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Houma Car Accident Statute of Limitations

In Louisiana, the general statute of limitation is one year. That means that if a person has been in a car accident, they have one year to settle the case with the people at fault or to institute a lawsuit in a proper forum. If a person waits beyond a year, the statute of limitation law may be used to defeat their claim. The insurance company, the people at fault, the individuals,  and companies have the right to assert, as a defense in any lawsuit, that the case has been brought beyond the one-year limitation.

Speak with a qualified car accident lawyer to find out more about the Houma car accident statute of limitations.

Special Exceptions

The Houma car accident statute of limitations does not offer many exceptions, however, there is a special exception of two years if a person can prove that the cause of the car crash was a crime of violence. The only crime of violence that fits within this category is if there was a death as a result of the car wreck and the operator of the other vehicle was intoxicated by alcohol whose blood alcohol content on testing was greater than .20.

This would be known as vehicular homicide. In that case, the family of the deceased person would have two years from the date of the crash to bring their damage suit for survival damages and wrongful death.

Calculating Statute of Limitations

The date of crash or injury is the beginning point of the calculation of the Houma car accident statute of limitations and the last day is one year from the date of the crash. If a person got in a car accident on February 16, 2018 and they brought it on February 17, 2019, they would be too late.

Different Types of Cases In Houma

In South Louisiana, there are many different types of cases where the statute of limitations may differ:

  • Maritime matters
  • Medical negligence
  • Uninsured drivers
  • Uninsured motorists

Maritime Matters

In South Louisiana, there is the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, many bayous, lakes, and canals, not to mention the Gulf of Mexico. For maritime matters, i.e. injuries that occur on vessels in navigable bodies of water, the time limitation is different. In a maritime matter, the statute of limitation is three years from the date of injury or death rather than one year. As a consequence how somebody gets injured and where they get injured can make a big difference.

Medical Negligence

In a medical negligence case, if somebody were to suffer injury due to the fault of a healthcare provider, the general limitation is one year from date of the negligent act. There is also an outside limitation of three years which takes into account a negligent act that is discovered beyond the one-year limitation. Take as an example: someone underwent a surgical procedure and a year and a half after the surgery, they found out through the negligence of the surgeon or hospital staff, something was left in their abdomen, such as a sponge or surgical instrument.

If the problems associated with the foreign object negligently left during the surgical procedure did not develop until beyond the one-year limitation, the one-year limitation would not apply. The injured party would be bringing the medical negligence case would have one year from the date of discovery but in no event more than three years from the date of the negligent act.

Uninsured Drivers

Another different time limitation is where an injured party is involved in a car crash where the at-fault party had no insurance. This relates directly to the Houma car accident statute of limitations. The at-fault party is considered to be an uninsured motorist. In Louisiana liability insurance is required for each vehicle on the roadway. When liability insurance is purchased, the insurance company is required to offer uninsured motorist coverage. A claim against your own uninsured motorist carrier has a time limitation of two years.

Uninsured Motorists

Another claim that often involves uninsured motorist coverage is a claim where the at-fault party has liability insurance, but the damages of the injured party are greater than the available liability insurance of the party at fault. In that case, the injured party may utilize his own uninsured motorist coverage and make a claim. The uninsured motorist coverage converts to underinsured motorist coverage and. The time limitation to institute a proceeding for an underinsured motorist coverage is two years.

Speak with an Attorney

Not all cases are the same. Some questions can be answered by simply doing research on the Houma car accident statute of limitations, others can be answered through a consultation with an experienced attorney. If you have any more questions regarding this topic, speak with a Houma car accident lawyer.