3 Laws All Car Accident Victims Need to Know
Getting involved in a car accident is a disorientating experience. Many victims are rushed immediately to the hospital. Even if they can go home, they are unsure of what steps to take next.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, our Indianapolis car accident lawyers have helped countless victims get back on their feet, physically and financially. Our team has negotiated favorable settlements for our clients that can cover a variety of financial losses, including lost wages and medical bills.
Below, we highlight three important laws all accident victims should be aware of. These laws place limits on the ability of victims to receive compensation, so meeting with an attorney as soon as possible is essential.
Two-Year Statute of Limitations
This might be the most important law that accident victims need to know. Indiana, like other states, has passed a statute of limitations which sets out the maximum amount of time a person has to file a lawsuit in court for an accident.
Our state’s law can be found at Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4. It gives victims a maximum of two years from the date of the accident to file suit. As an example: Melissa is injured in a car crash on February 1, 2020. She has until February 1, 2022, to file her lawsuit. If she is late—even a day late—the judge will dismiss the case and she loses out on the ability to hold the other driver accountable.
There are exceptions. For example, a minor has two years from the date he or she turns 18 to file suit. This provides additional time. If the victim dies, then surviving family members can file a wrongful death action two years from the date of death (not the date of the accident). However, we never encourage anyone to count on an exception applying to their situation. Instead, meet with an attorney quickly.
Notice Requirements to Sue Governmental Entities
In some accidents, a government entity or employee is to blame. For example, you might have been struck by a government worker travelling for their job. Or a defective road could have caused you to lose control of your vehicle and get into a wreck. In these accidents, you might sue the relevant governmental agency.
However, you need to first give them notice of the claim. And there are very tight deadlines:
- If you are suing a city or county, you must file a formal claim within 180 days.
- If you are suing a state agency, you must file your formal claim within 270 days.
Injured victims cannot sue in court until they file this claim, so contact one of our Indianapolis car accident lawyers for assistance.
Indiana recognizes comparative fault. IC § 34-51-2-5 states that any contributory fault on a client’s part will reduce his or her compensation proportionally. For example, if our client is 33% to blame, he or she will receive a third less than if they were blameless.
IC § 34-51-2-6 also states that a person cannot receive any recovery when their contributory fault is greater than the fault of the defendants. In practice, this means a motorist can be up to 50% to blame—but not more.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Our attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are intimately familiar with all relevant laws and will use them to our clients’ advantage. Contact us to meet for an initial consultation.