Statute of Limitations Issues in Litigation
Whether you are interested in pursuing a claim in court or if you are likely to be sued, an initial concern before turning to the substance of an issue should be the statute of limitations. Summarily, this is the allowable period in which a case may be initiated, with untimely lawsuits preventing a party from recovery.
Statutes of limitations exist to protect parties from needing to defend themselves against charges following a long passage of time. If a lawsuit was brought 20 years after the event causing the lawsuit occurred, it would be likely that the relevant facts and evidence are no longer apparent or accessible.
Because of this, Texas law prescribes specific statutory periods during which a claim must be filed in court. While most cases have two- or four-year statute of limitations requirements, this is not true for all litigation. For example, certain personal injury lawsuits based on sexual violence have a five-year statute of limitations and libel or slander lawsuits have a one-year period.
Generally, the statute of limitations begins to run when the action that creates the eventual lawsuit occurs. This can be straightforward for matters like a breach of contract, where scheduled events like payments become due on a certain date. However, identification of the beginning of the statute of limitations is more difficult for issues such as fraud or misappropriation of finances.
In those cases, where it is often unclear or challenging to quickly realize that wrongful conduct occurred, the limitations period may fluctuate. The statute of limitations can be “tolled,” essentially meaning postponed, to the date on which a reasonably careful and diligent person should have discovered the nature of their injury. This discovery rule prevents a party from losing their period in which to bring a lawsuit by punishing concealment promulgated by wrongful action.
In conclusion, it is important to quickly assess your situation and contact an attorney if you believe that a lawsuit may be necessary. Conversely, defending from a lawsuit should begin by deciding if the statute of limitations is a potential protection.
Waldron & Schneider’s litigation team has comprehensive experience in all areas of civil lawsuits. We ensure that our clients’ rights are secured and not negatively impacted by procedural issues like limitations periods which may arise. If you need an accomplished and knowledgeable team of attorneys to initiate or defend from a lawsuit on your behalf, please reach out to our office to speak with an attorney today.
The legal information in this blog entry is not intended to be a substitute for seeking personalized legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. Further, nothing contained in this article is intended to create an attorney-client relationship with any reader. This article and website are made available by Waldron & Schneider for educational purposes only and to give basic information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this website you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and Waldron & Schneider. The article and website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. For more information or questions you can contact us and one of our attorneys will be in touch soon.