Published in Personal Injury on October 12, 2021.
A statute of limitations is a statute giving a certain period of time to file a legal claim.
The time allotted depends on the type of claim.
If you do not file your lawsuit within the timeframe specified under Indiana’s personal injury statute of limitations, you may be barred from pursuing your claim.
Accordingly, it is extremely important that your claim is filed in a timely manner.
How Long Do I Have to File an Indiana Personal Injury Claim?
According to the Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4, the Indiana statute of limitations for personal injury is two years. Usually, this two-year time clock starts running on the date of the incident.
Exceptions to the Indiana Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The State of Indiana has set out limited exceptions to the general two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. These limited exceptions may delay the running of the clock to give you more time to file your lawsuit.
If, at the time of the incident, the person injured is under a “legal disability,” the Indiana statute of limitations for certain injury claims and situations will not begin to run until the disability is removed.
Legal disabilities may mean, for example, the person is under the age of 18 or mentally incapacitated, and the disability is removed when they reach the age of 18 or their competence is restored.
Once the disability is removed, the individual has two years to file an injury lawsuit in Indiana. An attorney can advise the claimant as to whether the legal disability will affect the statute of limitations or not.
If the responsible party leaves the state of Indiana and becomes a “nonresident” between the time after the accident and before the lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations may be tolled during this time of nonresidence.
This period of nonresidence does not count toward the two-year limitation period. An exception to this may exist if the responsible individual maintains an agent for service of process in Indiana, allowing you the opportunity to serve the person.
If the responsible person attempts to conceal their liability, then the statute of limitations will most likely not begin to run until the period of concealment has ended and the facts underlying the cause of action are discovered.
Indiana Tort Claim Notice
In addition to any applicable statute of limitations, Indiana also has a State tort claim notice requirement for all governmental entities.
The Indiana State Tort notice must contain all notice requirements of I.C. 34-1-3-10, including:
- the circumstances which brought about the loss,
- the extent of the loss,
- the time and place the loss occurred,
- the names of all persons involved if known,
- the amount of damages sought,
- and the residence of the person making the claim at the time of the loss
- and at the time of filing the notice.
A claim against a political subdivision must be filed within one hundred eighty (180) days after the loss occurs and a claim against the State must be filed with the attorney general or the state agency within two hundred seventy (270) days after the loss occurs.
Comparative Fault in Indiana
In certain claims, Indiana has a “comparative fault” rule for plaintiffs who are partly at fault for the incident that led to their injuries. Depending on how much fault is assigned to the plaintiff, damages may be reduced or even eliminated.
As long as you are not more than 50 percent at fault, you will be able to recover at least some damages. If you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you will not be able to recover damages from the other party.
Damage Caps in Indiana Injury Cases
Damage caps limit the amount of compensation you can collect in your lawsuit.
In medical malpractice cases, the total amount recoverable for an injury or death of a patient may not exceed the following:
- One million six hundred fifty thousand dollars ($1,650,000) for an act of malpractice that occurs: after June 30, 2017; and before July 1, 2019.
- One million eight hundred thousand dollars ($1,800,000) for an act of malpractice that occurs after June 30, 2019.
- Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 34-18-14-3
Indiana has also capped damages paid by the government for injury or death of one person in any one occurrence at $700,000 for a cause of action that accrues on or after January 1, 2008.
Further, total damages paid by the government does not exceed $5,000,000 for injury or death of all persons per or in that occurrence.
When You Should Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer and How We Can Help
If you believe you may have a case, contact an Indiana personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Because the Indiana personal injury statute of limitations limits the time you have to file your lawsuit, and the requirement to file a timely State tort claim notice, the sooner an attorney can begin working on your case, the better.
At Eskew Law, we strive to help clients who are struggling with situations they cannot handle on their own.
Our team of highly skilled and experienced Indiana personal injury attorneys are ready to help you fight your legal battle while striving for the best possible outcome. Contact us online or call (317) 974-0177 today, and let’s see how we can help you.