If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent actions of another, Louisiana state law gives you the right to seek compensation for the damages resulting from your injuries. However, it’s important to remember that the law only allows a limited time in which to do so. Under the Louisiana statute of limitations laws, you only have one year from the date of your accident in which to file your personal injury claim.
Recovering Compensation in a Louisiana Personal Injury Claim
Under the state’s statute of limitations laws, if you wait until after the one year deadline to file a personal injury claim, the defendant can use this as an excuse to ask the court to dismiss your case. If you file within the one-year timeline, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover damages including:
- Current and ongoing medical expenses
- Lost wages and employment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and PTSD
In addition to personal injury, this one-year deadline also applies to claims for property damage, negligence, fraud, construction defects, medical malpractice (though there are exceptions), wrongful death, and product liability (again, exceptions may apply).
Why You Shouldn’t Let the Statute of Limitations Pass on Your Louisiana Personal Injury Claim
There are other reasons why you don’t want to wait to take legal action after an accident. In order to prevail in a personal injury claim, you’ll have to be able to prove that:
- The defendant owed you a certain level of care;
- They were negligent in doing so;
- This negligence caused your injuries; and
- You suffered damages as a result.
You’ll need evidence to prove the defendant’s negligence. Generally, the sooner an attorney investigates an accident scene, the more evidence they’ll be able to collect. The more evidence you have to support your case, the more likely you are to obtain the total compensation for your damages.
Exceptions to the One Year Statute of Limitations for Accident Claims
There are some exceptions to the state’s statutes of limitation laws. For example, if a child is injured in an accident, the statute of limitations doesn’t apply until after they turn 18.
There are also circumstances in which a person may not realize they’ve been injured until years after the injury took place. The discovery rule usually applies in these cases. This means the statute of limitations does not apply until the injury has been diagnosed or discovered. Discovery rules often involve injuries due to defective products or medical malpractice, as well as cases of wrongful death.
Even then, you still only have a limited time in which to act. If you’ve been injured due to asbestos exposure, you’ll only have a year from the time of your diagnosis to act, even though the exposure may have taken place several decades ago. In a medical malpractice claim, you only have three years from the date of the incident, regardless of when the injury was diagnosed.
Discovery rules may also apply in wrongful death cases where there are no witnesses or when a conclusive cause of death can’t be established.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Reach Out to Lambert Zainey Smith & Soso
Filing a personal injury claim in Louisiana can be a challenge if you aren’t familiar with the law. The negligent party and their insurers are often reluctant to pay the full cost of the victim’s damages. You need someone to look out for your interests and protect your rights.
The New Orleans personal injury attorneys at Lambert Zainey Smith & Soso have been protecting the rights and interests of clients since 1977. We’re one of the most well-known litigation practices in New Orleans and the entire state of Louisiana. We’ve represented individual personal injury plaintiffs, large companies in business law cases, and communities in class action and mass action cases. Our team of attorneys has obtained over a billion dollars in settlements for our clients.
Choosing the right law firm to represent your legal interests can make a world of difference in your case. Lambert Zainey has extensive experience representing clients injured in a wide range of accidents, including:
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Louisiana that was the fault of another person or business, time is not on your side. The sooner you take action the better. Contact the law offices of Lambert Zainey Smith & Soso through our website, or call us at (504) 581-1750 to schedule a free consultation with a leading New Orleans personal injury attorney.