How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident?

How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident?

car accident statute of limitationsCar accident damages may be physical property damage, such as a totaled car or broken parts. But damages may also be emotional or mental, such as pain and suffering and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or financial, such as lost wages and medical expenses. 

Many victims suffer emotional, physical, and financial damages, which drives the need for filing a lawsuit. However, you may not be sure if it’s worth the time and energy. 

It’s important to know how quickly you need to file your claim. If you file a lawsuit past the deadline, your case can be dismissed, regardless of how seriously you were injured, leaving you without any compensation.


How Louisiana’s Statute of Limitations Affects Car Accident Cases

Louisiana calls the time period for filing a lawsuit “liberative prescription,” although most lawyers call it “prescription.” It is the Napoleonic Code version of what other states call a statute of limitations. In most cases, your time to file a case and claim compensation expires one year after the accident.

According to the Louisiana Civil Code Article 3492, delictual actions have a liberative prescription of one year from the date the injury or damage is sustained. Delictual actions cover any harm or loss that is done by another person or entity that has intentionally or negligently breached the duty of care.

There is an exception to this rule. Louisiana law gives you two years to file a lawsuit against an insurer that you believe owes you uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverages.


Settling With Insurance Providers

In many cases, people try to settle with car insurance providers. Some car insurance claims processes can be lengthy, and, as fault may be shared in accidents, when there is a dispute over fault, it typically boils down to two potential disagreements: 

  1. The parties can’t agree about what happened;  
  2. Or assuming what happened, the parties can’t agree about what percentages of fault apply.


Then, if the insurance company refuses to voluntarily pay a fair amount to settle your case, legal action is the only way to get properly compensated for your losses. The Johnson Firm prepares every case to go to trial, so we know exactly what it takes to make sure you’re compensated justly. 

Be aware of how much time has passed and remember that you only have one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Consider meeting with a car accident lawyer as soon as you can. The quicker you call, the quicker our experienced lawyers can walk you though how to request medical information, walk you through calls with insurance, and prepare you for a potential trial if the insurance company is unwilling to fairly compensate you for your injuries. 


Damages To Sue for After An Accident

Car accidents can bring a wide range of damages, from minor dents on the car or scratches on your forearm, to a totaled car and permanent disfigurement.  Taking legal action may be your best bet, as initial insurance settlement offers are often less than satisfactory.

Common damages to sue for after a car accident include but are not limited to:

  • Vehicle damage
  • Damage to personal possessions
  • Lost wages
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering, as well as other non-economic damages
  • Wrongful death

The severity of the damages will often determine whether or not you decide to file a lawsuit. For life-changing damages, legal action is a must.


How a Lawyer Can Help You Win Your Case

A car accident lawyer is your guiding light throughout the legal process for your lawsuit. From the beginning, they guide you in the best direction possible for your case. Your lawyer can help with everything from on-scene investigations to answering questions, gathering evidence, performing in-depth research, and preparing for trial, if necessary. 

With the help of a lawyer, you can determine the right claims against the at-fault party, provide strong evidence that proves the fault of the other party, and get the compensation you deserve for the damages you’ve suffered. 

Proving negligence is not easy, especially against a strong defense. The Johnson Firm will help you form a case that stands up to the tough competition and wins justice on your behalf.

Get in Touch with Our Top Lake Charles Car Accident Team 

If you’re suffering damages after a car accident and want to recover all of the compensation you are owed, The Johnson Firm will help you win. You can rest assured that we will fight tirelessly for your right to fair compensation against those that harmed you.

Call our Lake Charles car accident lawyers at 337-427-8961 or send us a message to schedule a consultation now!


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Every person deserves and experienced and compassionate lawyer to represent them in their personal injury claim. Choose a lawyer who isn’t afraid to take those to trial who try to deny or minimize your claim.

Our attorneys will thoroughly examine every detail of your case and fight to make sure your injuries are justly compensated. We have a passion for the truth and will challenge anyone who attempts to obscure it.