How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Louisiana?
Whenever you have been injured and want to file a lawsuit, you will need to file it within a set amount of time. Statutes of limitations are put in place to keep people from filing lawsuits decades later when the facts about a case can no longer be determined easily.
The statute of limitations varies depending on where you live since each state has its own rules. Here is what you need to know about the amount of time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Louisiana.
According to the Louisiana Civil Code section 3492, you have one year to file a personal injury lawsuit. With certain exceptions, this year starts from the day that the injury or damage is first sustained.
Laborde Earles, attorneys in Baton Rouge, have stated that in order to sue for personal injury, the following conditions must be met:
- You must be able to prove that you have been injured.
- You must be able to prove that you have suffered financial losses because of the injury.
- You must be able to show that the negligent party owed you a duty of care.
If you have evidence that proves these three conditions have been met and you are still within the statute of limitations, you may then file your case.
Statute of Limitations Exceptions
There are some exceptions to Louisiana’s one-year statute of limitations. First of all, minors are not subject to this statute. Instead, it is paused until a minor turns 18. If you have been injured as a minor, you have one year after you turn 18 during which you can file the lawsuit.
The statute of limitations is also paused if you were injured in a way that was not immediately evident. In these cases, the clock starts running once the injury is discovered.
One example of this would be a blow to a joint that became a joint disorder a few years later. In this case, you would have one year from the time the joint problem was discovered to file the lawsuit. Your attorney would need to present the extenuating circumstances in court and explain why you qualify for an extension.
Understanding the Louisiana Personal Injury Lawsuit Timeline
The fact that you only have a year to file a personal injury lawsuit does not mean that you have win your entire case in just a year. All it means is that you have to formally file the legal documents with the court to start the process.
The entire lawsuit process can take several years. During any Louisiana lawsuit, you can usually expect to encounter these steps.
- You meet with a lawyer to discuss your case. Once you confirm that you want to hire them, you usually sign an agreement and they get to work.
- The lawyer gathers information on your situation and begins to build their case.
- Your lawyer may recommend getting in contact with the other party to negotiate a settlement. In some cases, you can reach an agreement without having to go to court.
- If you cannot reach a settlement peacefully, your lawyer will go ahead and file the lawsuit. This is the stage that needs to be done before your one-year waiting period is up.
- The defendants are formally served with court papers, and then they have 30 days to file their own responding papers with the court.
- Both parties then have about 60 days after the case is filed to send written questions to each other that the other parties must respond to.
- Within roughly six months of filing the lawsuit, witnesses are deposed, which means they just sit in a lawyer’s office and make a formal statement that can be used in the later trial.
- The court may order a mediator to review the case and make one final attempt at settling. This can occur around nine to 18 months after the suit is filed.
- The trial begins an average of a year to 18 months after the suit is first filed. It can take a couple days or a few months.
If you believe you may have a valid personal injury claim, the first thing you may want to consider doing is having a consult with an attorney. Most personal injury lawyers offer free initial consults and many accept contingency payment, which means they don’t collect their fees until the case has concluded.
Being injured can lead to medical bills, missed work, and other expenses like vehicle and home modifications. It can also lead to costly future medical treatments. If your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, the court may very well rule that they are responsible for handling your injury-related expenses.