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Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Indiana


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Indiana residents often face the unfortunate reality of car accidents. Despite the frequency of these incidents, many victims might not be aware of the time constraints surrounding filing a claim for their damages.

In Indiana, car accident victims must file their cases within two years from the date of their injury. This deadline might seem generous, but it can pass quickly. If the case is filed after the deadline, the court will typically not consider it. However, Indiana law provides exceptions that give victims more time to file their claims.

To have your case reviewed free of charge with our Indiana car accident attorneys, contact Wruck Paupore by calling (219) 322-1166.

What is the Time Limit for Filing a Car Collision Claim in Indiana?

If you have been injured in an Indiana car accident, it is important to know about the statute of limitations, which refers to the timeframe within which you can file a claim against a negligent party. According to Ind. Code § 34-11-2-4(a), car accident victims generally have two years from the date of the accident to file a case in Indiana.

It is crucial to file your claim within this two-year window, as failing to do so might result in losing your opportunity to recover compensation. Our Indianapolis car accident attorneys can help identify the cutoff date in your case and help file your claim on time. However, if your claim is filed after the time limit has passed, the defendant's lawyers will typically file a motion to dismiss the case, which the court will likely grant unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Another reason to initiate your case quickly is to preserve the evidence you will need to prove your claim. Evidence can go missing or lose relevance over time if not procured immediately following an accident. Without evidence, you will have no way to substantiate your claims.

When Does the Statute of Limitations Stop Tolling in Indiana?

As with many legal rules, there are exceptions to Indiana's window to file a claim. Indiana law outlines specific circumstances in which the clock will not begin to run until a particular time, giving you a bit more time. However, these situations are rare. Thus, you should consult our team to determine if any of these exceptions apply to your car accident case.

Legal Disability

One of the most typical exceptions is for victims who have legal disabilities. The most common disability is for minor victims. According to Ind. Code § 34-11-6-1, the time does not begin to run until the minor child reaches the age of 18, at which they will have two years to file their cases.

This law also applies to victims who are legally incompetent and cannot file within the allotted time. Still, you must provide proof of legal incompetence to file, which could include being involuntarily hospitalized at the time.

The Discovery Rule

The discovery rule is another important exception. In some cases, you cannot discover the cause of the injury right away. This might allow you to file within two years of the date that you discovered the injury rather than two years after the accident, but this kind of exception usually does not come up in car accident cases. Instead, you usually know about the injury and its cause right away in a car accident case.

The Defendant Has Fled the State

If the person responsible for your injury resides outside the state, it might impact the time limit. Per Ind. Code § 34-11-4-1, the clock is paused during the period when the resident defendant is not living in Indiana. For car accident claims in Indiana, the two-year statute of limitations typically does not include the time when the defendant is residing outside of the state. Once the defendant returns to Indiana, the statute of limitations begins tolling again. While this exception may apply in limited circumstances, however, it should not be relied on if it is possible to file within the standard 2 year period.


Defendants might occasionally choose to withhold their involvement or evidence in order to use the statute of limitations against you. However, if this type of misconduct can be demonstrated, the court is likely to overlook the time limit. In most cases, the court will penalize the other party for their misbehavior, which might result in a larger compensation being awarded to you.

According to Ind. Code § 34-11-5-1, if an individual responsible for an incident conceals their involvement from the victim, the time dating from the car accident is not tolled. However, the clock will begin to run once the concealment has been discovered or should have reasonably been discovered.

Wrongful Death

In cases involving fatal car accidents where the victim succumbs to their injuries, Indiana has a separate time limit for wrongful death claims. According to Ind. Code § 34-23-1-1, the personal representative of the deceased's estate generally has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death case against the responsible party.

The reason for this exception is that the date of the accident and the date of the victim’s death might not be the same. For instance, if someone was critically injured in a car accident, they could be hospitalized for a certain period before passing away. In these cases, the time would start to run on the date of the victim’s death.

Damages You Can Recover if Your Case is Filed Before the Indiana Statute of Limitations Runs

If you were hurt and want to be compensated, you have the right to recover the medical expenses related to your injury. This includes payments for emergency room services, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, and other required treatment. You can claim not only the present medical expenses but also the past and future treatment costs.

If you cannot work because of your injuries, you can claim lost wages in your injury lawsuit. Lost wages are calculated based on what you would have earned if you had not been injured. You will need to provide proof of your lost wages through pay stubs or tax returns for the period of time that you were unable to work. If you are permanently disabled from your accident, you could also be entitled to lost future earnings.

Non-economic damages are a type of compensation that covers losses that cannot be measured in money. They include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and other damages that are not financial in nature. Non-economic damages aim to provide fair compensation for a person's subjective experiences. However, proving non-economic damages can be difficult since they are based on personal experiences and cannot be objectively measured.

Our Indiana Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

Reach out to Wruck Paupore by calling (219) 322-1166 to receive your free case evaluation with our Hammond, IN car accident lawyers.

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Top-Rated Litigator.
Helping injury victims move forward.

Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.

More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.

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Understanding the Insurance Company:
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In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.

Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.

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More than 40 Years of Experience.
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For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.

Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.

Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.

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