Louisiana Statutes of Limitations Explained

If you’ve been injured or suffered a loss because of someone’s careless behavior or negligence, understanding Louisiana’s statutes of limitations can be critical to your claim.

Statutes of limitations address an important component of civil and criminal proceedings: the effects of time. Specifically, how much time can pass before reliable evidence may become compromised.

Below, the attorneys at Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson discuss Louisiana’s statutes of limitations in more detail.

What Are Statutes of Limitations?

Think of statutes of limitations like you would a deadline. If you miss the deadline, you may be prohibited from taking legal action.

The cause of action, or, the reason you’re filling a claim (e.g., car accident, on-the-job injuries, etc.), determines the amount of time after an event for which legal proceedings may be initiated.

The table below will help you navigate the time limits that may apply to your situation.

Cause of Action Statute of Limitation
Contract 10 years
Legal or medical malpractice 1 year
Libel or slander 1 year
Fraud 1 year
Personal injury 1 year
Product liability 1 year
Wrongful death 1 year

 

Unlike other states, Louisiana has a fairly uniform limitation standard for most civil actions. However, when the clock starts ticking and when it stops is a question of debate that often requires qualified legal counsel.

Moreover, there are several exceptions to the limitations outlined above. For example, limitations do not apply to minors, and Louisiana’s discovery rule may postpone the start time for those who can’t act because they’re not aware of the injury/loss on the date of exposure.

There are nuances to each statute that are best left to an experienced attorney for interpretation.

Most cases will not extend beyond the time limits outlined above. So, it’s best to contact an experienced injury lawyer right away.

Why Do Statutes of Limitations Exist?

Statutes of limitations, or, periods known as prescription, appeared in early Roman Law and are, today, fundamental to codes of civil law in the United State and around the world.

Limiting the time actions may be filled promotes relief for plaintiffs and offers unique protections for defendants.

For example, without time restrictions, defendants would face the threat of being sued indefinitely, which could stifle opportunities and growth, especially for businesses.

Another important reason we exercise time restrictions is to reduce uncertainty in our civil justice system. When too much time passes, evidence can get lost, damaged, or compromised.

When evidence is compromised, it doesn’t just affect the plaintiff and defendant: it can also affect how the public perceives the court’s ability to solve complicated legal disputes.

Statutes of limitations are an important part of our civil and criminal justice systems.

If you’ve been injured or suffered a loss due to someone else, time is not on your side. Contact an experienced injury lawyer to discuss your legal options immediately.

At Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, we’ve been protecting the rights of injured people for more than 35 years, and we may be able to help you too.

Call 800-836-3702 for a free case evaluation, or contact our Lake Charles office online.