool for employees working for non-subscriber employers. These kinds of workers have no other means of recovering compensation, such as through workers’ compensation.
Who to File a Construction Accident Claim Against
Who is the at-fault party in your construction accident case? Is it your employer, or perhaps a third party like a property owner or a product manufacturer? That depends on how your accident happened and how much evidence you can find to prove the at-fault party’s role in it.
Even if the at-fault party’s identity seems obvious at first, the case may be more complex than you originally thought. An attorney could help you if:
- You do not know where to look for evidence
- You are unsure of who the at-fault party is, or if there may be multiple at-fault parties
- The at-fault party is reluctant to pay you fair compensation
- Your injury makes it hard to focus your full attention on the case
- You need help accessing your workers’ compensation benefits
Remember that you have two years to identify and find evidence against all of the at-fault parties. Hiring a lawyer with experience in these matters could make it easier for you to meet that deadline without overexerting yourself.
How Common Are Construction Accidents?
A report compiled by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) states that for every 100 full-time construction workers in the state, 1.9 suffered a nonfatal injury in 2021. This is the highest rate of construction accidents in the past five years.
While construction work is not the most dangerous field of employment in Texas, it still results in many injuries per year as a result of:
- Falls from heights
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Falling debris
- Fires and explosions
- Exposure to hazardous environments
- Motor vehicle accidents
These and other types of accidents could result from:
- Lack of safety gear or training (“fall protection” is the most-cited violation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA])
- Lack of proper equipment or vehicle maintenance
- The use of substandard materials
- Pressure from an employer or others to work in an unsafe manner
Such negligence could lead to head and brain injuries, paralysis, lost limbs, and even death. If you suffered such a catastrophic injury, you have the right to seek compensation within the statute of limitations.
File Your Construction Accident Claim Today
Domingo Garcia wants to help you in any way we can, starting with telling you how long you have to file a construction accident claim in Texas. We could even fight for the compensation you deserve. In one case, we recovered a $5 million settlement for a worker injured in a scaffolding fall. Call and get a free case review today.