Here’s What You Need to Know About Filing Deadlines for Louisiana Personal Injury Claims
Louisiana law limits the time you have to file a claim after suffering a personal injury. The time limit, or statute of limitations, for personal injury claims in Louisiana is one year. That’s one year from the date of an injury-causing event, with some exceptions.
If you have a claim, you miss the filing deadline, and the statute of limitations passes, you can lose the chance to file a personal injury case.
That’s just the beginning of what you may need to understand about the statutes of limitations for Louisiana personal injury claims. This cogent guide reveals more, sharing the basics of how filing deadlines for tort claims work in Louisiana.
Background on the Statutes of Limitations for Louisiana Personal Injury Claims
The statute of limitations for Louisiana personal injury claims is spelled out in Louisiana Civil Code Art. 3492. Specifically, it states:
Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year. This prescription commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained. It does not run against minors or interdicts in actions involving permanent disability and brought pursuant to the Louisiana Products Liability Act or state law governing product liability actions in effect at the time of the injury or damage.
Acts 1992, No. 621, §1.
Here, “delictual actions” are injury (tort) claims, and the law states that the start date for the statute of limitations is the “day of injury or damage.” That means the one-year time limit for filing a personal injury case in Louisiana can start counting down as of the date on which:
The injury-causing event occurs.
The injuries are detected or diagnosed, if it takes time for injuries to be discovered. This could occur with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)[AC12] , which are challenging to diagnose due to generic symptoms that may remain latent. It could also arise with certain types of accident victims, like a pregnant woman hurt in a car crash when it takes time to diagnose her injuries, as well as her unborn infant’s injuries.
If the injuries end up causing death, the one-year statute of limitations would start as of the date of death, according to Louisiana Civil Code Art. 2315.2. That means that, even if an accident occurred more than a year ago, if the injuries from that accident proved fatal the next year, the statute of limitations for the claim would be tied to the date of death, not the date of the accident.
What If I File a Personal Injury Claim After the Statute of Limitations Has Passed?
Your claim can be dismissed. If the statute of limitations has truly passed, you will likely have lost your chance to file a case. These time limits for filing personal injury claims — like car accident cases, 18-wheeler accident cases, and catastrophic injury cases — are meant to:
Provide the injured with sufficient time to gather evidence and take legal action
Encourage prompt action while evidence is still available
Close the door on claims after a certain period of time has passed
For these reasons, it’s in your best interests to consult with a Louisiana personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after an accident OR as soon as you realize you may be losing time to file a claim.
How Do I Know If There’s Still Time to File My Personal Injury Claim?
Talk to an attorney and explain more about your claim. Depending on what happened and who the at-fault parties are, you could be dealing with:
Dwindling time and growing challenging: As the clock runs down on a case, there can be more and more difficulties when it comes to tracking down and obtaining evidence. Witnesses move and get new numbers, videos of an accident can be recorded over, and other important evidence can get destroyed. That, coupled with insurance companies stepping in, could increase the difficulties you face the longer you wait to file a personal injury claim.
Multiple claims with different statutes of limitations: Claims against government defendants (like a bus accident case against the city) can have different filing deadlines than those involving private companies (like motor carriers in truck accident cases). An attorney can handle both cases for you, effectively managing the different deadlines and other critical aspects of each claim.
Since the best Louisiana personal injury lawyers work on contingency, you don’t have to worry about paying any fees to get a claim filed ASAP. That can prevent you from having to shoulder any extra financial stress as you move forward to get the justice and compensation you may be entitled to.