As you may already know, victims of car accidents in Indiana have the right to seek compensation for their losses. However, this right is subject to certain time restrictions. Failure to comply with them could cost you your right to compensation. Therefore, it is better to get in touch with an Indianapolis car accident attorney and take action as soon as possible.
How much time do you have available and what happens if you wait too long? The best way to provide an answer is to review Indiana law on the subject and the implications of not complying with it. We will do that in the following lines.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents for Indiana?
Indiana law sets strict time limits, called statute of limitations, for victims to take action against their tortfeasor. These limits do not refer exclusively to car accidents in Indiana but rather to the losses incurred. Thus, there are specific timeframes for actions referring to property damage and for actions referring to injuries.
These are stipulated in Indiana Code section 34-11-2-4. They allow a deadline of two years for civil court actions referring to injuries and damages to personal property. When someone tries to file a lawsuit after this period has passed, the court will most likely dismiss it. The countdown begins on the day of the accident.
There are, however, a few circumstances in which the court may allow actions after the two-year deadline. These refer to:
- Minor plaintiffs – They may take action when they become of age
- Disabled plaintiffs – They may take action when they recover from their disability
- Late discovery – When the injuries are discovered later
Obviously, the plaintiff will have to prove these circumstances. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the above described time limits refer to court actions, not insurance claims.
Generally, insurance companies have different requirements for their policyholders. Most of them will specify in their agreement that the insured has the obligation to notify them of their intentions within a reasonable period of time. This period could mean a couple of days or weeks at most.
Those who wait longer before acting will have to prove the circumstances that caused the delay. Otherwise, they will lose their right to compensation. These being said, it should be easy to understand why the safest strategy for car accident victims would be to act as soon as possible.
Why Get in Touch with an Indianapolis Car Accident Lawyer As Soon As Possible?
Leaving the statute of limitations aside, acting early is important for several other reasons. Here are the most important of them:
- Evidence may get lost or become unavailable. Usually, the most valuable evidence in a car accident case is found at the accident scene. Brake marks, oil leaks, and other potential evidence are often wiped off by time, traffic, and weather.
- Witnesses may change phone numbers, relocate, or forget. You cannot expect someone to keep the same phone number or continue to live at the same address just because they may have to testify in their favor. Also, with time, details become easy to forget. A witness’s inability to remember details will render their testimony useless.
- Preparing a case takes time. Both court actions and insurance claims require following specific procedures that take time. They also require solid evidence that can be difficult to come by. It is better to start early and, if necessary, wait a little longer before actually filing the paperwork than to do everything in a hurry and make mistakes.
Even a couple of days can make the difference between winning and losing. Why wait and take chances, when you can get in touch with an Indianapolis car accident attorney immediately? They will review your case and let you know exactly where you stand. They can take over all the hassles and make sure that you seek compensation at the right time.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Stewart | Phelps | Wood Car Accident Lawyer Now!
We understand your concerns and why you may want to wait. However, doing it could diminish your chances of obtaining compensation for your injuries. To eliminate risks for you and make sure you get the best advice possible, we provide free preliminary consultations.
Call Stewart | Phelps | Wood Injury Lawyers and schedule a free review of your case now! It is the best way to determine how much time you have left and what you have to do in order to recover your losses. Once you have all the facts, you can determine if you want to act immediately, wait, hire our Indianapolis auto accident lawyer, or try your luck on your own.