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Motor Vehicle Accident

What Are the Statutes of Limitations in a Car Accident Case in Louisiana?

By March 6, 2024March 21st, 2024No Comments

Dealing with a car accident aftermath can be terrifying, but things can be just as difficult trying to recover from insurers and negligent parties

If you’ve suffered vehicle damage or injuries, expect resistance from insurance companies and at-fault drivers.

However, acting swiftly following the accident is crucial. The clock is ticking on your ability to file a lawsuit against another driver in Louisiana.

That’s where our Baton Rouge team at Pierce & Shows comes to the rescue! We’re here to steer you through these challenges. 

Understanding Statute of Limitations in Louisiana

“Statute of limitations” is a legal term that refers to the law setting a maximum time limit within which parties involved in a dispute can initiate legal proceedings. In these situations, the date of the alleged offense is vital.

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

As per Article 3492 of the Louisiana Civil Code, the statute of limitations is generally one year from the accident date.

This may initially sound like a lot of time, but it passes quickly when dealing with healthcare treatments, insurance negotiations, and various investigations. Hiring a car accident lawyer soon after the accident ensures we gather relevant evidence and can file before the deadline.

Important: Never sign paperwork an insurance company provides without your lawyer reviewing it first. The insurance company may attempt to manipulate you into taking a settlement in exchange for giving up your right to sue. 

Don’t inadvertently sign away your rights before your car accident attorney thoroughly examines and explains the settlement agreement.

What to Do When a Louisiana Car Accident Becomes a Wrongful Death Suit

Unfortunately, the law doesn’t grant much flexibility, even in fatal car crashes. 

Lawsuits involving wrongful death, like those for personal injury and property damage, also generally have a one-year statute of limitations.

However, this statute of limitations starts on the date of death, not the date of the accident. 

So, for example, if a passenger sustains injuries from an accident and passes away one month later, the one-year window to file a wrongful death lawsuit begins on the date of their passing. This timeframe underscores the critical need to promptly seek legal counsel to prevent the expiration of your right to file a claim.

What Factors Impact Your Wrongful Death Case Timeline?

The length of your wrongful death lawsuit can vary significantly. Here are the primary factors that affect how quickly or slowly your case progresses:

  • Discovery:  Each side’s auto accident and personal injury attorneys gather evidence through a process called discovery. The more complex the case, the longer discovery may take.
  • Settling Out of Court: Settling with the other party often shortens the legal process considerably compared to going to trial.
  • Court’s Caseload:  Busy courts will naturally encounter delays. The jurisdiction where you file plays a role in your case’s timeline.

Settling vs. Going to Trial

Settling out of court might seem appealing to speed things up. However, ensure you fully understand the settlement offer and your case’s potential value before accepting. Your car accident attorney in Louisiana is your best guide on whether a settlement is fair and in your best interests.

Insurance Claims vs. the Statute of Limitations in Louisiana

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

To make it simpler for you, here’s the key difference:

  • Lawsuits: Governed by statutes of limitation.
  • Insurance Claims: Not bound by the same restrictions.

However, you may want to file a lawsuit if an insurer denies a claim. You must act quickly to maximize your chances of successfully navigating this process. 

If you believe an insurance company is stalling on your claim, your Louisiana car accident attorney can explain the terms of your claim to you and may be able to legally compel them to move the case more quickly.

Pierce & Shows is Here to Help with Your Louisiana Car Accident Case

Feeling lost and overwhelmed after an auto accident in Louisana is normal. Don’t worry; at Pierce & Shows, we are ready to support you in all your legal proceedings. 

Our decades of experience will support you with the right legal actions to take to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact our Baton Rouge office at 225-388-9574 for a free, no-pressure consultation!

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