In New Orleans, car accidents happen unfortunately often. There were 73 car collision fatalities in 2022 in Orleans parish and 45 deaths this year as of September 2023. If you’re involved in a crash, you may need the help of a New Orleans car accident lawyer from Dudley DeBosier Injury Lawyers to represent you in a personal injury claim.
After a car accident, you have a specific time frame in which to file a claim. Evidence may deteriorate over time, and the state has a strict statute of limitations for seeking compensation. Understanding what to do and why acting fast is essential can help you secure a fair settlement for your injuries after a crash in New Orleans.
After a car accident in New Orleans, your time is limited for taking legal action. You must move quickly to initiate a claim against another driver who caused your injuries. The following ensure that valuable evidence is gathered and that you have the right legal representation to start your claim:
- Collect evidence. The scene of an accident can change quickly. Skid marks, shattered glass, and bent metal are cleaned or washed away after a few minutes or hours. By acting swiftly, you can photograph or collect vital evidence that your attorney can use to support your claim against another driver.
- Retain clear memories. Memories, especially under trauma, can fade or distort. Documenting your account of events immediately and getting statements from witnesses when their recollection is fresh ensures an accurate and descriptive representation of what transpired.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Sometimes injuries aren’t immediately evident post-collision. Symptoms of internal injuries, like head trauma or whiplash, might only manifest days later. Getting a medical examination promptly can catch potential injuries early, ensuring your well-being and providing essential critical documentation for your compensation claim.
- Speak with an attorney early. The sooner you engage with a car accident attorney in New Orleans, the earlier they can start working on your case. Consulting a lawyer immediately after the collision allows them to gather and preserve evidence, consult expert witnesses, and represent your interests in negotiations with insurance adjusters.
The statute of limitations refers to the maximum time you have to initiate legal proceedings after an event. In Louisiana, this timeframe is particularly important for car accident victims seeking compensation from at-fault parties.
- A one-year window. The statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim in Louisiana is generally one year from the date of the accident. This relatively short timeframe underscores the necessity to act swiftly, gather all the requisite evidence, and present a strong case before the deadline approaches.
- Wrongful death actions. The statute of limitations for fatal car accidents is also one year. The surviving family members have one year from the date of the deceased’s passing to file a wrongful death action. Failure to do so can result in an inability to hold at-fault parties accountable.
- Mechanical failure. If your accident occurred due to mechanical failure or a defective part, you have a one-year statute of limitations from the date when the cause of the accident is determined. This follows the discovery rule for product liability in Louisiana.
- Injured minor exception. When a minor is injured in a car accident, the one-year countdown to file a claim doesn’t begin until their 18th birthday. This provision aims to protect the rights of minors, ensuring they have a full year after reaching the age of majority to initiate legal proceedings if necessary. However, the guardians of the minor may have the right to file a claim on behalf of the minor before they turn 18.
- Shared liability rule. The statute of limitations may be extended in accidents involving multiple vehicles. However, you must file a claim against one liable party before the one-year deadline. Once that condition is satisfied, you may be allowed more time to file additional claims if more than one party shares liability.
A civil lawsuit is governed by the statute of limitations, which grants you one year from the date of the accident to initiate legal action against the at-fault party.
Your auto insurance policy will have its own set of deadlines, which can be much shorter. Typically, insurance companies require prompt notice of an accident, and delays can compromise your claim. Notify your insurer as soon as possible, ideally within days of the accident, to protect your rights under the policy.
Your attorney can help you balance these timelines to protect your right to file. This can help you maximize your potential compensation following a car accident in New Orleans.
The statute of limitations is only one of many possible deadlines in a personal injury claim. Understanding the statutes of limitations for your New Orleans car crash can be critical to recovering damages.
Contact our legal team today to learn what you need to know about the statute of limitations in New Orleans and how it affects your car accident case. During your free consultation, our attorneys can explain the laws and answer questions about your legal options for getting compensation.
Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.
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