After an accident involving a commercial vehicle, you have a lot on your mind. One thing you may not know or understand is that as soon as a crash occurs, a clock starts ticking.
While you may be able to file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries, you only have a certain amount of time to do so. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations, and it is one of the most important laws that govern personal injury claims. If you do not file your claim within the statute of limitations, you will likely lose your right to claim any damages at all. Below, our Baton Rouge commercial vehicle accident lawyer explains more.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the statute of limitations is just one year from the date of an accident. Many people think that one year is a long time, but that is not the case. You will need to contact an attorney who will conduct a thorough investigation to determine how the crash occurred. Your lawyer will also compile evidence that will strengthen your case and help ensure success in your case.
You should also reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before filing your claim. MMI refers to the fact that although your injuries will not get any worse, they also will not get any better. This is important to ensure that your claim includes the compensation you need now and any you will need in the future to fully recover from your injuries. All of this takes a great deal of time, so it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible after an accident with a commercial vehicle.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana is very strict. In the majority of cases, the clock on the statute of limitations starts running the moment a crash occurs. However, there are times when the statute of limitations is tolled or delayed. These include when:
- The victim was a minor child: The statute of limitations does not apply in accident cases when the victim was a minor child. Children do not have the mental capacity to file a lawsuit, and the statute of limitations starts on the child’s 18th birthday. They then have until their 19th birthday to file a claim, regardless of how old they were when the crash occurred.
- Multiple negligent parties: If your commercial vehicle accident included other vehicles as well, you only have to file a claim against one of them before the statute of limitations expires. As such, if an investigation unearths additional evidence, victims can sue other parties in the future.
- The discovery rule: In some cases, it is fairly easy to determine the type and cause of injury you suffered. For example, you may have suffered a concussion during a commercial vehicle accident, but the injury does not show symptoms right away. In this case, the statute of limitations would not start until the date you discovered or should have discovered, the injury.
The Statute of Limitations in Wrongful Death Claims
It is not uncommon for commercial vehicle accidents to cause a wrongful death. Commercial vehicles such as 18-wheelers, tow trucks, and garbage trucks are very large and extremely heavy. As a result, they cause some of the most serious injuries. In certain cases, victims do not survive the crash. These are known as wrongful deaths.
Wrongful death claims have the same one-year statute of limitations as other auto accident cases. The only difference is that the clock on the statute of limitations starts on the date of the death and not the date of the accident. The individuals who have a right to file a wrongful death claim in Louisiana are as follows:
- The spouse and adult children of the deceased,
- The parents of the deceased, if there are no surviving spouses or children,
- The siblings of the deceased, if there are no surviving parents, and
- The grandparents of the deceased, if there are no surviving siblings.
Our Commercial Vehicle Accident Lawyer in Baton Rouge Can File Your Claim On Time
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a commercial vehicle accident, you need sound legal advice. At Big River Trial Attorneys, our Baton Rouge commercial vehicle accident lawyer can provide it while helping you obtain the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call us now at (225) 963-9638 or contact us online to request a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.