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.

Under Indiana procedural rules, filing a Notice of Appeal must be done within 15 days of the Court of Appeals accepting a party’s request for appeal. If the Notice of Appeal is not filed in adherence to the time requirement articulated in this rule, it will be assumed that the party has forfeited their right to appeal.

If, however, the Notice of Appeal is untimely, the Court of Appeals can still hear the party’s appeal in exceptional circumstances. To reinstate a forfeited appeal, the party must show that there are “extraordinarily compelling reasons why this forfeited right should be restored.” Examples of reasons that meet this standard include previous court decisions that involving “the constitutional dimensions of a parent-child relationship” or when a court’s order is “manifestly unjust.” Simply claiming that an issue has significant legal ramifications or is a substantial question of law is not enough to meet the standard.

Do You Need an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or someone you know has been recently injured in an Indiana car crash, or suffered injuries or any other type of preventable accident, contact attorney Padove Law. Attorney Padove has decades of experience advocating on behalf of Indiana clients, and understands the rules and requirements of the Indiana legal system. He aggressively advocates on his clients’ behalf at every stage of the process, helping to ensure the best possible result. To schedule a free consultation today, contact us at 877-446-5294.

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