All states have a set statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which set parameters on the amount of time a person has to make a claim after their accident. These statute of limitations vary from state to state, some being as short as 1 year, while others extending up to 6 years.
Here in Indiana, personal injury victims usually have 2 years to make a personal injury claim for compensation (Ind. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq.). However, claims against certain governmental and quasi-governmental entities require a Notice of Tort Claim to be made in as little as 180 days in some cases so it is essential for persons with personal injury claims to immediately seek out representation.
But what happens if a person does not learn who caused their accident until after the statute of limitations runs out? Or similarly, the severity of their injuries are not evident until much later? Well, for these reasons and more, some states allow an exception to their statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This is sometimes referred to as a “discovery rule” exception, and it plays a vital role in the rights of a personal injury victim, as well as their family.
Continue reading to learn more about the discovery rule exception, including common examples and how to get started on your personal injury claim.
The Discovery Rule
When a person is injured in an accident that was not their fault, the statute of limitations starts on that very day of the incident. From there, a victim has a set amount of time to make a claim against the negligent party for the purpose of recovering compensation to cover their subsequent damages and losses. However, many states have some form of a “discovery rule” exception to their statute of limitations, which extends the filing deadline for making a personal injury claim under very specific circumstances.
This discovery rule extension is generally granted when a personal injury victim did not know about their injuries until after the statute of limitations expired, who was responsible for the accident until after the statute of limitations ran out, or that the suspected liable party’s actions may have caused their injuries until after the statute of limitations expired.
For example, a state might have a 2 year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, along with a discovery rule that states the time clock does not begin until the victim is aware or had sufficient notice of their injuries, as well as, the cause of the harm. Under these circumstances, a victim would be granted an extended deadline to file a personal injury claim if they experienced a late onset of injuries after the statute of limitations expired.
Another example is asbestos poisoning. For instance, if a person lives in an apartment building that has asbestos-insulated plumbing, and 15 years later is diagnosed with lung cancer as a result of the exposure, they could rely on the discovery rule to increase their success at making a personal injury claim against the liable party.
Most states will extend the statute of limitations for plaintiffs who are minors, mentally-handicapped, disabled, mentally-ill, or legally insane. Also, most states will grant an extension if the liable party left the state. If the liable party flees, the clock can be held to stop running, and may not start up again until they return to the state.
How to Make an Allegedly Late Personal Injury Claim
If you are a victim of a personal injury, but fear that too much time has passed since your accident, it is important to speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney to learn more about Indiana’s statute of limitations rules and exceptions.
Call The Law office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to get started. Our seasoned Indianapolis personal injury lawyers will fight for your rights to the full and fair compensation you deserve. Not only does our law firm offer free consultations, we never collect lawyer fees unless we recover a settlement for you.