What Is the Timeframe for Filing a Lawsuit If Your Child Has Been Hurt or Sexually Abused?

If your child has been hurt or sexually abused, you may wonder how long you have to file a lawsuit. It’s important to know the statute of limitations—the time you have before you give up your right to file a claim—because if you don’t file in time, you lose your eligibility for compensation.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Child Personal Injuries

Generally, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Texas is two years. That means, unless an exception to the law applies, a person has two years to bring a personal injury case. However, an exception does apply for children. For purposes of filing a lawsuit, being a child is considered a “legal disability.” Thus, the two-year statute of limitations does not begin until the child becomes an adult on his 18th birthday, and a child has until his 20th birthday to file a personal injury case if he was hurt as a minor.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse and Molestation Claims

The law is similar for child sexual abuse and molestation claims. For sexual abuse cases in Texas, the person who was abused generally has five years to bring a personal injury case. However, if it was a child who was abused, the five years does not begin until the child is 18 years old. Thus, a sexually abused child has until his 23rd birthday to file a sexual abuse case if he was abused or molested as a minor.

If your child files a claim prior to the end of the statute of limitations, she may recover damages that have a significant impact on her future—specifically, money for her past, current, and future physical and mental health needs and any other damages sustained.

Often, it is beneficial not to wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire. Important evidence may be lost and your child’s rights may be compromised. Accordingly, it is important to take action right away if your child was hurt or sexually abused in Texas.


Tom Hall
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Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Personal Injury Trial Law