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What are Louisiana's Statutes of Limitations?

Tony Tramontana

When you suffer a personal injury in Louisiana, the clock starts to tick immediately, counting down the time you have to file a lawsuit that would allow you to seek reparations for any damages, expenses, or loss of income suffered as a result.

Time limits for civil lawsuits are called the Louisiana Statutes of Limitations and they determine how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. Time limits vary depending on the type of injury or legal claim, and they vary from state to state, so it’s important to be informed about your state’s limits and processes for filing a legal claim.

Why Louisiana has Statutes of Limitations

State legislators determine the time limits for various civil claims and crimes. These limits are representative of the public interest and function to serve both the public’s safety and individuals facing charges within the state’s criminal justice system.

Statutes of limitations function to ensure convictions are timely, and that those convictions only occur when the evidence does not depreciate over time.

A statute of limitation requires a criminal to remain in the same state where the crime was committed, and that he or she remain publicly visible, or gainfully employed, so law enforcement has the ability to pursue a public investigation.

Time Limits in Louisiana

Most time limitations on civil statutes in the state of Louisiana can be found in Louisiana’s Civil Code.

Not every legal claim has the same time limit, and there are several kinds of claims that cover a wide range of civil offenses, including assault and battery, fraud, medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury (like car accidents), and wrongful death.

Please see the charts below for a full list of case descriptions and the time limits we observe in the state of Louisiana.

Civil Lawsuits

 Description Time Limit Statute
Contract (in writing)10 yearsLa. Civ. Code art. 3499
Contract (oral)10 yearsLa. Civ. Code art. 3499
False Imprisonment2 yearsLa. Civ. Code art. 3493.10
Assault and Battery2 yearsLa. Civ. Code art. 3493.10
Fraud1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Legal Malpractice1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Libel1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Medical Malpractice1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Personal Injury1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Product Liability1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Property Damage1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Slander1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Trespass1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492
Wrongful Death1 yearLa. Civ. Code art. 3492

Current and new residents of Louisiana should prepare themselves for the possibility of these civil crimes and familiarize themselves with the time limits, so they know what to do in the event that legal action is necessary.

If too much time passes after a crime occurs, the Louisiana Statutes of Limitations will prevent you from pursuing restitution for loss or damage.

For example, personal injury claims and wrongful deaths have a one-year time limit in the state of Louisiana. The date the accident or crime actually happened is the date that begins this one-year period. Once the time limitations have expired, you are no longer able to file a lawsuit, nor can the offender be prosecuted for the crime.

How do Civil Lawsuits Affect Insurance Claims?

In personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is only applied to the lawsuit and will not directly impact an insurance claim.

Louisiana's Comparative Fault Laws

Coinciding with the statutes of limitations, states have comparative fault laws. Louisiana Civil Code 2323 states that Louisiana follows a comparative fault approach, meaning if the court decides that you contributed to your injury, your compensation will be reduced by the court-determined percentage of fault.

For example, if your damages amount to $100,000 and the court determined that you were 50 percent at fault, your total compensation would equal $50,000.

The Code also states that if a person suffers an injury, death, or loss due to another person's negligence, the comparative fault law does not apply.

Timely Lawsuits in the State of Louisiana

It’s important that you act quickly with any civil claims you wish to file in the state of Louisiana. Your inability to file in a timely manner ultimately hurts you and your family if you’re seeking restitution for loss or damages.

If you reside in northeastern Louisiana and have questions about statutes of limitations, or a personal injury claim, we at the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana, Attorney at Law, want to hear from you. For a free case review, please fill out the form to the left, or call me directly at 318-340-1515.

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