Understanding Louisiana’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit

Understanding Louisiana’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit

April 4, 2023

Understanding Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When an injury is caused by another party – whether a car accident, an incident at the workplace, or a slip-and-fall – it’s crucial to be aware of Louisiana’s unique statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. The statute of limitations is the time limit within which an injured party must file a personal injury lawsuit. Failing to meet deadlines may result in dismissal of the case – so understanding and complying with Louisiana’s one-year statute of limitations for personal injury ensures the best chance of a successful outcome.

A Timeline for Filing Personal Injury Claims in Louisiana

Filing personal injury claims in Louisiana requires strict adherence to a one-year deadline, known as the “prescriptive period,” starting on the date of the injury. This deadline applies across various personal injury scenarios, such as automobile accidents, medical malpractice, and slip-and-fall incidents. Timely legal action is crucial, as failure to abide by the prescribed timeframe may result in losing the  right to pursue damages, leaving injured parties without a way to address their losses.

Extending the Statute of Limitations 

Under Louisiana law, there are some exceptions to the one-year deadline

  • When a child is injured in an accident, the statute of limitations doesn’t start until they turn 18. This means they have until one year after their 18th birthday to file a claim, regardless of their age at the time of the accident.
  •  For individuals declared legally incompetent, the statute of limitations is suspended during their period of incapacity and resumes once they regain competence. These provisions are designed to protect the rights of vulnerable individuals, ensuring they have a fair opportunity to seek justice and compensation for injuries sustained due to another party’s negligence.
  • In personal injury cases involving several responsible parties, such as multi-car pileups, a claim must be filed against one party within the one-year statute of limitations. However, it is possible to sue another party after the one-year deadline if both defendants are found to be jointly liable.
  • In cases where an injury is caused by a defective product, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until it’s determined that the true cause of the injury should have been reasonably discovered. The discovery rule can also apply when a person is unaware of an injury-causing event, such as exposure to a hazardous chemical. In these cases, the one-year statute of limitations doesn’t start until the cause of the injury has been established.
  • In wrongful death cases where no witnesses are present and a conclusive cause of death can’t be established, the discovery rule might apply. However, it is essential to consult an attorney to confirm the deadline for filing a claim.

How the Discovery Rule Affects the Timeframe for Filing a Lawsuit in Louisiana

The extent of some injuries doesn’t become apparent immediately after an accident, especially injuries like whiplash. The discovery rule plays a significant role in determining the timeframe for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Louisiana. This rule comes into effect when the injured party is unaware of the injury or its cause at the time of the incident.  The discovery rule is important to ensure victims who were initially unaware of their injuries still have an opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit.  

The Role of Comparative Fault in Louisiana Personal Injury Cases

Comparative fault plays a pivotal role in Louisiana personal injury cases, as it takes into account each party’s degree of responsibility for the accident. Under this system, injured parties can recover damages even if they are partially at fault. However, their compensation will be reduced according to their percentage of fault. For example, Person A is driving on an icy road, and Person B suffers an injury when their car is struck by Person A. Person A was driving too fast for the icy conditions, but Person B did not come to a full and complete stop at a stop sign. Person B is found to be 30% at fault, and therefore their damages will be reduced by 30%. Understanding comparative fault is crucial for setting realistic expectations and formulating an effective strategy for pursuing a personal injury case in Louisiana.

The Importance of Gathering Evidence for Personal Injury Cases

Collecting evidence is a crucial step in building a strong personal injury case. Photographs, medical records, police reports, and witness statements are just a few examples of the types of evidence that can help support a claim. An experienced attorney can help guide injured parties through the process of gathering and preserving evidence, ensuring that they have the best possible chance of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Consequences of Missing the Filing Deadline

Time is of the essence when filing a personal injury lawsuit in Louisiana, as missing filing deadlines can have severe consequences. If a claim is not initiated within the prescribed one-year statute of limitations, courts may dismiss the case, leaving the injured party without any options to seek compensation for their losses.  That’s why it is important to act promptly, gather necessary evidence, and consult with a qualified attorney to ensure adherence to the statute of limitations. Taking timely legal action ensures injured parties can protect their rights and maximize their chances of obtaining justice.

Why Retaining an Attorney is Essential for Your Personal Injury Claim

Personal Injury Law

Retaining an experienced personal injury attorney is essential for successfully navigating the complexities of Louisiana’s legal landscape. An attorney can help preserve crucial evidence, identify liable parties, and negotiate with insurance companies on the injured party’s behalf. Furthermore, they will ensure that all deadlines are met and the statute of limitations is properly followed. The expertise and guidance of a skilled attorney significantly increase the likelihood of obtaining fair compensation for the injured party. 

By understanding the key aspects of personal injury claims, adhering to the statute of limitations, and enlisting the help of an experienced attorney, injured parties in Louisiana can maximize their chances of obtaining justice and compensation for their injuries. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation  or call the firm today at 504-526-2222 and get the help you need. 

By |2023-10-24T18:22:52+00:00April 4th, 2023|Personal Injury|

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