LEGAL CORNER: In Louisiana, do debt collectors have a certain time to sue for payments?

Published: Jun. 28, 2023 at 11:52 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Legal Corner answers viewers’ civil legal questions.

QUESTION: In Louisiana, do debt collectors have only a certain amount of time to sue for payments?

ANSWER: It depends on the type of debt.

  • Oral and written contracts. Debts from a breach of contract in Louisiana have a prescription period of 10 years beginning from the date of breach or last payment to the debt account. This period covers all types of general contracts, except those assigned specific periods following their governing codes within the state’s laws.
  • Open accounts. In Louisiana, an open account exists when the consumer routinely buys products and services on credit without any considerations. Such accounts include credit cards, medical accounts, and auto loans. The prescription period for open accounts in Louisiana is three years and begins to count from the date of the last credit entry on the account, a purchase, charge, or payment.
  • Money judgments. Both domestic and foreign money judgments have a prescription period of 10 years in the state of Louisiana. This period begins to count from the date the judgment has been passed and signed without appeal. However, if the judgment is appealed, the period will begin counting the day the appeal is finalized.
  • Promissory notes. Promissory notes have a prescription period of five years, beginning from the time when payment is overdue.

QUESTION: How do I know if I have a personal injury case?

ANSWER: A personal injury case is a legal dispute that arises when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm.

Types of personal injury claims (non-exclusive list):

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability
  • Wrongful death
  • Workplace accidents
  • Slip and fall/premises liability
  • Animal bites/attacks
  • Burn injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Civil battery
  • Whiplash
  • Food poisoning
  • Aviation accidents
  • Boating accidents
  • Child injury cases
  • Mass torts such as asbestos exposure
  • Dram shop cases (in which a bar or nightclub bears liability for serving an intoxicated customer who later causes an injury): Louisiana is one of seven states that does not abide by dram shop liability laws. Therefore, if someone gets injured or killed because of a driver’s excessive alcohol consumption, in most cases, that person will have to sue the drunk driver for damages, not the bar.

Factors to consider:

  • How the injury occurred
  • Who is at fault
  • How significant are the injuries