The State of Indiana just ran into my car, can I sue them? The answer is yes, but there are a few specific hoops to jump through. You have a claim under Indiana’s Tort Claim Act. A tort claim case can be complicated. Do not use this article as a substitute to hiring an attorney who will review the specific facts of your case.
Indiana’s Tort Claim Act
A claim against a governmental entity in the State of Indiana is governed by Indiana Code § 34-14. An easy to navigate copy of Indiana’s code can be found at the General Assembly’s website. https://iga.in.gov/laws/2023/ic/titles/34#34-13. This article focuses on tort claims against any governmental entity outside of the federal government. These personal injury cases can include being rear ended by someone driving a government vehicle, a slip and fall in a government building, or a civil rights case brought against a police department.
If you are thinking about suing a governmental entity, you must keep Indiana’s Tort Claim Act in mind and give a Tort Claim Notice very early in the process. Failure to give a notice means a judge will dismiss your case when filed in State Court.
Tort Claim Notice
The deadline to file a tort claim notice is 180 days from the date of the loss, or 270 days if suing the State of Indiana. The first step is to identify the governmental entity involved. This could be a county, city, or school district entity; the State of Indiana itself could also be a defendant. The Indiana Political Risk subdivision should also be notified as this is a group that insures some governmental entities.
Indiana Statute lays out the elements of a tort claim notice. You can find a tort claim notice to the State of Indiana at the Attorney General’s website: https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/about-the-office/litigation/civil-torts/. The tort claim notice must include your name and address, location and date of the incident, the basis for the claim, and a description of your injuries. At a minimum, a police report, photographs, possibly medical records, and/or monetary damages incurred should be included. Each individual needs to send a separate tort claim notice, served by certified mail.
The government has 90 days to review your claim. In theory, the government looks at your claim, and it is either granted or denied. However, claims are frequently not handled at this pace. A claim is deemed denied if not addressed in 90 days.
What To Do After Filing A Tort Notice
Once all tort notice requirements are met, the general 2 year statute of limitations to file a claim in state court applies. Filing a complaint under the State Tort Claim Act starts like any other lawsuit. As the case progresses, different standards will apply. The Tort Claim Act uses “contributory negligence” instead of “comparative fault” used in most tort cases. Contributory negligence means that if the Defendant can prove you were a proximate cause of your injury, you recover nothing. Under comparative fault, you can be responsible for your own injury and still recover a lesser amount.
The other major hurdle is statutory immunity. If you go to the Attorney General form cited earlier in this article, they list 24 separate statutory immunities.
Need Help With Your Personal Injury Case?
At Martz and Lucas, we handle personal injury cases in Northern Indiana. Our team of professional attorneys takes every case seriously and works to maximize your recovery. Contact us today at (219) 462-1529 or email@example.com.