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What If You Miss the Filing Deadline for a Personal Injury Claim?

by | Apr 18, 2018 | Motor Vehicle Accidents, Serious Injuries

The state of Louisiana has one of the shortest statutes of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. Accident victims typically have just one year from the date of the incident to sue the party liable for the damages they have incurred.

As if this deadline was not tight enough, those who want to bring a suit against a government entity have even less time to do so. Their precise deadline depends on the municipality in question and the local filing procedures.

When you are busy recovering from serious injuries, a year can pass incredibly quickly. Fortunately, there are a few exceptions to this statute of limitations.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a motor vehicle collision more than a year ago but you want to ensure you have explored all potential avenues of compensation, turn to Downs Law Firm. A Monroe accident lawyer will review the details of the case to determine if one of the exceptions applies to you. Call 318-284-8551 to schedule a free consultation.

What If You Miss the Filing Deadline for a Personal Injury Claim?

In most cases, accident victims who try to file a claim after the deadline has passed are out of luck. The court will typically dismiss the case, and the injured party may have no other option for holding the liable party financially accountable.

In a few scenarios, though, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. These exceptions have to do with:

  • The date of discovery;
  • The defendant’s absence; and
  • The claimant’s age.

The Date of Discovery 

In certain cases, serious injuries are not apparent immediately following the incident that caused them. For example, if a patient undergoes a botched surgical procedure, he or she may not realize anything is wrong until several months into recovery.

Under the discovery rule, the “clock” does not start counting down until the date on which the claimant knew or should have known that he or she suffered damages. Since injured parties should seek medical attention immediately following a motor vehicle collision, this rule rarely applies to car accident cases; however, it could apply to victims of medical malpractice.

For this reason, Louisiana actually has a three-year statute of repose for medical malpractice cases. That means although the discovery rule applies, claimants cannot file a lawsuit more than three years after the alleged incident occurred.

The Defendant’s Absence

Many states allow claimants to “pause” the clock if the defendant leaves the state after the incident; however, since it can be hard to prove someone is absent, it is not wise to build your case around this fact and miss the filing deadline because of it.

The Claimant’s Age

The one-year statute of limitations does not apply to accident victims who are younger than 18 at the time of the incident. If your child was hurt in a motor vehicle collision, it is still wise to discuss the case with a lawyer as soon as possible so you know how to proceed when the time comes.

If you were hurt in a crash with a reckless driver, turn to Downs Law Firm as soon as you feel well enough to discuss the case. Our legal team is here to help people put their lives back together.

Contact us online or call 318-284-8551 to schedule a free case evaluation with a Monroe accident attorney. You can learn more about collision claims in Louisiana by visiting the USAttorneys website.

Downs Law Firm

517 North Washington Street
Bastrop, LA 71220