Indiana Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations:The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 2 years from the discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 2 years
- Medical malpractice – 2 years from the date of the act or omission which caused the injury
- Legal malpractice – 2 years
- Other professional malpractice – 2 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $6,000 – Indiana Small Claims Court
- Personal injury claims over $6,000 – Indiana Superior Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
- Forms: Indiana Notice of Claim form. Notice of Claim forms are county specific, and can be obtained from the clerk of the small claims court in the county in which you are filing.
- Where to file: Where the defendant resides, where the injury occurred, or at the defendant’s place of employment at the time the injury occurred.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Certified or registered mail return receipt requested with an Indiana Notice of Claim form; or, request that the sheriff serve the defendant personally at least 10 days prior to the trial date.
- Proving the defendant was notified: If the defendant was served by mail, the plaintiff should file the registered or certified mail card with the clerk of the small claims court. It the defendant is personally served by a sheriff, the sheriff should attach a return of service to a copy of the summons, endorse the return and file it with the clerk of the small claims court.
- Attorneys: Attorney representation at the trial is permitted in Indiana Small Claims Court.
- Appealing a small claim: If you are unsatisfied with a decision in the small claims court, you may appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals within 30 days of entry of the judgment.
Indiana Superior Court: In filing your case, seek advice from an Indiana personal injury attorney. Personal injury suits are complicated. Errors may result in court fines, the loss of your claim, or the dismissal of your claim.
- Forms: Indiana Notice of Claim form.
- How to File: Bring the Notice of Claim form to the Indiana Superior Court clerk in the county where you intend to sue, and pay the filing fee. The clerk will stamp the forms prior to service on the defendant.
- How to Notify the Defendant: A sheriff must give the stamped forms to the defendant personally, endorse the process, and file a copy with the clerk of the Superior Court in the appropriate jurisdiction. Alternatively, the forms may be mailed to the defendant by certified or registered mail.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Indiana: 20 days.
- Immediately get the advice of an attorney.
- Inform your insurance company if an injury occurred that is connected with an incident that occurred at your home or employment. If your insurance covers your claim, your insurance company will most likely provide you with an attorney.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
In Indiana, if you do not reply to a summons and complaint within 20 days, a default judgment may be entered against you, resulting in the plaintiff winning the suit. You will have to pay whatever damages the plaintiff claimed.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Indiana:
- An Indiana Superior Court can set aside a judgment for surprise, mistake, default or excusable neglect within a reasonable time
- An Indiana Superior Court can set aside a void judgment for up to a year after the initial judgment
- Get the advice of an attorney if a default judgment has been entered against you.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you win your Indiana personal injury lawsuit, you may collect your judgment by serving a demand letter on the defendant. If the defendant does not pay the judgment, you may put a lien on his real property, attach the debtor’s personal property, or garnish the defendant’s wages or bank accounts.
- Seek the advice of a knowledgeable Indiana debt collection attorney to collect your judgment.