If you were injured by the actions or negligence of another person, you may be entitled to compensation. However, statutes of limitations require you to file a personal injury claim within a set period after your injury. These filing deadlines make it essential to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.
For many individuals, a severe personal injury can result in physical, mental, emotional, and financial burdens. Filing a personal injury claim so soon afterward could cause you additional stress and trauma.
That's where the personal injury attorneys at Gardner & Rans come in. We know how important it is to quickly file a claim for your injury. We also know that you should focus on your recovery. Our attorneys can take the lead, determine if you have a case, and fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We serve clients in South Bend, Mishawaka, Granger, Elkhart, La Porte, and surrounding areas of Indiana.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Indiana?
In Indiana, you have two years to file a personal injury claim. That means you should contact our attorneys as soon as possible. We can immediately start the process of investigating the evidence and building your case.
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. It may be extended for several reasons:
- The delayed discovery rule: Statutes of limitations can be prolonged if you could not have reasonably discovered your injury in the period specified by the statute. In delayed-discovery cases, the limitations period does not begin until you realize the harm and its cause. This rule will not apply to many personal injury cases, such as car accidents and slip-and-fall injuries, because in those cases, it's easy to connect the injury to its cause. However, if your car accident injury was misdiagnosed, and you didn't receive a proper diagnosis until after the statute of limitations expired, you may have a delayed-discovery case for your continued medical treatment.
- Threats or fraud: If the defendant tries to prevent you from filing a claim, such as through threats or blackmail, the statute of limitations may be suspended. The law recognizes the unfairness of rewarding such behavior.
- Leaving the state: If the defendant leaves the state of Indiana, the statute of limitations will be suspended. This is to prevent a defendant from avoiding liability by leaving the state during the limitations period.
- Inability to sue: There are several instances where you are unable to sue, or a defendant is unable to be sued. In these cases, the statute of limitations may be suspended. Classic examples where you cannot sue include when you are a non-emancipated minor or medically incapacitated. A defendant cannot be sued if they are in bankruptcy during the period of the automatic stay.
You should not rely on these exceptions. If you think you have a personal injury claim, expect to deal with the standard, two-year statute of limitations. This is why hiring our experienced, dedicated personal injury attorneys is crucial. We will focus on your case while you focus on your recovery.
What are the Steps to Filing a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury claims generally proceed in these stages:
- Complaint: In this initial document, your attorney outlines your case against the defendant. The complaint identifies the parties involved, states your legal claims, and gives the facts that led to your claims. The complaint will also include a demand for judgment, which lays out the restitution you're seeking.
- Summons: This notifies the defendant of the case against them and gives them a chance to respond or seek to have the case dismissed.
- Answer to the complaint: This is the defendant's first opportunity to defend themselves. In this document, they will lay out the legal reasons why they are not liable for your injury
- Discovery: This is the fact-finding phase of the case. Attorneys for both parties will produce written statements, collect documents, and depose witnesses. The goal of this process is to ensure as few surprises as possible arise in the courtroom.
- Judgment: If no one disputes the facts of the case, the judge can issue a summary judgment that decides it in favor of one party. If the other party wants to avoid summary judgment, they must provide evidence that could be used in trial to dispute the facts of the case.
- Settlement: Most personal injury claims never make it to trial. In a settlement, you give up your right to pursue further legal action in exchange for restitution negotiated by both parties' attorneys. You may wish to agree to a settlement if the trial has the potential to be lengthy and you want a speedy resolution. Also, there are no guarantees when you go to trial. You are always running the risk that a judge or jury will rule in favor of the defendant, leaving you with no compensation.
- Trial: If the case goes to trial, a jury will be selected, attorneys will make arguments, witnesses will testify, and the jury will produce a verdict.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover From a Personal Injury Claim?
If a jury decides a personal injury claim in your favor, you may be awarded damages such as:
- Current and future medical expenses related to your injury
- Loss of income if you are unable to work
- Loss of earning potential if your injury prevents you from working in the future or forces you to seek a less lucrative type of employment
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Home modifications if your injury left you permanently disabled
- Loss of companionship if the accident also resulted in the death of a loved one
Call Our South Bend Personal Injury Attorneys Today
If you think you have a personal injury claim, don't wait to contact an attorney. Every day that passes brings Indiana's two-year statute of limitations closer to expiring. Don't put off pursuing justice. The attorneys at Gardner & Rans will tirelessly pursue your case.
We serve South Bend, Mishawaka, Granger, Elkhart, La Porte, and surrounding areas of Indiana. Call (574) 401-8330 today to discuss your case.