Texas Court Holds that, for Statute of Limitations Purposes, Car Accident Litigant is Bound by “On or About” Date Alleged in Complaint – Britton v. Gomez

antique clockIf you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should know that you have a limited time in which to file suit against the person whose negligence you believe caused the crash. In Texas, this period is generally two years. (Of course, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced injury attorney about the details of your particular case.)

Except in very rare instances, a failure to timely file suit will result in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case, regardless of its merits.

The Facts of the Case

In the recent case of Britton v. Gomez, the plaintiff was a woman who was injured in a car accident that allegedly occurred when the defendant ran a red light and struck the plaintiff’s vehicle as she proceeded through an intersection. In her claim, she alleged both negligence and negligence per se. The defendant moved for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to comply with the two-year statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents under Texas law. In support of the motion, he pointed out that the plaintiff’s complaint was filed on October 14, 2014, even though she alleged that the accident happened on or about October 8, 2012. The trial court granted the motion.

What the Appellate Court Decided

The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the trial court’s order granting summary judgment was not supported by sufficient evidence. On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, agreeing with the lower court that the plaintiff’s complaint was filed six days too late.

Although the defendant had submitted several documents in support of his motion (including the plaintiff’s responses to the defendant’s requests for disclosures and requests for production of documents, copies of reports from the police department and state department of transportation, and excerpts from the plaintiff’s deposition), the court found that the most persuasive document supporting the defendant’s motion was the plaintiff’s complaint, which stated that the accident happened “on or about” two years and six days prior to the date the complaint was filed.

While the phrase “on or about” could be construed broadly with regard to providing notice of a claim, the phrase constituted a judicial admission that the alleged event occurred on the named date for the purpose of establishing a statute of limitations defense, such as the one at issue here.

An Experienced East Texas Automobile Accident Attorney to Help with Your Case

Many legal issues and procedural hurdles can arise in a car accident case. To talk to a knowledgeable east Texas car accident lawyer about the details of your particular case, call the Law Office of Earl Drott, P.C. at (903) 531-9300. With over 30 years of experience and board certification in personal injury law, we offer quality, results-driven representation to injured people in and around Tyler and Smith County, and we will be happy to schedule a free consultation concerning your accident case at your convenience.

Related Blog Posts:

Texas Court Upholds Statute of Limitations Defense in Car Accident Case

Texas Court Allows Negligence Case to Go Forward in Car Accident Case