What Is Texas' Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?

By , J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law

Let's start with the basics. A "statute of limitations" is a law that sets a time limit on a prospective plaintiff's right to go to civil court and file a lawsuit after suffering some type of harm or loss. Every state has these kinds of laws on the books, and there are different deadlines for different kinds of cases.

Like a lot of states, Texas has a specific statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases. You can find this law at Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 74.251. The key provision of this statute says:

"No health care liability claim may be commenced unless the action is filed within two years from the occurrence of the breach or tort or from the date the medical or health care treatment that is the subject of the claim or the hospitalization for which the claim is made is completed.

So, starting from the day on which you suffer some type of injury or harm because of medical malpractice, you have two years to go to court and get your lawsuit filed. Or, if the harm occurred as part of an ongoing course of health care treatment, the two year "clock" doesn't start running until that course of treatment is concluded.

Statute of Repose: When You're No Longer Able to File

Texas also has a rule in place that says once more than 10 years have passed since the alleged medical error occurred, you will have lost your right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Texas. This is known as a "statute of repose," and it acts as something of a larger catch-all filing deadline.

Deadline for Filing Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Young Children

And finally, a note on medical malpractice lawsuits that are filed on behalf of young children: In Texas, when a child under the age of 12 is the plaintiff, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed by the child's 14th birthday.

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