The term “statute of limitations” refers to the time restriction for initiating a legal proceeding, whether civil or criminal. Each state has a different time limit for certain claims. There is a one- to five-year time restriction for filing a civil lawsuit in Texas, depending on the nature of the claim.
In Texas, you can have one year to file a defamation action but up to five years to pursue a claim related to sex offenses. If you fail to meet the deadline, you may no longer pursue your case in court, even if it is a legitimate claim.
After reviewing your case, Texas civil litigation attorneys from The Buzbee Law Firm can determine how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. Our lawyers can also help you file all the necessary paperwork on time.
What Is a Civil Lawsuit?
A civil lawsuit is a legal action filed by the plaintiff against the defendant to obtain compensation for damages caused by the defendant’s act. If the victim sues the defendant and wins, they will receive compensation. Remember that corporations and other legal entities are also subject to civil litigation.
You may file a civil case for almost any loss or disagreement, including disagreements over contracts, evictions for lease violations, and personal injury from an automobile accident.
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The Civil Litigation Process in Texas
The plaintiff in a civil lawsuit is the one initiating the legal action against the defendant. Here are the two forms of civil litigation lawsuits that you must know:
When a case is “uncontested,” all involved parties have reached an agreement and are utilizing the legal system to formalize their pact. It may be necessary to have a court review and approve their agreement. This commonly applies to divorce cases.
A contested case is one in which the parties involved have different opinions on how the issue should be resolved. When a matter is in dispute, the parties must each provide their legal arguments to persuade the court to decide in their favor. A contested case will take much more time and effort than an uncontested one.
You shouldn’t attempt to defend your interests in court if your case is contested and the opposing party has hired legal counsel. The safest choice is to seek legal representation. At the Buzbee Law Firm, we understand the legal intricacies of contested claims and have dealt with a wide range of civil litigation cases.
How Long do Civil Lawsuits Usually Last?
The nature of evidence, the legal case at play, and the involved entities’ desire to resolve the disagreement will determine the time it takes to reach a verdict in a civil case. However, there is a high rate of first-day resolutions in small claims courts.
Do All Civil Cases Go to Trial?
No. The majority of civil lawsuits never make it to trial. Most disputes are resolved out of court via mediation, arbitration, or agreements between the representing lawyers. Mediation allows disputing parties to work out their differences without resorting to a judge or jury.
In many situations before a district court, arbitration is mandated as an alternative means of conflict resolution via an informal judicial procedure. In this step, the parties work together to find a mutually satisfactory resolution to the conflict. It takes a lot of time and money to go through a trial. Settlements are reached out of court in the vast majority of civil cases.
Statutes of Limitation for Civil Cases in Texas
The purpose of these time limits is to protect the interest of the general population. The statute of limitations for civil cases varies depending on the nature of the case. In the following, we will go over some standard statutes of limitations for Texas civil cases.
It is important to note that these limits serve as examples, and you should discuss your case with a lawyer to learn the deadline that applies to you. For example, while the standard deadline for personal injury cases is two years, you may have less or more time, depending on the details of your case.
Civil Lawsuits With One-Year Statute of Limitation
Malicious prosecution, defamation, slander, and breach of promise of marriage have one-year statute limitations, meaning a lawsuit must be filed within that time frame.
Civil Lawsuits With Two-Year Statute of Limitation
The standard statute of limitation in Texas is two years for trespass to personal or property rights. Torts such as property damage, personal injury, and wrongful death have a two-year statute of limitation.
Civil Lawsuits With Four-Year Statute of Limitation
Lawsuits based on breach of contract have a four-year statute of limitation in Texas. Legal conflicts may arise from a party’s failure to fulfill a contractual commitment, such as by failing to provide a previously agreed upon service.
There is a four-year filing deadline on claims, including breach of contract, debt collection lawsuits, and violation of fiduciary obligation. Real estate transactions are also subject to the four-year time restriction.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Are a Type of Civil Lawsuit
When a person sustains an injury and decides to sue the responsible party, the first step in the legal process is to file a personal injury complaint in the civil court of their home state. Some common causes of personal injury cases include:
- Automobile accidents
- Slip and falls
- Medical negligence
- Faulty goods
- Malicious actions
While filing a civil lawsuit is often the initial step in personal injury claims, it’s important to remember that most cases will settle out of court well before trial. In addition, many personal injury cases are settled out of court via informal agreements before a formal lawsuit is filed.