Most of us will take great care not to miss or be late for an important event, such as a business meeting, a parent?s birthday, a wedding, etc?. Reminders are placed on post-its, calendars and phones. You should take the same care to make sure you do not wait too long and miss your chance to file a lawsuit if you have suffered a legal wrong.

There is a time limit to file a civil lawsuit against another person or entity. This time limit is called the ?statute of limitations?. The time limit to file the lawsuit starts from the date when you suffered the harm. An example is a cause of action (lawsuit) for breach of contract. Under Texas law you have 4 years from the date the breached of the contract occurred to file a lawsuit for that breach. You will lose your right to file a lawsuit for that breach if you do not file within the 4 year statute of limitation.

There are many civil causes of actions. Examples of causes of actions and time limitations to file a lawsuit in Texas are:

  • One (1) year limitation: malicious prosecution, libel, slander, or breach of promise of marriage not later than one year after the day the cause of action accrues
  • Two (2) year limitation: trespass for injury to the estate or to the property of another, conversion of personal property/ taking or detaining the personal property of another/ personal injury, forcible entry and detainer and forcible detainer
  • Three (3) year limitation: misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Four (4) year limitation: breach of contract/due date for debt/fraud/breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Five (5) years for personal injury if the injury arises as a result of conduct that violates the Texas Penal code for sexual or aggravated sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors, trafficking of persons or compelling prostitution.

The above list is not inclusive. There are exceptions and other specialized causes of action that have specific time limitations to file a lawsuit. If you feel you have suffered a legal wrong it is recommended you consult with an attorney to determine if you have a valid claim and what the statute of limitations is for you to file a lawsuit.

Leonard Schneider is a partner in Liles Parker PLLC in the Houston, Texas office. The firm focuses on health care audits, business contracts, general corporate and business litigation matters and municipal law. He can be contacted at lschneider@lilesparker.com or at the firm website www.lilesparker.com. The Houston office number is 713-432-7474

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