A statute of limitations is a legally imposed deadline by which you must file a lawsuit. If you file the lawsuit after this deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case. You might have heard that the statute of limitations for collecting debts is seven years; in fact, the laws about when it is and is not possible to collect a debt are somewhat more complicated than that, but it is an example of a statute of limitations. As for why statutes of limitations exist, imagine that, one rainy summer day when you were 10 years old, you tracked mud on the kitchen floor your mother had just mopped. Life went on as normal until one day, when you were 40, she called you and demanded that you go to bed without any supper as a punishment for messing up her clean floor. The only appropriate response would be, “Too late.” Car accident lawsuits are among the types of lawsuits in Louisiana that are subject to a statute of limitations.
How do You Measure a Year?
Article 3492 of the Louisiana Civil Code indicates that the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is one year from the date of the accident. In other words, you must file a lawsuit no more than one year after the date of the accident. A year goes by more quickly than you might expect. Specifically, the true extent of a person’s injuries may not be understood until months after the date of the accident.
Consider that pain, such as that caused by a whiplash injury, can manifest itself several days after an accident. It might last for a few days or a few years. You might be able to go back to work in a week, or you might need to train for a whole new career that is not as physically demanding as your previous line of work. If you seem to be getting worse instead of better several weeks after the accident, it is best to consult a personal injury lawyer, despite your optimism that you will make a full recovery. Remember that you can sue for damages for past and future medical expenses and past and future lost income.
Do not Sign the Insurance Settlement Offer
Missing the statute of limitations deadline is not the only reason that car accident lawsuits get dismissed. Signing the offer letter to accept a settlement from your insurance company may result in a waiver of your right to file a lawsuit related to the accident. If you get in an accident today, sign the insurance settlement offer tomorrow, and file a lawsuit the day after tomorrow, the court will likely dismiss your lawsuit, even though you are within the statute of limitations.
Contact Patrick Yancey About Car Accident Cases
Time is of the essence when it comes to car accident injury lawsuits. Contact the Law Office of Patrick H. Yancey in Houma, Louisiana to discuss your case.