Smid Law Dec. 8, 2021

What is a Statute of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is any law that bars claims after a certain period of time passes from when the cause of action accrues. This period of time differs depending on the jurisdiction and type of claim. Statutes of limitations exist for both civil and criminal actions.

Indiana’s Statutes of Limitations

To provide a glimpse of Indiana’s statutes of limitations, the ones relating to some of the more common actions dealt with by Smid Law have been addressed below.

Personal Injury and Injury to Personal Property

Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4 states, “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 accrues.” Therefore, an action for injuries that are sustained from a car accident, for example, needs to be commenced within two (2) years from the date of the accident.

Fraud, Collection of Rents, Injury to Property Other Than Personal Property, Etc.

If one has a fraud claim or one of the above actions, Indiana Code § 34-11-2-7 provides, “The following actions must be commenced within six (6) years after the cause of action accrues: (1) actions on accounts and contracts in writing; (2) actions for injuries to property other than personal property; (3) damages for detention of personal property and for recovering possession of personal property; or (4) actions for relief against frauds.”

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a type of legal action against a health care provider for making a negligent act or omission in treating a patient, thereby causing an injury. Indiana Code § 34-18-7-1 states, “A claim, whether in contract or tort, may not be brought against a health care provider based upon professional services or health care that was provided or that should have been provided unless the claim is filed within two (2) years after the date of the alleged act, omission, or neglect, except that a minor less than six (6) years of age has until the minor’s eighth birthday to file.” Therefore, if one believes that a health care provider caused an injury to them through negligent diagnosis, treatment, aftercare, etc., and is not under six (6) years of age, he or she has two (2) years to file an action.

Breach of Contract

Indiana law is a bit unclear when it comes to the statute of limitations for actions relating to contracts. Indiana Code § 34-11-2-9 provides, “An action upon promissory notes, bills of exchange, or other written contracts for the payment of money … must be commenced within six (6) years after the cause of action accrues.” On the other hand, Indiana Code § 34-11-2-11 states, “An action upon contracts in writing other than those for the payment of money, and including all mortgages other than chattel mortgages, deeds of trust, judgments of courts of record, and for the recovery of the possession of real estate, must be commenced within ten (10) years after the cause of action accrues.”

Indiana case law has not provided a definitive answer as to which statute of limitations applies when dealing with the breach of a service contract or purchase agreement. If one believes that they have a breach of action claim, do not wait to initiate an action because the four year difference between the two statutes of limitations could potentially bar a claim.

Quick Overview of Indiana’s Statutes of Limitations

Personal Injury or Injury to Personal Property: 2 years

Fraud, Collection of Rents, Injury to Property Other Than Personal Property: 6 years

Medical Malpractice: 2 years

Breach of Contract: 6 or 10 years, depending on the contract

If you have any questions about a statute of limitations for a particular claim, contact Smid Law.


The information provided in this blog does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information available in this blog is for general informational purposes only. Information in this blog may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information.

Readers of this blog should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader of this blog should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information in this blog without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Use of any of the information contained within this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Smid Law.