Indiana Statute of Limitations

Oct 27

Personal injury law provides many rights for victims of accidental injuries that were the fault of another party, such as from a car accident. Victims can file lawsuits when necessary to seek compensation from the parties liable for their injuries. 

However, the law also places limitations on a victim’s right to take legal action. One limitation comes in the form of a deadline for filing a lawsuit, which is called a statute of limitations. Each state has its own statute setting out these time limits, and Indiana has specific laws that govern the filing of injury lawsuits. 

Below is some information about the statute of limitations in Indiana. To discuss your specific case and which deadlines might apply, reach out to a personal injury attorney in Indiana as soon as possible. 

 

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a deadline for legal action against another party. Once the statute of limitations expires, you can still file a lawsuit. However, the defendant can request that the court dismiss your lawsuit due to the timing of your filing. Except for very limited circumstances, the court will likely dismiss your case without even considering any of the facts if it wasn’t timely filed. 

Statutes of limitations do restrict the rights of injury victims. However, these laws are important for different reasons, including:

  • It prevents the indefinite possibility of the liable party facing a lawsuit. Potential defendants should not have to live the rest of their lives wondering whether someone will file a case against them, so the law sets a finite time period. 
  • It helps ensure that evidence in the case is as fresh and accurate as possible. As time passes, evidence might weaken or disappear, witnesses might have their memories fade, they might become unavailable, and more. 

A statute of limitations might seem unfair if you are an injury victim, but it will apply to your case whether you believe it is right or not. This means you should always hire a personal injury attorney as soon as you can to avoid missing the opportunity to file your case. 

 

Statutes of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

Indiana law sets out different statutes of limitations for different types of legal cases. For example, there are time limits for prosecutors bringing criminal charges, creditors filing debt collection lawsuits, and breach of contract claims. There is also a separate statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. 

The statute of limitations for injury cases in Indiana is – in most cases – two years from the date of the injury. The same time limit applies to wrongful death cases. Whether you suffered a sprained wrist or your spouse suffered a tragically fatal injury, the two-year limit is usually the same. However, these time periods can change dramatically based on the facts of your individual case. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Blackburn Romey can help you understand the specific time period that applies to your case.

The clock typically begins running on the date you first have a cause of action, usually the date your injury actually occurs. If you need to file a lawsuit to seek compensation, you must file it within the statute of limitations.

 

Possible Exceptions

While two years is the limit for most people, there are some exceptions that make the time limit shorter or longer. 

First, the law may apply the discovery rule to injury cases. This rule states that if you do not discover your injuries right away, the clock starts ticking when you discover, or should have discovered, that you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence. In most personal injury cases, that time will begin when the event that caused your injury occurred, such as an accident, a fall, a dog bite, or some other incident. The discovery rule is complex and may rarely apply, making it extremely important for you to seek legal advice on the limitations of your claim.

The statute of limitations can also be extended based on age, incompetence, inability to file a lawsuit, or other complex circumstances.

There are also circumstances that shorten the time you have to take legal action. If a government entity is a liable party for your injuries, the law may require that you provide notice of your claim in as little as 180 days. Six months is significantly shorter than two years, so if you suspect a government agency was responsible for your accident, you need to act immediately. 

 

Statutes of Limitations and Insurance Claims

Most personal injury cases begin with an insurance claim against the liable party’s applicable policy. If an insurance company does not offer a fair settlement that covers your losses, the next step is often to escalate the matter by filing a lawsuit in civil court. 

Insurance companies are well aware of the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit in each case. If you have missed the deadline, they know you cannot file a case in court and will refuse to pay you anything. 

 

Discuss a Possible Case with an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer

Statutes of limitations are complex and may vary based on the unique facts of your case. Never risk missing your chance to exercise your rights as an injury victim. The legal team of Blackburn Romey is ready to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation right away. 

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.