Exploring personal injury statute of limitations and its impact on the case

Wondering what the statute of limitation is, and how it affects you? Find out why it’s important and five exceptions you need to know.

When you suffer harm or injury due to a third party’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation and benefits for any economic, emotional, and physical suffering you incur. But, you may not file a personal injury claim whenever you want due to a guideline known as the statute of limitations.

In Indiana, the statute of limitation is two years for personal injury cases, including workplace injuries. Given that litigation of this type is regionally bound to certain principles,  it is important to consult an Indiana personal injury lawyer for more information. Read on to learn more about the statute of limitations and its impact on your personal injury case.

What is the statute of limitations?

Statutes of limitations refer to a strict deadline determining the timeline for filing a claim. It stipulates the time you have to file a claim, after which your case will be dismissed, and you forfeit any compensation or hearing you might have been entitled to.

Every state has its statute of limitations for personal injury cases or lawsuits due to alleged negligence. For example, the statute of limitation in Indiana is two years, although there are exceptions that allow for the deadline to be extended or shortened.

The deadline for filing your case will depend on the type and cause of your injury. Once your time to file a lawsuit or claim for personal injury elapses, you stop being eligible for compensation. But if you feel like this is too much to handle, this is something only a lawyer can help with. 

Why is the statutes of limitations important?

The statute of limitations exists to ensure efficiency in handling personal injury cases. Limiting the time for filing legal action allows the court system to process the cases faster and ensure timely resolution. It also ensures the case uses fresh evidence for decision-making since most evidence may disappear or suffer damage over time.

As a victim, the statute of limitations encourages you to file your claims promptly to get the justice you deserve as soon as possible. Since your case may be dismissed if you don’t file it within the stipulated timeline, the statute of limitations provides finality and closure to all involved parties.

The statute of limitations benefits not only the victims and the court system. It also offers protection against lawsuits for old matters. This is because the accused may need to be more capable of building a proper defense due to the time passed.

It doesn’t matter if you plan to file a lawsuit or not. Understanding the statute of limitations and how it can affect your case is crucial, especially if you are making an insurance claim. You want to give yourself adequate time to go to court in case of disagreements about your settlement.

Five exceptions to personal injury statute of limitations

Although the statute of limitations is strict, a few exceptions can pause, delay, or suspend it. In such cases, you can only extend the deadline for a given time but only partially avoid the statute of limitations. Exceptions to the statute of limitations may affect the deadline to file your personal injury case.

Here are five exceptions to personal injury statute of limitations.

1) The “Discovery Rule” exception

Most states, including Indiana, have the Discovery Rule exception. The rule gives you more time to file your case depending on how long it took to find out your injury, damages, or misconduct that led to your injury.

The rule is applicable when you didn’t know you were injured or suffered damages. It also applies when the victim didn’t realize the liable party’s actions were responsible for the injury.

2) Evasion

If you suffer injury and the liable party leaves the state or goes into hiding, the statute of limitation doesn’t apply until the potential defendant is back. For example, if the negligent party caused your injury and left Indiana for one year, you will have another year to file your case.

3) Minority

According to the law, minors cannot file a lawsuit because they cannot sue or be sued. Due to this, the clock doesn’t start counting until the minor reaches 18 years, which is the age of the majority.

4) Incapacitation

If you suffered a physical disability or mental illness before the accident, you have more time to take your case to court. However, the time starts ticking once the “disability” preventing you from filing a case ends.

5) Incarceration

Individuals in jail who wish to file a personal injury case are exempted from the statute of limitations while in custody.

Cases against government agencies usually shorten the statute of limitations. Normally, you will have six months to file your case, after which you forfeit your rights to a personal injury lawsuit or compensation.

If you suffer a workplace injury in Indiana, it is best to consult your Indiana work injury lawyer to ensure compliance with the statute of limitations when filing a personal injury case. This way, you increase your chances of fair compensation.