The statute of limitations for a premises liability case in Louisiana generally gives victims up to one year to take legal action after an accident. This deadline only applies to filing the paperwork that begins a civil lawsuit in the appropriate court. The statutes applicable to this rule include:
- CC Art. 3492 for personal injury lawsuits. For personal injuries, the clock starts to run on the date of the injury.
- CC Art. 2315.2 for wrongful death lawsuits. For wrongful death lawsuit, you have one year from the date of death, which could be later than the date of the injury.
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), if you miss the filing deadline, the law will forever bar you from seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses. Negotiating with the land owner or their insurance company does not satisfy the statute of limitations. If your case has not settled, you will need to file a lawsuit to protect your right to money damages.
Taking Action in a Louisiana Premises Liability Case
In Louisiana, you may be able to hold a landowner liable for injuries you suffered on their property. The state’s premises liability statute, CC Art. 2322, allows you to pursue damages if the property owner or occupier acted negligently, which caused your injuries. In most cases, the landowner’s negligence occurs because they failed to take action in response to an unreasonable hazard.
For example, imagine the carpet tears in a restaurant lobby, but the owner does not take any action to tape down the tear, put a rug over the area, or replace the carpet to prevent an accident. This creates a trip hazard. If someone falls and suffers injuries, the owner will likely be responsible under the premises liability laws.
In addition to fall hazards, there could be other dangers involved that lead to different types of accidents, such as:
- Swimming pool injuries
- Dog bites
- Deck or ceiling collapse
- Elevator accidents
- Building code violations and fire injuries
- Negligent security
These are but a few examples of the types of accidents that could lead to a premises liability claim.
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Understanding How Statutes of Limitations Work
The statutes of limitations for premises liability cases in Louisiana apply only to beginning the process of taking a case to court. They do not set deadlines for filing an insurance claim or going to trial.
Many of these cases settle without ever requiring a lawsuit. Our team can often build a case for negligence and file an insurance claim based on the landowner’s negligence. This leads to negotiations with the insurer, in which we work to reach an agreement that compensates our client justly.
These settlements generally occur before the statute of limitations arrives. If not, our firm may need to file paperwork to begin the process of going to trial. This preserves the victim’s right to sue, which they would lose if the deadline passed. Filing a civil suit does not mean the case will go to trial, but it begins the process if going to court is necessary.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
It is also vital to know that there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. These may extend how long you have to file a lawsuit, but they could also reduce it. A lawyer from our firm can evaluate your case to determine which laws apply and confirm your filing deadline.
Here are some exceptions to the statute of limitations:
- In 2020, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued orders that extended some deadlines, including statutes of limitations, because of the COVID-19 emergency.
- Louisiana law allows parties to “toll” or extend the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, commercial lawsuits, and class actions to allow the parties an opportunity to settle the claim without litigation. The tolling agreement must be in writing.
- The injured party was a minor when the accident happened.
- A court has found the injured party to be mentally incompetent.
- The defendant has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Usually, the plaintiff seeks a court order granting their request that the judge toll the statute of limitations.
Proving a Premises Liability Injury Lawsuit
A successful insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit depends on your ability to prove liability. Proving negligence and liability in a Louisiana premises liability case requires showing:
- There was an unreasonable hazard.
- The landowner knew or should have known about the danger but did not address it.
- The hazard caused your injury.
- You were hurt and suffered financial harm.
When you have evidence that establishes all four of these factors, you could pursue money damages for your losses.
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What Kinds of Money Damages Can Be Recoverable in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
After holding the defendant liable for the accident that caused your injuries, you can seek to recover your losses. Every premises liability case is different, and there is no set rate of compensation. The amount you can go after will depend on the facts of your situation.
Here are some of the types of money damages people often seek after getting hurt in a premises liability accident:
- Medical expenses to treat your wounds are usually recoverable. These costs can include things like the ambulance, emergency room or trauma center, doctors, hospital, surgical procedures, diagnostic procedures, imaging studies like x-rays and CAT scans, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
- Lost wages for the time that you missed without pay because of your wounds and the needed recuperation time.
- Diminished future wages if you can no longer make as much money as before because of impairment from your injuries, like chronic pain or loss of function.
- Pain and suffering to account for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you experienced from the accident and your injuries.
You might have additional losses, depending on your unique circumstances. We can talk to you to explore other possible categories of money damages.
What Types of Evidence Are Required?
The evidence in a premises liability case will depend on how the injuries occurred. This evidence could include:
- Official reports from first responders like the police, firefighters, or ambulance personnel
- Videos of the incident captured on cell phones, home or commercial property security cameras, or other devices
- Medical records and related documents
- Pictures of the hazard or other documentation
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony, which could include expert opinions about your injuries, how impairment from your injuries affects your life, and engineering testimony about the hazardous condition that caused you to get hurt.
- Proof of expenses and losses, like medical bills, pharmacy records, and your employer’s records of your lost wages.
If you believe you may have a premises liability case in Louisiana, a personal injury attorney from our firm could take your case for free. If you decide to take action against the property owner, we can handle the investigation into the incident and gather the evidence necessary on your behalf.
Speak With Our Team Today About Your Legal Options
If you suffered an injury on someone else’s property, you may be able to take action to hold the landowner responsible. This includes injuries sustained at a business, an individual’s private residence, or a municipal property. We also represent victims whose loved ones passed away in this type of accident.
You can learn more about your options in a Louisiana premises liability case by speaking with Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers today for free. We provide complimentary consultations and can help you understand your options and timeline for filing a lawsuit.