Louisiana Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits

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After any car accident in Louisiana, a number of different state laws could affect any insurance settlement or lawsuit stemming from the crash. This page serves as a guide to all of the Louisiana-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, including car accident laws and car insurance rules in the state. We’ll also provide tips on when it may be time to contact a Louisiana lawyer for help with your car accident claim.

Louisiana Car Accident Laws

After a car accident in Louisiana, if you decide to file a third party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, there are a few state laws you need to be aware of, starting with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started in Louisiana’s civil court system. This type of law is called a statute of limitations, and every state has one.

Louisiana’s personal injury statute of limitations is one of the most rigid in the country. It gives you only one year after the occurrence of an injury (a car accident, for example) to go to court and get the lawsuit started by filing the initial complaint and summons in court. For more details on Louisiana’s personal injury statute of limitations, check out the full text of the law at Louisiana Civil Code section 3492.     

If you don’t get your complaint filed before the statutory deadline passes, it’s safe to assume that the court will refuse to hear your case altogether. Especially given Louisiana’s one-year window, it’s crucial to pay attention to the statute of limitations as it applies to your car accident case, even if you’re convinced it’s going to settle. You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit.

Get details on other Louisiana laws that could impact your car accident settlement or lawsuit in our article Car Accident Laws in Louisiana.    

Louisiana Car Insurance Requirements and Rules

If you’re filing a lawsuit or seeking a settlement for injury or vehicle damage after a car accident in Louisiana, car insurance coverage is sure to play a big role. Here is a quick snapshot of some key Louisiana laws related to car insurance:

  • Under Louisiana law, drivers are required to carry the following minimum coverage amounts on any vehicle they own and operate: $15,000 for the injury or death of a single person (yourself, a passenger, another driver, pedestrian, etc.), $30,000 for the injury or death of multiple people in a single accident, and $25,000 for property damage (i.e. damage to a vehicle)
  • As for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) protection in Louisiana, state law requires car insurance companies to provide it with any new policy that is issued, unless the customer explicity waives UIM coverage in writing.

For more details on car insurance in Louisiana, check out our companion article Louisiana Car Insurance Rules.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Louisiana

You don’t necessarily need a lawyer for every car accident claim. Let’s say the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the crash, and you didn’t suffer significant injuries. It’s probably fine to handle that kind of settlement yourself.

But if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the accident, or if you suffered serious injuries, things can get complicated (not to mention contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Louisiana. Remember that most car accident lawyers represent their clients on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay unless you receive a successful settlement or court award.

A good attorney knows how to handle the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, and will make sure your rights are protected at every stage in the claim process, including filing a lawsuit in the Louisiana civil court system if that is the right strategy.

by: , J.D.

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