Louisiana Personal Injury Laws and Liability Rules

Get the details on Louisiana's statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, the state's comparative negligence rule, and more.

By , J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law

From a car accident to an in-store slip and fall, if you're injured in any kind of incident involving someone else's carelessness in Louisiana, a number of state laws could have a big impact on any injury-related insurance claim or lawsuit you decide to bring.

In this article, we'll discuss Louisiana's statute of limitations lawsuit-filing deadline for personal injury lawsuits, the state's "modified comparative negligence" rule, and more.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits In Louisiana?

Like every state, Louisiana has a deadline—set by a law called a "statute of limitations"—on the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. This rule can be found at Louisiana Civil Code article 3492, which says: "Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year."

Some translation is necessary here. A "delictual action" means almost any kind of lawsuit over some kind of harm. So, this one-year deadline applies to any personal injury case you want to file in Louisiana's courts, and the clock starts on the date of the incident that caused your injury.

What If I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline In Louisiana?

If you don't get your personal injury lawsuit filed in Louisiana's court system before the one-year mark passes, you'll lose your right to file it at any time in the future. That means you'll be left without a legal remedy for your injuries, no matter how badly you were hurt or how clear the at-fault party's liability might be.

One year isn't a long time, especially if you've filed an insurance claim and the settlement process is dragging out. So make sure you keep an eye on Louisiana's statute of limitations clock and have the option of taking things to court if you need to.

Can the Louisiana Statute of Limitations Deadline Be Extended?

There are a few relatively rare situations that might delay the running of the statute of limitations "clock" in Louisiana, effectively extending the deadline. Let's look at one example.

When the Injured Person Is a Minor. If someone under 18 years of age is injured as a result of another person's negligent or intentional act, the one-year statute of limitations "clock" for getting any personal injury lawsuit filed won't start running until the injured person turns 18.

Talk to a Louisiana personal injury attorney for more details on how the statute of limitations might apply to your situation.

Where Do I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit In Louisiana?

First off, an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to handle the ins and outs of getting your case filed and on the right path to a successful resolution. But generally speaking, Louisiana's district courts hear most civil court trials in the state. There are 42 judicial districts in Louisiana, each consisting of at least one parish.

You'll usually file your personal injury lawsuit in the district where the injury occurred, or where the person you're suing lives.

There are also 50 city courts in Louisiana, and these are considered courts of "limited jurisdiction," where you can't ask for more than a certain amount of compensation ("damages") from the person you're suing. The limit might be anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000, depending on the particular court's rules.

Get more details on how to file a personal injury lawsuit.

What If I'm Partly At Fault for My Injury In Louisiana?

Each state follows different shared fault rules when an injured person is found to have some level of liability for the incident that led to their injuries. In the rare event that a personal injury lawsuit goes to trial in Louisiana's court system, the state's "pure comparative fault" rule will reduce the injured plaintiff's compensation by an amount equal to the share of fault assigned to them. (Louisiana Civil Code article 2323.)

How Does Louisiana's Pure Comparative Negligence Rule Work?

Let's say you're driving southbound through an intersection, a few miles per hour over the posted speed limit. A westbound driver runs the red light and hits your car, injuring you. In court, it's determined that:

  • your total losses (medical bills, lost income, "pain and suffering," and more; collectively known as your "damages" in legalese) for the accident equal $20,000, and
  • you're 10 percent at fault for the accident, since you were speeding.

Louisiana's comparative fault rule will apply to reduce your $20,000 damages award by $2,000, or 10 percent (the amount of fault assigned to you). So, the court will order the other driver to pay you $18,000.

Will Louisiana's Comparative Negligence Rule Apply to My Insurance Claim?

Not technically, no. Louisiana's courts are required to follow the state's comparative negligence rule if an injury lawsuit makes it to trial. But it's not a law that insurance companies must apply to an insurance claim. Practically speaking, however don't be surprised if the insurance adjuster brings up the comparative negligence rule during injury claim settlement negotiations, since insurance companies tend to approach claim resolution with an eye on what might happen if the case ends up in court.

Are There Caps on Damages In Louisiana Personal Injury Cases?

Many states "cap" or limit, the amount and/or types of damages an injured person can receive if their lawsuit goes to trial, even if they win in court.

For medical malpractice lawsuits only, Louisiana law caps all of an injured patient's damages at $500,000. But his cap does not apply to future medical expenses made necessary by the health care provider's malpractice. Learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits in Louisiana.

And remember, this cap only applies to medical malpractice lawsuits. Louisiana doesn't cap damages in any other kind of personal injury case, including those stemming from car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and any other kind of mishap.

Get More Information on Personal Injury Cases

If you're looking for more details on how personal injury claims work and what to expect from the process, check out these articles:

For legal advice that's tailored to your specific situation in Louisiana, you might want to discuss your potential case with a personal injury lawyer.

Make the Most of Your Claim
Get the compensation you deserve.
We've helped 285 clients find attorneys today.
There was a problem with the submission. Please refresh the page and try again
Full Name is required
Email is required
Please enter a valid Email
Phone Number is required
Please enter a valid Phone Number
Zip Code is required
Please add a valid Zip Code
Please enter a valid Case Description
Description is required

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you