What Is the Louisiana Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Injury and Loss Claims?
Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident? If so, you must act quickly to protect your right to file a car accident lawsuit in Louisiana. Each state has laws regarding the length of time a victim has to file a lawsuit for damages. Most states refer to this law as a Statute of Limitations. Louisiana has a different term, but the same legal theory applies; the law limits your time to file a car accident lawsuit.
According to Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492, the “liberative prescription” for filing a “delictual action” is one year from the date of injury or damage. This code section simply means that the statute of limitation (liberative prescription) for an injury lawsuit (delictual action) is one year from the date of the accident (date of injury or damage). You lose your right to demand compensation for your injuries if you fail to file your lawsuit within one year. The one-year limitation applies to car accidents, motorcycle crashes, commercial truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.
As experienced car accident attorneys, we understand how to work within the time limitations for filing a lawsuit. However, we need to begin work on your case as soon as possible. Louisiana’s statute for motor vehicle accidents is one of the shortest in the country. Waiting until the last minute to file a lawsuit could result in a weaker case. By allowing our attorneys to begin work on your auto accident claim right now, you increase your chance of receiving full compensation of your damages.
Exceptions to Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations
While some states have exceptions to the general time limitations for filing lawsuits, Louisiana’s law is very clear. There may be very limited exceptions to the one-year rule for children injured in a traffic accident or in the case of a wrongful death. However, relying on an extension of time to file a lawsuit is extremely dangerous. Each case is unique, and your case may not have the elements or circumstances necessary for the court to extend the deadline to file an accident lawsuit. By delaying contacting an attorney to discuss your case, you could be losing money for:
- Lost Income — This includes reimbursement for your past and present lost wages in addition to compensation for future lost wages or a loss of earning capacity.
- Medical Expenses — In addition to compensating you for past and future medical bills, a lawsuit could result in reimbursement for long-term personal care and medical care for victims who suffer a permanent disability.
- Property Damage — Paying to repair or replace your vehicle damaged in the collision.
- Pain and Suffering Damages — Money to compensate you and your family for physical pain, emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish.
- Permanent Conditions — Scarring, disabilities, and disfigurement
- Other Damages — Depending on your claim and the facts of your case, you may also be entitled to receive additional compensation for other economic and non-economic damages.
Because you could jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for your damages, injuries, and losses, we strongly urge you to contact a Louisiana personal injury attorney immediately following an accident. An attorney provides much more than legal advice; an attorney provides support and guidance as you struggle to heal from your injuries and overcome the financial burden placed on you and your family because of the accident.
Why Do We Have a Laws Placing Deadlines on Filing Lawsuits?
One of the main reasons we have deadlines for car accident claims is to protect the defendants. Filing a lawsuit ten years after a car crash puts the defendant in a position of trying to find evidence that may have been lost or destroyed to fight the claims.
A plaintiff filing a lawsuit may have been working for ten years on the claim, preserving evidence and building a case. Filing the lawsuit so long after the crash would put a defendant at an unfair disadvantage. Therefore, the statute of limitations exists to ensure that matters are litigated in a judicious manner for all parties. Anyone with a claim should act upon that claim within a reasonable time. Louisiana believes a reasonable time is within one year of the vehicle accident.