HOW LONG DOES A PERIOD HAVE TO FILE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT IN LOUISIANA?
When a person is injured in an accident due to the fault of another, whether it be negligence, intentional or reckless conduct, that person is entitled to recover damages. Personal injury accidents arise from auto accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, slip & falls, construction site accidents, drownings, boat accidents, dog bites, head injuries, brain injuries, neck injuries, spine injuries, and loss of a limb.
There are two types of damages, general damages and special damages, that an injured person can recover. General damages are those damages like pain and suffering that you cannot calculate, the damages that have no specific dollar value. These damages are determined by the jury based on how seriously the jury thinks that the person is injured. General damages also include emotional distress, lessened quality of life, loss of consortium, and psychological damages.
Then there are special damages. These are the economic or “out-of-pocket” damages that the injured person sustained as a result of the accident. These damages include property damages, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, medical bills and prescription bills. Special damages can be assigned a specific dollar value. For example, if the damage to the injured person’s car is $10,000, that is one aspect of special damages. Furthermore, if the doctor’s bill for a back surgery or a knee surgery is $25,000, then these are special damages. Special damages or economic or out-of-pocket may also be recovered by the injured person (or plaintiff) in a personal injury action.
Lawsuits for personal injury must be brought within a specific time after the injury. If the plaintiff fails to bring the lawsuit within this specific time, he may be prevented from receiving any money damages for his injuries. In Louisiana, this period of time is called the prescriptive period. In other states, this period of time is called the “statute of limitations.” Although the terms are different, they both mean the specific time that an injured person has to bring a lawsuit against another person or company.
Louisiana is different from other states in the United States because it is the only civil law jurisdiction in the United States. Louisiana’s civil law legal system is based on two civil law countries, Spain and France.
Statute of Limitations for Louisiana Personal Injury Claims
Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice claims in Louisiana must be brought within one year of the injury. The rules governing the time within which a medical malpractice action can be brought are set forth in La. R.S. 9:5628(A), which provides in pertinent part:
No action for damages for injury or death against any physician …. whether based upon tort, or breach of contract, or otherwise, arising out of patient care shall be brought unless filed within one year from the date of the alleged act, omission or neglect or within one year from the date of discovery of the alleged act, omission or neglect; however, even as to claims filed within one year from the date of such discovery, in all events such claims shall be filed at the latest within a period of three years from the date of the alleged act, omission or neglect. (Emphasis added)
La. R.S. 9:5628(A) means that in an action against a physician under the medical malpractice act, the plaintiff has one year from the alleged act, omission or neglect or one year from discovery of the alleged act, omission or neglect within which to bring an action.
But the second period of time that must be applied to all actions under the medical malpractice act is “peremptive” in nature and may not be interrupted or suspended. No action may be brought once three years have passed after the alleged act of malpractice under any circumstances…
Personal Injury Lawsuits
The prescriptive period applicable for personal injury lawsuits is one year. That means that a person has one year after an injury to bring a lawsuit. In other words, a party who has received a personal injury because of the fault of another can sue that person or company for up to one year later, or until the first anniversary of the date of the incident. If the lawsuit is not filed by that time, the plaintiff is forever barred from suing the part at fault. So it is important to consult a lawyer so that your rights are protected.
The time to bring a lawsuit in Louisiana is much shorter than some other states. For example, in the state of Mississippi, an injured party usually has three years to bring a personal injury lawsuit.
When you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, you may be wondering who you can turn to in your time of need. At the Law Office of Gaynell Williams, L.L.C., we have the experience you need to fight for the compensation you deserve for not only the costs you’ve incurred, but for the pain and suffering you and your family have been made to endure. We will search for every possible source of financial restitution, be it through insurance settlements, personal injury claims, arbitration, mediation or litigation. Our goal is to see to it that the financial costs you have been burdened with after a serious accident are covered completely, so you can focus on what is most important – healing. Call (504) 302-2462.
This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please consult your attorney in connection with any specific situation under federal and/or Louisiana law and the applicable state or local laws that may impose additional obligations on you and/or your family member. © 2019 Gaynell Williams LLC Attorney at Law.