The law sets limits on suits, called statutes of limitations or prescription, to prevent abuse when it comes to filing civil or criminal cases. In Louisiana, this is called liberative prescription and it sets the time when a person can initiate a lawsuit. Liberative prescription ensures that anyone who claims to have been harmed by the actions of another initiate the appropriate civil or criminal process without delay. Doing otherwise could bar the same person from seeking compensation from the offending party because the allowable time period has passed.
Under Louisiana law, liberative prescription for civil suits is usually one year. This means that a civil suit must be filed within one year after the offense was committed or it lapses and the complainant can no longer file a claim. This one year period usually applies to personal injury lawsuits, which is why if you are planning on filing a personal injury claim, it is important that you work with a lawyer to act quickly and preserve your right to claim compensation.
For criminal cases, Louisiana law sets different periods depending on the severity of the crime. For example, prescription for low-level misdemeanors starts at six months. The liberative prescription for serious crimes can be as long as six years, except for murder and other specific crimes for which there are no set prescriptive periods. This means that the state must file the appropriate charges in court before the period expires or its chances of prosecuting these crimes are over.
How Louisiana’s Liberative Prescription Can Sink Your Lawsuit
Filing too late can single handedly cause the dismissal of your case. Even if you were fortunate enough to have this fact overlooked in the lower courts, but the fact of prescription is brought up on appeal, your case will be dismissed. It is very important to file your case as soon as the incident happened or as soon as the fact of the offense was brought to your attention. This is the only way to avoid the pitfalls that a delay in filing your case can bring.
Work with an expert lawyer to make sure that you can create an airtight case, whether it’s for a civil claim for damages or a criminal complaint. Your Baton Rouge injury attorney knows what the prescription is for your case and will make sure that your case gets filed within the prescriptive periods set by state law.