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How much time do I have to bring a lawsuit after I am injured in a motor vehicle crash or other accident?

I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a listener who would like to know how much time they have to bring a lawsuit after they are injured in a motor vehicle crash or other accident.

It is amazing the number of calls we get after the statute of limitations has expired to sue on a claim. It seems that the day-to-day necessities of life following a crash, such as traveling back and forth to the doctor, trying to work when you’re not feeling well, going back and forth to get to physical therapy, and doing all the other things needed to recover, cause people to put off calling an attorney.

But, for a variety of reasons, that call to an attorney should not be delayed.

The law in Indiana, is that a person injured in a crash, or a fall, or any other injury incident, has to sue before the two year anniversary of the incident. In other words, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit expires in 2 years from the date the incident happened.

If you miss that deadline, then you can be barred from making a claim. There are some exceptions, so always check with an attorney even if you think it is too late to sue.

But, there are a whole host of other shorter limitation periods that can interfere with the ability to sue in addition to what we call a statute of limitation.

For example, a person has generally 180 days from the date of an accident involving a governmental entity to file with the government a report called a tort claim notice. That time period can go by very fast. We’ve had many people contact us after that deadline is expired. With very few exceptions, if no notice is given, then a person can’t sue the government agency under most circumstances. Since there are a few exceptions though, you should always contact an attorney even if you think it might be too late to proceed.

So, the bottom line is, that to avoid these deadlines we would suggest that you either contact an attorney within a few days or weeks following an accident, or note these important deadlines on your calendar right after an accident, because it may slip your mind and the deadlines can creep up and bar your claim if you haven’t sued, or the other notice deadlines have passed.

Oh, and if you are thinking of calling an attorney the day before the time to sue expires, I would suggest that you re-think that. In such cases most attorneys will agree to file the case for you, but ask you to sign a disclaimer that you won’t hold them responsible if a necessary party does not get named in the suit papers. Failing to name the correct party is just one of several things that can go wrong.

I hope you have found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.