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Understanding Prescription for Personal Injury Claims

Author: Cheyenne Moeller Meek

If you have been injured in an accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damage. You get that compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the person responsible. 

In Louisiana, there are limits to how long you have to bring the lawsuit. This limit, known as  prescription, sets specific guidelines for when you can bring a personal injury lawsuit.  In other states, this time bar is referred to as statute of limitations.

To help you understand the prescription period, here’s an overview of how it works and how to comply with it in Louisiana. Contact a Louisiana personal injury lawyer at Saunders & Chabert for advice about your case.  Of course, if you need guidance with statute of limitations in Mississippi, Scotty Chabert is licensed there and can answer that question.

Prescription in Louisiana 

In most Louisiana personal injury cases, the prescription period is one year. Louisiana law states that this period “commences to run from the day injury or damage is sustained.” This one-year statute of limitations applies to all personal injury cases, including car accidents, slip and falls, premise liability and assaults. 

It’s important to note that in some cases the one-year period starts when you know or reasonably should know of your injuries or damages. In most situations, this is the date of an accident or injury. However, in product liability cases, it’s often a later date when you reasonably discover your injury. 

What Happens If You File Beyond the Prescription Period 

If you file a case more than one year after your injury, the court is likely to dismiss your case. You can still file your Petition or Complaint, but the defendant will most likely respond by filing a Motion to Dismiss the case because it is outside of the statute of limitations. 

While there are some rare exceptions, in most cases the court will grant the dismissal. Unfortunately, you have few options at this point. You can no longer sue the responsible party for compensation for your injuries. 

Even if you believe you can settle your case out of court, you should contact Saunders & Chabert before the end of the prescriptive period. If you wait too long, you will not possess the same negotiating power. If the defendant knows a court will dismiss your case, they have no motivation to settle.  Insurance companies are not always out to help you.  When you are within the statute of limitations period, you have leverage for negotiating. If you can not reach an agreement, you can simply sue the defendant. 

When the defendant knows you can’t bring a lawsuit, they have no reason to settle a case. In these circumstances, the defendant has all the power in negotiations, and it’s unlikely you’ll get a fair settlement. 

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer As Soon As Possible

If you’ve been involved in an accident or injured by negligent or intentional acts of another party, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will assess your case, discuss the prescription period with you, and offer advice for moving forward.

This ensures that you bring your case timely and are able to get the compensation you are entitled to. Prescription gives you one year to sue the responsible party, but if you miss that deadline, there are very few ways to get the compensation you need and deserve. 

Bringing your case promptly and before the prescriptive period or statute of limitations in Mississippi is one of the most important actions you can take in a personal injury case. For this reason, you should contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. 

Call the Saunders & Chabert team today to learn more about your personal injury case. You can also visit our Baton Rouge office or contact us online

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