Car Accident Victim’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act Claim Was Time-Barred, According to Texas Court of Appeals

State law places an outer limit upon the time that victims of an east Texas car accident may assert their rights in a court of law. Referred to in legal parlance as the “statute of limitations,” this time period is absolute in most cases.

While there are a few, limited exceptions, the vast majority of cases filed outside of the applicable statute of limitations are dismissed by the courts. In such cases, the plaintiff receives nothing, even if he or she would otherwise have been entitled to substantial monetary compensation.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided case, the plaintiff was a woman who was allegedly involved in a “hit and run” motor vehicle accident caused by an uninsured motorist in January 2013. Displeased with the way her claim was handled, she filed a lawsuit against the defendant insurance company, with which she had collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. In her first suit, which was filed in March 2013, the plaintiff sought declaratory relief regarding her UM coverage and averred that the defendant had breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing. In 2015, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her suit.

Two months later, the plaintiff filed a second lawsuit against the same defendant, this time asserting a violation of the Texas Insurance Code and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA). The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The trial court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. She appealed.

The Court’s Holding

The statute of limitations for a DTPA claim is two years under Texas Business & Commerce Code ยง 17.565. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the statute of limitations should have been calculated using the date her DTPA claim accrued, not the date of the car accident. The court of appeals disagreed, thereby affirming the lower court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendant. In so holding, the court acknowledged that the plaintiff made certain assertions in her first complaint (which she later dismissed) concerning the timeliness of her claim and that she did not object to the trial court using this pleading as summary judgment evidence; thus this argument was deemed not preserved for appeal.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an East Texas Car Accident Lawyer

Everyday people are at a serious disadvantage when facing off with an insurance company following an east Texas automobile accident. The insurance company deals with car crashes and the issues related to them on a daily basis. A team of professionals – and a deep pocket for defense costs – is always at the ready. If you’ve been hurt and need someone on your side of the case, call Earl Drott Law today at 903-531-9300. We’ve been standing up to insurance companies for 34 years, and we are here to help you in your fight to secure fair compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

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