The statute of limitations in Louisiana is called the prescription or prescriptive period. The statute of limitation is calculated one calendar year from the date of the accident. The same date in the next calendar year is the last date that they could file the lawsuit. If an injury victim fails to bring a claim before the deadline, they lose their ability to recover compensation. The case would be thrown out of court.
If you were injured in a car accident, you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible to preserve your eligibility for compensation. A skilled car accident lawyer could handle the details of your case and work to resolve your claim in a timely manner.
Louisiana has different statutes of limitations for different kinds of cases. For most car accident claims, victims have one year to file a lawsuit against the defendant and their insurance company. However, injured drivers have two years to seek uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage under their own insurance policies. Additionally, the statute of limitations may differ for minor victims.
Notably, the statute of limitations works differently for victims who do not know they are injured. In Louisiana, this concept is known as the discovery doctrine or contra non valentem. In some situations, victims may be allowed to file a lawsuit up to one year after they discover the injuries or damages. This situation rarely applies in car accident cases.
The best way to file a claim within the prescriptive period is to speak to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. A car accident lawyer could explain the applicable statute of limitations and identify any exceptions.
One common misconception is that a trial must completely resolve by the statute of limitations. In fact, the prescriptive period is only the deadline for initially bringing a claim. Once the lawsuit is filed, there is another deadline to serve the defendant. After that, they go through the discovery process, and the trial is months or even years later. In a car accident case, trials usually occur after the statute of limitations has expired.
In Lafayette and throughout Louisiana, the statute of limitations is an essential concept for car accident victims to keep in mind. Failure to file a lawsuit in time can completely prevent victims from recovering compensation. While it may seem like one year is plenty of time, it is best to act as quickly as possible after a crash. Critical evidence can disappear over time, witnesses become harder to locate, and memories of the event tend to fade. To give yourself the best chance of success, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can.
For help filing your motor vehicle collision lawsuit in a timely manner, reach out to an experienced personal injury firm. With a dedicated attorney by your side, you could pursue the compensation you need to move on after your accident.