If you have been injured in Indiana because another person was negligent – in an auto crash or in any other type of accident – and if you pursue a personal injury claim to acquire compensation, several Indiana statutes may come into play. A statute of limitations, for example, establishes the maximum amount of time for initiating a legal action after any event that could potentially trigger a legal action.
In criminal cases, for example, a statute of limitations ensures that the evidence against a defendant will not fade or deteriorate with time. The state must file a criminal charge against a suspect within a particular time limit established by lawmakers.
Most jurisdictions have established statutes of limitations for misdemeanors and for most felonies except violent felonies and homicides. If the statute of limitations expires after a crime has been committed, and if no charge was ever filed, that is the end of the case.
Every state also restricts the length of time that someone has to initiate a personal injury lawsuit after an accident that causes an injury. In civil law, the amount of time allowed by a statute of limitations depends on the precise nature of the injury, and most states also allow a number of exceptions to those time limits. In the state of Indiana, a civil statute of limitations could run anywhere from two to twenty years depending on the type of case and the details of the case.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO ACT SWIFTLY AFTER AN INJURY?
Whether you are injured by negligence in a traffic collision, at a restaurant or a retail location, or even at your place of work, you should not wait twenty years – or even two – and then try to initiate legal action at the last possible moment.
When you become the injured victim of another person’s negligence in this state, as soon as you have been examined by a doctor, discuss your legal options – which may include a personal injury lawsuit – with an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney.
Putting a personal injury attorney on the case as early as possible is imperative when you seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other injury-related losses. Indiana’s statutes of limitations try to create a sense of fairness. The statutes encourage injury victims to act in a timely manner so that no one has to face accusations about long-ago and almost-forgotten incidents.
WHEN DOES THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS “CLOCK” BEGIN?
In most cases, Indiana’s civil statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years, and in most cases, the “clock starts ticking” from the date of the accident and injury. In other cases, however, the two-year period begins when an injury is discovered. That’s because some injuries may not be immediately apparent or detectable.
If you receive a mild blow to the head in a traffic collision, and you ignore it, you might have a latent traumatic brain injury that emerges only weeks later as a severe medical condition. Some internal injuries are also easy to overlook at first, and some injuries such as bone fractures can only be found at first by a doctor.
Get medical attention immediately after any serious accident such as a traffic collision, a slip-and-fall or trip-and fall, a dog bite, or even merchandise falling on you in a retail store. If you have suffered an injury because someone else was negligent – a store’s management, a careless driver, or even a dog owner – you are entitled in this state to complete compensation for all injury-related medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity, pain, suffering, and what the law calls the loss of the “enjoyment of life.”
Being “entitled” to compensation, however, is something that you have to prove, and in Indiana, you’ll need the help of an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney. Your personal injury lawyer will examine all of the facts and evidence regarding the accident and injury, interrogate any pertinent witnesses, and if necessary, ask experts to offer statements or testimony on your behalf.
WHAT ELSE WILL A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY DO FOR CLIENTS?
Your personal injury lawyer will then negotiate on your behalf for a settlement that meets all of your requirements and needs. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court, but if a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, you’ll need an experienced personal attorney who can tell your story in court and advocate aggressively for the maximum amount of available compensation.
The statute of limitations is different if you are filing a personal injury claim against Indiana’s state government or against a county or municipality. The old legal doctrine of “sovereign immunity” – which prevented anyone from suing the government – was mostly abolished by the Indiana Supreme Court back in 1972, but there remain strict procedural requirements for filing such a claim.
If you are injured by a city or a county bus, for example, or if you trip on an old carpet at the public library and you’re injured, contact a personal injury lawyer promptly. You’re going to need experienced, knowledgeable legal counsel if you sue the government in Indiana.
There is one big difference between a personal injury claim against a private party in Indiana and an injury claim against a city, county, or the state. That difference is the notice requirement. If a victim of negligence decides to sue Indiana or one of its cities or counties, that victim must provide a specific written notice of the intention to file a claim. That notice must be received by the city or county government within 180 days of the date of the injury or by the state within 270 days of the date of the injury.
Obtaining compensation for an injury that was sustained on government property – or due to a government employee – is certainly possible in Indiana, and it is your right if you were injured by negligence, but you’ll need an attorney’s help to overcome some significant legal obstacles. That is why you need to act right away when you’ve been injured by negligence.
The law is complicated, so there’s no reason to complicate it further by waiting until the statute of limitations has almost expired. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence in Indiana, contact an experienced Evansville personal injury attorney – immediately and without delay.