Louisiana Legislative Update: Legislature Extends the Prescriptive Period for Tort Claims from One to Two Years

As of July 1, 2024, the prescriptive period (statute of limitations) for delictual actions (torts) and damage to immovable property is now two years.  Included in a series of auto insurance reform bills, Act No. 423 (HB 315) enacts Louisiana Civil Code article 3493.11, providing a two-year prescriptive period for delictual actions, and Louisiana Civil Code article 3493.12, providing a two-year prescriptive period for damage to immovable property.  Act No. 423 also repealed the one-year prescriptive period for both in Louisiana Civil Code articles 3492 and 3493.  This is a notable change to as the one-year prescriptive period had been in place since Louisiana’s Civil Code of 1825, 199 years ago.

Sponsored by Mike Johnson (R-27), Act No. 423 left in place the prior law that when damage is caused to immovable property, the prescription commences to run from the day the owner of the immovable acquired, or should have acquired, knowledge of the damage; the only change is that the prescriptive period is now two years instead of just one.

Act No. 423 provides that the new statute shall be given prospective application only, meaning that it will apply only to actions arising after July 1, 2024, the effective date of Act No. 423.  This means that damages that occurred before July 1, 2024, are still subject to the one-year prescriptive period.

Along with three others,  Act No. 423 was part of a series of auto insurance reform bills endorsed by Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple which aim to bring availability and competition to the market by cutting down on excessive verdicts and settlements.  Temple stated that these bills will allow Louisiana to compete with other states in attracting insurance companies to write commercial and private auto business. Additional proponents stated the reform package will bring transparency to the legal process while enticing insurers to write more auto business in the state without the threat of burdening litigation.

However, these changes go well beyond auto insurance and auto claims.  Only time will tell how extending the prescriptive period will cut down on excessive verdicts and settlements or help Louisiana attract insurance companies to do business in Louisiana or bring transparency to the legal process.

footer image footer image footer image