The Importance of Following the Procedural Rules of an Indiana Personal Injury Lawsuit
Many people who have never filed a lawsuit before assume that it is a simple process—file the case, present your medical bills, and then resolve the claim. Lawsuits, however, are almost never that simple. In Indiana, like other states, there are specific procedural rules and requirements that parties to a lawsuit must adhere to when proceeding through the stages of a claim. When these procedural requirements are not followed, it can often derail your entire case and subject parties to unnecessary headaches, additional costs, and unexpected outcomes. This is why before filing or responding to a lawsuit, it is crucial that parties consult an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer.
In a recent opinion involving an Indiana slip and fall accident, the plaintiff was injured when she fell in the defendant’s restaurant. She subsequently filed a negligence complaint against the restaurant, and the restaurant filed a motion for summary judgment. After the defendant’s motion was denied by the lower court, it moved to appeal the decision. The Court of Appeals accepted the appeal on February 12th and required that any Notice of Appeal be due by February 27th. The defendant did not file their Notice of Appeal until March 3rd. On March 20th, the plaintiff moved to dismiss the defendant’s appeal on timeliness grounds, but the defendant argued that their appeal presented a substantial question of law and should be allowed to proceed. The Court of Appeals denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss without explanation and reversed the denial of summary judgment issued by the lower court. There was no discussion by the Court of Appeals of the untimeliness of the Notice of Appeal.
On appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals decision and dismissed the defendant’s appeal. Because the defendant failed to meet the procedural requirements necessary to show that the Court of Appeals should still hear the case despite their delay in filing the Notice of Appeal, the Supreme Court remanded the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.