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What are the statutes of limitations in a car accident case in Louisiana?

By February 16, 2022March 2nd, 2022Motor Vehicle Accident

A car accident is a terrifying experience, but things can be just as difficult trying to recover from insurers and negligent drivers. 

If your car has been seriously damaged, or if you or a passenger has been injured, then you should expect insurers and the other parties to fight you every step of the way. 

Our team of Baton Rouge car accident attorneys at Pierce & Shows is here to help you manage your case, but it’s important to act as soon as possible following the accident. The clock is ticking on how long you can bring a lawsuit against another driver after an accident in Louisiana. In most circumstances, this statute of limitations is just one year after the accident.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

“Statute of limitations” is the legal term that refers to the law governing the maximum amount of time that parties involved in a dispute have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. 

In the scope of Louisiana car accident lawsuits, the statute of limitations is the time allowed to file a lawsuit against other parties after an auto accident.

Under Article 3492 of the Louisiana Civil Code, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit stemming from a car accident is one year. 

This may initially sound like a lot of time, but it may pass quite quickly when dealing with healthcare treatments, insurance negotiations, and various investigations. You would be best served by hiring a lawyer as soon as possible, so that all of the relevant evidence can be collected and the case filed by the deadline.

It’s important to note that you don’t want to sign any paperwork provided by an insurance company without consulting your lawyer first.

The insurance company may attempt to manipulate you into taking a settlement in exchange for relinquishing your right to bring a lawsuit against them. In a worst case scenario, you may not realize that you signed away your rights until your attorney examines the fine print on your settlement agreement.

When a Louisiana car accident case becomes a wrongful death suit

You may believe that the law would grant more flexibility if there was a fatality involved in a car crash, but that is not the reality in most cases.  

As with personal injury and property damage, lawsuits involving wrongful death also only have a statute of limitations of one year.

However, this statute of limitations does not start from the date of the auto accident – it begins on the day the person died. 

So, for example, if a passenger sustains injuries from an accident but doesn’t pass away until one month later, you would have 12 months following their demise to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Do Insurance Claims Fall Under the Statute of Limitations?

It can be confusing to distinguish between legal proceedings like lawsuits and administrative procedures like insurance claims. 

While lawsuits are governed by a statute of limitations, insurance claims are not. 

However, you may want to file a lawsuit if a claim is denied by an insurer, so you want to do everything in your power to speed up the claims process. 

If you believe that an insurance company is dragging its feet in responding to your claim, your Baton Rouge car accident attorney may be able to legally compel them to move more quickly.

Contact Pierce & Shows to get started on your car accident case today

If you feel lost or confused about what to do after an auto accident, give us a call at Pierce & Shows. We have decades of experience to get you all of the compensation you deserve. Contact our Baton Rouge office to learn more about your rights to compensation and a free consultation.

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