When tragedy strikes, a countdown starts.
If someone gets hurt in an accident and wants to pursue a claim or lawsuit, they must be aware of a time limit called a “statute of limitations,” also known as a “prescriptive period.”
Louisiana statutes of limitation have a serious impact on the compensation you may be entitled to. If you do not file before the deadline, your case may be dismissed. There’s a chance you’ll miss out entirely and lose your right to any compensation.
However, this time limit only applies to filing the paperwork to begin a civil lawsuit, and there are different time limits for different case types.
For most civil cases, the statute of limitations in Louisiana is one year. For criminal cases, the statute of limitations ranges between six months to ten years. For the most serious crimes—like treason, murder, and rape—there is no deadline at all.
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. According to Louisiana Civil Code, the statute of limitations for a Louisiana personal injury lawsuit is one year. The victim—known as the “plaintiff” in a lawsuit—has one year to take legal action.
Personal injury claims are civil cases that depend on proof of liability and negligence. A personal injury claim is one that involves negligence that results in injury to a person or their property. This includes but is not limited to automobile accidents, fraud, wrongful death, medical malpractice, product liability, and mold exposure. Premises liability accidents (such as slip and fall accidents, building collapse, electrocution, drowning, dog bites, etc.) are also included in this category.
If the end of the statute of limitations is looming on the horizon, a lawyer may need to file paperwork and begin the process of going to court. This protects your right to sue, but remember: filing a civil suit does not mean the case will definitely go to trial. It simply begins the process, should going to court be necessary.
Good news: most cases settle before they make it to court. With the right attorney, you can build a strong case and prove the other party’s negligence. The at-fault party’s insurance company will then negotiate with you and your team and decide upon a satisfactory settlement before ever stepping foot in a courtroom.
Still, it’s important to act fast! On this page, we’ll go into more detail about the Louisiana statute of limitations and let you know how you can protect your rights.
Table of Contents
The statute of limitations in Louisiana for personal injury cases is one year from the date of the incident. This means the Louisiana statute of limitations for car and truck accidents is one year from the day of the crash.
A year may seem like a long time, but it will go by in the blink of an eye. Your legal team will need ample time to conduct investigations, compile evidence, and set you up for success. For best results, reach out now and let a Louisiana car accident lawyer get started on building your case!
For most personal injury cases, the clock starts ticking the moment the accident occurs. However, there are certain circumstances that allow exceptions and extensions to the Louisiana statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations does not apply to minors.
If a child gets hurt in an accident, the statute of limitations begins on the child’s 18th birthday, not on the day of the accident. This means their time to file is up on their 19th birthday, regardless of how old they were when the accident occurred.
Multiple At-Fault Parties
When a personal injury claim involves multiple liable parties, victims only have to file suit against one of them before the statute of limitations runs out.
If an investigation uncovers more evidence, the victim may go on to sue other at-fault parties later. One example of this is a multi-vehicle accident.
The Discovery Rule
Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint the cause of an injury you’ve suffered. Take a traumatic car or truck accident, for example. But other times, the underlying cause of an accidental injury is not “reasonably discoverable” until much later.
In cases where injury or damage is not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations does not apply until a victim “knows or should reasonably know” of the connection between their injury and the at-fault person or entity. In other words, the clock does not start ticking until the victim has actually discovered the issue.
This is known as “the discovery rule,” and it commonly applies to cases involving product defects, exposure to hazardous chemicals, and medical malpractice.
For example, if you read an article about the dangers of a product you used to use, the prescriptive period would begin on the day you learned the information.
Since recovery times can be lengthy and medical malpractice isn’t always immediately noticeable, medical malpractice victims can file claims up to three years after the malpractice took place—but the claims still must be filed within one year of discovering the problem.
In addition to what we’ve covered above, the law may also allow an extension to the statute of limitations in Louisiana in the following situations:
- The plaintiff is deemed mentally incompetent.
- The plaintiff is in prison.
- The defendant declared bankruptcy.
- The defendant is outside the state or county jurisdiction.
- The two sides are still embroiled in settlement negotiations.
For more information and to learn what exceptions may apply to your case, consult a Louisiana personal injury attorney today.
Typically an insurer has 30 days to submit a written offer to settle an insurance claim.
The 30 day period begins on the day they receive proof of your losses. Your Louisiana personal injury lawyer will submit this proof to them in what is known as a “demand package.”
Louisiana wrongful death lawsuits are subject to the same statutes of limitations as personal injury cases. However, according to Louisiana Civil Code, the time limit starts on the date of death, not the date of the accident. Therefore, if your loved one died later as a result of injuries they suffered in the accident, you are still eligible.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Louisiana?
- the deceased’s spouse and children
- if there are no surviving spouses or children, the deceased’s parents may file
- if there are no surviving parents, the deceased’s siblings may file
- if there are no surviving siblings, the deceased’s grandparents may file
This order applies to relatives whether they are related by adoption or by blood. If no one takes action within one year of the victim’s date of death, the family will lose the right to file at all.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Collecting Debt in Louisiana?
The debt collection deadline in Louisiana is 3 years, except for state tax debt, which has no deadline.
By now you know the Louisiana statute of limitations for car accidents is one year from the day of the accident. The sooner you start the process, the better your results will be.
If you need medical treatments from accidents, you will need to complete them all before you can settle your claim. You and your lawyer won’t know the full impact the accident has had on your body, your mind, and your daily life until you get a professional opinion from a doctor or therapist.
But once you start your claim and complete your treatment, how long does it take to get a settlement check from a car accident? Collecting evidence and negotiating with the insurance company can take a while, but once you officially accept a settlement offer from them, it can take around six weeks to receive the settlement check.
You will also need to sign an accident settlement agreement before the check is given to your lawyer. Your lawyer will pay off any medical bills or liens related to your case, then they’ll deduct their legal fees before disbursing the rest of the settlement to you.
What does a Louisiana car accident attorney cost? Most personal injury attorneys work for contingency fees in Louisiana. This means their success depends on your success, and you pay them nothing up front. If they help you win your case and settle your claim, they’ll deduct their fees from a portion of the settlement money.
Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: If you don’t get paid, neither do we!
ASAP! The claims process can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort. You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and so much more. Contacting a lawyer is your best bet.
Personal injury claims involve two key components: bodily injury and negligence. The success of your case rests on your lawyer’s ability to prove you were harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence. In order to do this, they must investigate and collect evidence such as:
- eyewitness testimony
- police accident reports
- photos and surveillance videos
- bills, medical records, and other documents
A Louisiana car accident lawyer can help you determine the value of your case, but they need time to compile all the relevant evidence and build a strong case. The sooner you partner with us, the sooner we can help you, the better your results will be!
If you’ve been hurt, contact an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney as soon as possible for a head start on your case. Get the money you need, and the justice you deserve.
Our local experts are available 24/7. If you’ve been injured in an accident, call 800-898-4877 or visit our contact page for a free case evaluation.
Don’t take chances. Take action.
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Hit & Run Guide | New Orleans Car Accident Lawyers
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.