Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims
November 14, 2018 @ 9:34 am
Updated on: March 5, 2021
When something bad happens, our instinct is to tell ourselves—or others—that everything will be okay. The problem is that when an accident does happen, we often have no way of knowing whether everything really will be okay a month from now, a year from now or ever.
For that reason alone, you should take any personal injury situation seriously as soon as it happens. Waiting until later may be too late, all thanks to your state’s statute of limitations on personal injury claims.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time you have to seek action against someone for legal wrongdoing. Essentially, it sets an expiration date on what happened to you. If you don’t make a claim within the time limit, you won’t be able to make one at all.
Louisiana Statute of Limitations (Prescription)
Each state establishes its own deadlines for filing various types of civil and criminal legal cases. Personal injury claims are a specific type of lawsuit, and statutes of limitations can vary quite a bit from state to state—with some time limits as short as one year versus others as long as six years. In Louisiana, the term “prescription” is used to describe legal deadlines instead of “statute of limitations,” but the concept is the same.
As a general rule, Louisiana allows only one year for you to be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, or the claim is “prescribed,” meaning the right to do so is lost. Because the laws establish different prescription dates for different types of legal actions, it is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible if you intend to file a personal injury claim.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim
The very idea of taking legal action against someone (especially if that “someone” is a large company or organization) can at first seem scary or overwhelming. However, it may be the only way for you to get the medical care or other compensations you need to be able to provide for yourself and your family. The steps to make a claim are fairly simple:
- If someone does something—or fails to do something—and it results in harm to you, consult a personal injury attorney. Most offer free initial consultations.
- Provide honest and complete information to your attorney. He or she needs to be able to determine whether someone failed to act as a reasonable, responsible person should have in that situation. Your attorney will be able to identify exactly which rules or laws may have been broken. They will also be able to tell you what documentation they need to assemble a case and file a complaint for you.
- Your attorney will attempt to negotiate a settlement. Most cases are settled without going to trial. It will be up to you and your attorney, however, to determine if a settlement offer is fair based on the circumstances of your case.
- If the other party refuses to offer a fair settlement, your personal injury attorney can take your case to trial. In court, your attorney will have the opportunity to prove that you were in fact harmed by the other person’s actions and that you deserve financial compensation to pay for credible expenses like lost pay, medical bills or future care.
Take Personal Injuries Seriously
Even seemingly simple physical injuries can take weeks to months to heal. For some traumas, months or years may pass before the full extent of an injury can be accurately assessed. In the meantime, memories can fade, details erode, witnesses relocate and evidence disappears. All too easily, a case can become stale and lose its apparent credibility despite a victim’s injured status. To prevent that from happening, treat every personal injury situation seriously:
- First and foremost, if you need medical treatment for your injuries, you should promptly seek appropriate treatment.
- Write down your account of what happened as soon as possible. Include every detail.
- Keep written copies, documentation and points of contact for everything and everyone associated with your injury.
- Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to assess your options.
You have a right to fair and equal treatment under the law, and that includes compensation for losses due to someone else’s negligence. Don’t let others deny you what you are due. Reach out to the legal team at Morrow, Morrow, Ryan, Bassett & Haik by visiting our website or calling us today at 800-655-4783 to schedule your free consultation.