After you’ve experienced a life-altering accident, the last thing you want to think about is what to do next. The focus appropriately gravitates toward medical attention and physical wellbeing. But where the prospect of a lawsuit exists, there are important legal deadlines that cannot be overlooked. Many families who do not have all of the information about their state’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims may be in danger of missing their window to file a claim and receive possible compensation for their suffering.
Statute of Limitations: A Deadline You Can’t Afford to Miss
Car accident statistics confirm that auto accidents happen at all times of the day, night and throughout the year. It may seem unusual that there is a ticking clock that starts right after that other car collided into yours, or that floor gave way unexpectedly. The timer starts when you “discover” the incident or injury, and the time limit ranges between one and six years, depending on the state. However, like all things, the statute of limitations is not all black and white, which is why it’s important to have all the information before an emergency arises.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Definition
A statute of limitations, according to the WEX Legal Dictionary, is any law that bars claims after a certain period of time passes after an injury. This amount of time varies from state to state and depends upon the type of law. For example, there is no statute of limitation for murder in any state. This article focuses on the statutes of limitations for Personal Injury Claims in the states of Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.
The Law exists to protect both plaintiffs and defendants. A statute of limitations is a tool used to protect the defendant from a claim in which they may have lost possible evidence or to protect the defendant from a cause of action that could have been pursued without reasonable diligence.
While it may feel unfair that you have to pick up the pieces of your life and immediately transform them into a court case, lest you miss your window, the statute of limitations can benefit plaintiffs for the same reason the law benefits defendants. It ensures that you begin your proceedings while the events are fresh in your mind and you are still in possession of all the necessary documentation.
Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations Kentucky – One Year is the Default
Kentucky has one of the smallest windows to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations for Kentucky works as follows:
- Personal Injury and Death Claims – The default statute of limitations for most injury and death cases is one year from the date of incident.
- Kentucky Car Accident Statute of Limitations – Two years from the date of the wreck or last Personal Injury Protection (PIP) payment, whichever is later.
- Kentucky Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations – One year from when the personal representative is appointed, not to exceed two years from date of death.
With these critical deadlines in mind, it’s important to start documenting immediately after a car accident and quickly seek out a lawyer you trust as most attorneys will use the most conservative date when considering the statute of limitations.
Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations Ohio – Two Years
Ohio has a two-year window, which means residents can have a little more time to collect information and determine the best way to approach their respective cases.
“(A) Except as provided in division (C) or (E) of this section, an action based on a product liability claim and an action for bodily injury or injuring personal property shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues. Except as provided in divisions (B)(1), (2), (3), (4), and (5) of this section, a cause of action accrues under this division when the injury or loss to person or property occurs.” – Ohio Revised Code Section 2305.10
Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations Indiana – Two Years
Indiana also has a deadline of two years to bring a cause of action in a case by filing a legal claim to open a lawsuit.
Indiana Code: IC 34-11-2-4
Injury or forfeiture of penalty actions
Sec. 4. (a) An action for:
(1) injury to person or character;
(2) injury to personal property; or
(3) a forfeiture of penalty given by statute;
must be commenced within two (2) years after the cause of action
Injuries Outside of The State Where You Live
If you are going to file a claim for a personal injury that occurred outside the state in which you live, the statute of limitations may be different. Be sure to inform your lawyer of all of the facts of your case to avoid case-damaging miscommunications.
Tolling and Discovery Rules
The statute of limitations for specific cases can be tolled under extraneous circumstances, meaning that it is suspended until the condition ends. Conditions are different in each state, but the following outlines some of the most common causes for a statute of limitations to be tolled.
- A party is/was in the military or overseas
- A party is/was a minor
- A party is/was deemed mentally unfit or incompetent
- A party is/was in prison
- A party is/was bankrupt
Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio are all “Discovery Rule” states. This means that the statute of limitations clock begins when you discover your injury. In some cases, the injury is immediately evident. In others, you may not immediately notice, as is sometimes the case with whiplash injuries and is commonly seen with medical malpractice cases. This can also occur when you might not know that the defendant was responsible or partially responsible for your injury.
A more difficult-to-prove possible cause for extension is if the defendant was out of the state in which the incident occurred for a prolonged period of time. Most states extend the statute of limitations in cases in which the defendant was absent. However, you should consult an experienced attorney before pursuing this avenue, because it is not easy to verify.
Call Isaacs & Isaacs for a Free Review of Your Case
At Isaacs & Isaacs, we have provided our clients with reliable legal services for over 25 years and have successfully recovered over $1,000,000,000 for our clients in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. No one should ever go through a personal injury lawsuit alone. Our lawyers have over 275 collective years of legal experience and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our office, at 800-800-8888, today!
Isaacs and Isaacs
1601 Business Center Ct
Louisville, KY 40299