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Texas Statute of Limitations in Medical Malpractice Cases

Medical malpractice is a serious type of wrongdoing that threatens the health, safety, and lives of patients. In Texas, victims of medical malpractice can file civil claims in pursuit of financial compensation for their injuries and related losses, such as medical bills.

However, a law known as the statute of limitations imposes a deadline on the right to file a medical malpractice claim in Texas. It is crucial to understand your statute of limitations to avoid missing your time limit to file.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a maximum amount of time in which a legal claim can be initiated by an injured victim (plaintiff) after an incident. It is a strict legal deadline by which a civil lawsuit must be filed, or else the plaintiff will most likely lose the right to seek damages for the particular claim.

Each state has unique statutes of limitations that differ depending on the type of case. Statutes of limitations are in place to keep the justice system just for all parties. Without a filing deadline, a plaintiff could potentially wait an indefinite amount of time to bring a claim against a defendant. Statutes of limitations keep the justice system fair and efficient for everyone.

Why Is Knowing Your Statute of Limitations Important?

If you wait too long and miss your statute of limitations, your medical malpractice claim will most likely be time-barred. This means you will lose the legal right to bring a claim for that particular incident or injury. Even if the courts permit you to file a medical malpractice claim past the deadline, the defendant can raise it as a defense to liability in court, after which the court will most likely dismiss the case.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Medical Malpractice Claim in Texas?

Texas has both a statute of limitations and a statute of repose on medical malpractice cases. While a statute of limitations typically begins to run from the time that the cause of action accrues or is discovered by the plaintiff, a statute of repose begins on the date of a specific event. This typically makes the statute of repose longer than the statute of limitations.

Texas’s statutory time limits on medical malpractice claims, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.251, are as follows:


  • Notwithstanding any other law and subject to Subsection (b), 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; provided that, minors under the age of 12 years shall have until their 14th birthday in which to file, or have filed on their behalf, the claim. Except as herein provided this section applies to all persons regardless of minority or other legal disability.
  • A claimant must bring a health care liability claim not later than 10 years after the date of the act or omission that gives rise to the claim. This subsection is intended as a statute of repose so that all claims must be brought within 10 years or they are time-barred.

Under this rule, most medical malpractice claims in Texas must be filed no later than two years after the occurrence of the tort. If the patient does not discover the injury or malpractice immediately, however, he or she may have 10 years from the date of the incident to file instead.

Exceptions to the Rule

For the most part, you must bring a medical malpractice claim in Texas within two years of the tort or act of wrongdoing that resulted in your injury or illness. However, the courts acknowledge certain exceptions to this rule.

Some circumstances can shorten or extend the filing deadline, including:

  • Injured minor: Texas’s statute of limitations grants an exception to victims under the age of 12 years old who are injured by medical malpractice. Minors have until the age of 14 to file claims or have someone file on their behalf, regardless of how much time has passed from the date of the incident.
  • Delayed discovery: for the most part, the clock on the medical malpractice statute of limitations begins counting down on the date of the negligent act or omission. However, in some cases, the clock may be tolled (paused) until a later date. This includes a case of delayed discovery of the injury or malpractice.
  • Retained foreign object: historically, Texas courts have granted exemptions on statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases that specifically involve harm from retained foreign objects. If an object or tool such as a sponge is left behind in a patient’s body and is not discovered until after the statute of repose expires, the courts may make an exception.
  • Government entity liability: if a medical malpractice case involves the negligence of a government entity, such as a claim brought against the Veterans Health Administration, the statute of limitations is reduced by the Texas Tort Claims Act to just six months from the date of the incident giving rise to the claim.
  • Continuing course of treatment: in some cases, if a patient is receiving a course of treatment related to the medical malpractice incident, the courts may extend the deadline until two years from the date that the treatment is completed. However, the rules on this type of extension are inconsistent, so it is recommended to file within two years, if possible.

The various exceptions to Texas’s medical malpractice statute of limitations are why it is important to consult with an attorney about your specific filing deadline without delay. You may have more or less time than you think to file a claim based on a special rule.

Don’t Wait – Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Texas Today

Prompt legal action can help ensure that you meet your statute of limitations to file a medical malpractice claim, which will preserve your right to seek financial compensation. Taking action right away can also lead to a stronger claim, as more evidence can be available.

If you believe you have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim in Texas, contact an attorney at FVF Law as soon as possible. Our Austin personal injury attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience. We can help you file a medical malpractice claim by your specific deadline.


Fogelman & Von Flatern is a personal injury law firm that believes it matters why we practice law: to make sure good people in unfair circumstances who want reasonable options are taken seriously, especially by their attorney. We value transparency, compassion, and justice, and we strive to embody that in our practice. At FVF, you can trust that you've got the best people on your case, for the right reasons.

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