When you become involved in a tow truck accident in Lafayette you have a time limit on taking legal action. Louisiana provides you with a specific period in which you can file a lawsuit in civil court regarding your injuries or damage to your personal property, including your vehicle.
Throughout the state, in matters of personal injury, the law provides one year for you to file a lawsuit. This remains true whether the case involves injury to a person, injury to property, wrongful death, or negligence, according to Civ. Code §3492.
Statutes of Limitations Defined
The term statute of limitations refers to the time in which an individual or organization can file a civil action, including a lawsuit. The statute of limitations differs depending on the state.
Each state sets its own deadline, so if you reside in Mississippi but become involved in an accident in Louisiana, the law of Louisiana sets the statute of limitations. Each state also sets a statute of limitations for criminal offenses.
When Does the Period Begin?
The date of the tow truck accident in Lafayette sets the starting date for most statutes of limitations. If a negligent driver hit you as you crossed the street in Lafayette, Louisiana, on July 8, 2022, you would have until July 8, 2023, to file a lawsuit. You probably would not want to wait that long, though, since filing a claim against the insurance of the individual who caused the accident would provide you with a quick payout for medical bills and property damage.
In the case of wrongful death, rather than the date of the accident, the one-year statute of limitations begins on the date of the individual’s death, according to La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2315.2. Therefore, if a loved one got hit by a tow truck crossing the street in Lafayette, Louisiana, on July 8, 2010, but lived until July 9, 2022, the statute of limitations clock begins on July 9, 2022, and ends on July 9, 2023.
Immediately Seek Medical Treatment
For this reason, attorneys consistently advise individuals to seek medical treatment immediately following an accident. Going to the hospital right away documents your injuries. The doctors at the emergency room take x-rays, blood tests, and may do an MRI or CAT scan.
If you do not seek medical care as soon as possible, you leave yourself open to critique from the opposing counsel. The other party’s lawyer will argue that you should have visited the hospital right away and that your injury likely came from a different situation.
Obtaining an Extension of the Statute of Limitations
In certain situations, the court of Louisiana grants an extension called a toll on the statute of limitations. To receive a toll, you must file an order with the court requesting it. You do so under very specific grounds including the following six situations:
- A minor plaintiff
- A mentally incompetent plaintiff
- A plaintiff currently imprisoned for a felony offense
- A defendant declared bankruptcy
- A defendant resides outside of the county or state jurisdiction
- The statute of limitations could expire with negotiations ongoing
Other rarer situations also apply. Ask your attorney about these and if you qualify for an exception.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Settlement
Once you file a complete claim with the defendant’s insurance company, that company has 30 days to extend a written offer to you. Your attorney can help you fill out all the paperwork correctly and file it on time. Some documents may require a notary public seal, although not all insurers require that.
Contact a Louisiana Personal Injury Attorney
Before you file an insurance claim, contact a Louisiana personal injury attorney. These lawyers deal with civil lawsuits every day. They know the filing deadlines and how to present your case. A personal injury lawyer in Louisiana can help you research, document, and present your case for the best outcome.