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What's the time limit to bring a car accident injury claim?

When a person suffers personal injuries in an auto accident caused by a negligent driver, Louisiana law provides a remedy: the injured victim can bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver and recover damages, including compensation for pain and suffering, lost income and medical expenses. But state law sets a strict time limit on bringing such a lawsuit, and missing this legal deadline can have severe consequences.

Time limits to bring a lawsuit are generally called statutes of limitation, although Louisiana law refers to them as liberative prescriptions. Louisiana's time limit to bring a lawsuit for personal injury arising out of a car accident is generally one year from the date of the accident. If the victim fails to file their lawsuit within that time, they will lose the right to sue the negligent driver. Different time limits apply if the victim was a minor on the day of the accident.

Louisiana's personal injury statute of limitations is extremely short compared to most other states. It is therefore critical for an accident victim to act without delay if they want to preserve their rights.

One year may seem like plenty of time, but it really isn't. It takes some time to investigate a case and prepare a suit. It is also important to begin the accident investigation as soon as possible, while witnesses can still be located and their memories are fresh. Consulting an experienced Louisiana car accident lawyer can help ensure the necessary work is done in order to get the lawsuit filed before time expires.

Source: Louisiana State Legislature, La. Civ. Code Art. 3492, accessed March 21, 2016

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