If you have been involved in a car accident in Indiana, it is crucial to understand how much time you have to file a claim for your injuries and any property damages to your vehicle.
The amount of time allowed to file a claim is established by Indiana state law, and it is known as the statute of limitations. It is important to recognize that the time you have to file a claim typically starts on the date of the accident. There are, however, exceptions to this rule.
How Long After a Car Accident Can You Claim Injury in Indiana?
Indiana law allows two years from the date of the accident to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries and financial losses caused by an accident.
However, in certain situations, the amount of time to file a claim may be extended.
Indiana’s two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims includes some exceptions:
- If a minor child has been injured in a car accident in Indiana, the two-year limit starts on his or her eighteenth birthday.
- If you are physically or mentally disabled, the time for filing begins on the date your legal disability status is removed. For example, if you were in a car accident in Indiana and as a result of your injuries, you were declared legally disabled due to being in a coma, you would have two years to file your claim from the date you are no longer considered disabled.
- If an injured person(s) dies within the initial two-year period, an additional eighteen months from the date of death is added to the end of the statute of limitations.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Indianapolis or elsewhere in Indiana, it can easily take two years to investigate the accident, collect evidence, identify the at-fault parties and their insurers and file a case for compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and other losses. Your best course of action, after addressing your critical medical needs, is to talk to an Indianapolis car accident attorney to discuss your rights and legal options.
There are additional time constraints that you need to be aware of if your car accident involved a federal, state, local, or government entity. If you do not follow the state’s rules for filing a “notice of claim,” you can lose your right to receive any compensation from the government.
In Indiana, this “notice of claim” is called a Notice of Tort Claim for Property Damage And/Or Personal Injury. In general, the notice must be filed within 270 days after the loss. However, if your claim needs to be filed against a city, county, school district, or separate municipal corporation, then it must be filed within 180 days.
A political subdivision is defined in Indiana as a:
- Separate municipal corporation
- Special taxing district
- State educational institution
- City or county hospital
- School corporation
- Board or commission of one of the entities listed in numbers (1) through (9)
- Drug enforcement task force operated jointly by political subdivisions
- Community correctional service program
A notice of claim is a formal part of the legal process in Indiana. If you try to handle your own claim, state attorneys are not allowed by law to help you with the filing. This is another reason why you should consult with a car accident attorney right away to discuss your case.
Statute of Limitations on Car Insurance Claims
The statute of limitations on car insurance claims in Indiana is the same as the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, and that is two years. Many people often wonder why more time to file is not allowed.
The general thinking on this issue is that as more time goes by, people’s memories fade, witnesses may disappear, and physical evidence such as records may get lost, damaged, or destroyed.
In the interest of fairness and justice, a statute of limitations helps to ensure plaintiffs and their attorney’s act with due diligence.
What Happens If The Statute of Limitations Expires?
In almost all cases, if the statute of limitations expires, you no longer have a right to file a claim. If you were to persist and attempt to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, your case will, in all likelihood, be dismissed by the court. However, there are exceptions that might be applicable in your specific situation, as discussed above.
How to File a Car Accident Claim
Most people know what steps to take when they are involved in a car accident, such as dealing with injuries, calling 911, exchanging contact information with other drivers, identifying witnesses, taking cell phone photos, and calling their insurance company.
In the state of Indiana, the process does not stop after calling your insurance company. Indiana laws have “reportable” car accident requirements.
A car accident in Indiana is “reportable” if it involves injuries, deaths, or the entrapment of other people, or $1,000 or more worth of apparent damage to property (not including the vehicles involved). The accident must be reported as soon as possible to one of the following:
- The local police if the accident occurs within a municipality.
- The county sheriff or the nearest state police post, if the accident occurs outside a municipality.
- A 911 telephone operator.
A driver who leaves the scene of an accident or fails to report the accident may face criminal charges depending on the circumstances of the accident.
After a reportable accident, each driver is required to complete and submit an Operator’s Proof of Insurance/Crash Report within ten days to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Once these requirements are completed, you need to notify your insurance company.
Your insurance company will give you instructions to follow for collecting documentation to process your claim if you make one. Documentation may include copies of the police report, proof of payments for medical expenses or property damages, photos that may have been taken at the scene, witness reports and contact information, and more.
If you have sustained injuries and another driver caused the accident, it is best to consult with a car accident attorney before giving a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. Your attorney can deal with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf and seek compensation for your injuries and property damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Indiana, your best course of action is to contact one of our experienced Indiana car accident attorneys for help. An attorney can keep track of the statute of limitations and notification requirements for your accident claim.
Contact an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer
Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC has more than 20 years of experience representing car accident victims and their families in Indianapolis, Batesville, Connorsville, Fort Wayne, North Vernon, Richmond, and South Bend. If your injuries prevent you from visiting our office, an auto accident attorney can arrange to meet with you at a location convenient to you or in your home.
Our attorneys and support staff understand just how important it is to give back to our community. We are committed to volunteering our efforts, donating to charitable causes, and supporting events and organizations chosen by our team members.
You can count on the award-winning team at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC to treat you with genuine compassion and respect, keep you informed of what is happening with your case, and work to make sure that you and your family get a fair resolution. Call us for a free, confidential consultation, 24 hours a day, at (800)-746-0226.