The statute of limitations for a car accident case in Louisiana is one year from the date on which your accident occurred. When you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you may have a legal right to claim compensation for those losses. However, you must file the claim before the statute of limitations expires. If you don’t, you may lose your right to get compensation for your injuries.
Understanding Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases
All states place time limits on your right to file a lawsuit for damages after a car accident. These statutes of limitations vary considerably by state law and the type of lawsuit involved.
CC Art. 3492 establishes a one-year general deadline for filing a court case seeking compensation after an accident in which you have suffered injuries. This law gives you only one year from the date of your accident to take legal action in court. If you fail to file your case within the one-year statute of limitations, you could lose your ability to get any damages from those responsible for causing your collision.
Wrongful Death Actions Have a One-Year Filing Deadline
In the case of fatal car accidents, the statute of limitations is also one year. Under CC Art. 2315.2, the surviving family members of the deceased have only one year from the date of their passing to file a wrongful death action in court. Failure to file a wrongful death action within this timeframe can result in an inability to hold the at-fault parties accountable for the car accident.
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Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases in Louisiana
Although the statute of limitations for car accident cases in Louisiana is generally one year, there are some exceptions to that rule. First, if a minor under age 18 is injured in a car accident, the one-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the date on which the child turns 18. This exception applies no matter how old the child is at the time of the accident.
Another common exception to the deadline may apply when multiple cars are involved in an accident. In this case, extensive investigation may be necessary to determine who is at fault for your injuries. Although you must still file your lawsuit against at least one liable party within the statute of limitations, you may be able to add additional parties to your suit after the deadline has expired if they are also liable for causing your injuries.
Mechanical Failure can also Affect a Case’s Filing Deadline
Finally, in some cases, a car accident might occur due to a defective auto part or mechanical failure. Again, it could take more than one year to determine the true cause of an accident. Under the discovery rule, the one-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until the true cause of the accident is reasonably available to you.
The Reasons Behind the Statutes of Limitations
Statutes of limitations exist so that you cannot indefinitely sue someone for injuries they may have caused. If you are injured in a car accident, you have a duty to promptly seek compensation or file a lawsuit against those parties who have caused your injuries. Likewise, someone who causes injuries to others in a car accident has the right to know for certain if they are going to potentially owe money in a lawsuit.
As a practical matter, lawsuits can be much harder to pursue if you wait until years after an accident has occurred to seek compensation. Many situations can cause additional challenges in proving liability. For instance, evidence may become lost, injuries can heal, memories may fade, and witnesses may move away and become unreachable.
The inability to determine who caused an accident can also lead to public mistrust in the judicial system. If parties who were injured in a car accident lose their case due to problems caused by the passage of time, the public might feel as if they were cheated out of the compensation they deserve. Likewise, if injury victims get a large verdict many years after an accident has occurred, the public may see it as unfair.
Call Us for a Free Evaluation of Your Car Accident Case
The statute of limitations is one of many potentially crucial deadlines in a personal injury case. As a result, clearly understanding the statute of limitations for a car accident case in Louisiana can be essential to recovering damages from the liable parties.
Call Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers at (337) 777-7777 today to learn all you need to know about the statute of limitations in Louisiana and how it affects you pursuing a car accident case. Our legal team can explain state laws and answer any other questions you have during a free, no-obligation consultation.