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This is for Indiana Lawyers: Where Do I File My Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Your Indiana Lawyer Bill Hurst

The choice of what court to bring a personal injury lawsuit in Indiana is governed by Trial Rule 75(A)-Venue. The rule gives 9 different venues that qualify as a “preferred venue” and a 10th option if (1)-(9) do not apply to the situation. “An Indiana Plaintiff may elect to bring suit in any county meeting the criteria listed in Trial Rule 75(A)(1)-(9), and each such county is a county of preferred venue. Among the counties in which preferred venue lies, no preference is given to one county over another”. Grove v. Thomas, 446 N.E.2d 641, 642 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983).

 

 

Indiana Venue Statute

Indiana T.R. 75(A)(1)-(9) are summarized as follows:

  • Trial Rule 75(A)(1) the county where the greatest percentage of defendants resides, or, if there is no such greater percentage, the place where any individual defendant resides.
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(2) the county where the land or chattels or some part thereof are regularly located or kept  if the complaint includes a claim for injuries thereto or relating to such land or such chattels. There has been discussion as to whether this language allows for preferred venue in the county where an automobile involved in the crash was stored. The Indiana court of appeals in Grove v. Thomas, 446 N.E.2d 641, 643 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983) held that this language did indeed included that county as a preferred venue so long as “the complaint includes a claim for injuries to those chattels [the car].” Other cases have addressed personal items of property within a car which receive damage (but no claim for damage to the car itself) and were not found to establish preferred venue where those items are regularly located. R & D Transp., Inc. v. A.H., 859 N.E.2d 332 (Ind. 2006). Indiana case law states that the relevance of the location to the accident must be looked at. Id. (Discussed in more detail below)
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(3) the county where the accident or collision occurred, if the complaint includes a claim for injuries relating to the operation of a motor vehicle. It should be remembered when considering this section that both accident location as well as storage place of an automobile involved in the accident could both be viable.
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(4) the county where either the office of a defendant organization is located if such organizations or individuals are included as defendants in the complaint. This can be relevant to under or uninsured motorist carriers/insurance companies.
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(5) the county where the plaintiffs reside, the principal office of a governmental organization is located, or the office of a governmental organization to which the claim relates is located, if one or more governmental organizations are included as defendants in the complaint. To use this subsection, a governmental organization must be involved!
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(6) the county or court fixed by written stipulations signed by all the parties and filed with the court before ruling on the motion to dismiss.
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(7) the county where the individual is held in custody or is restrained, if the complaint seeks to have the individual freed.
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(8) the county demanded or recommended by any statute.
  • Trial Rule 75(A)(9) the county where all or some of the property is located or can be found if the case seeks only judgment in rem against the property of a defendant being served by publication.

 

T.R. 75(A)(10) is for a special circumstance.

  • Trial Rule 75(A)(10) the county where either one or more individual plaintiffs reside, the principal office of any plaintiff organization or governmental organization is located, or the office of any such plaintiff organization or governmental organization to which the claim relates or out of which the claim arose is located, if the case is not subject to the requirements of subsections (1) through (9) of this subdivision or if all the defendants are nonresident individuals or nonresident organizations without a principal office in the state.

 

Does T.R. 75(A)(2) include Damage To A Vehicle Involved In The Collision?

The most interesting and often used subsection of the Indiana venue statute is subsection (2) which covers locations where land or chattels are housed. Since the 1983 case of Grove v. Thomas Plaintiffs have used this subsection to assist in causing venue to lie in the county where the Plaintiff resides (when the accident caused damages to Plaintiff’s auto), since an automobile is typically housed at the Plaintiff’s residence. The 2006 case of R & D Transp., Inc. v. A.H. repealed prior cases which attempted to do this with personal property, damaged in a collision but owned and kept by the Plaintiff at their residence. An issue which arises is did this case overrule the 1983 case of Grove v. Thomas? The writer of this article believes that it did not. The court in R & D Transp., Inc. relied heavily on the conclusion that the location at which the personal property was kept played no role in the accident or the claim. This basis makes the facts of the case supremely important. The R & D Transp., Inc. case dealt with small items of personal property (e.g. orthotic devices). In cases such as Grove, damage was done to the automobile itself. The venue where a vehicle is housed can be viewed as more important than the venue where a small item of personal property is housed (e.g. maintenance and repair of the vehicle is typically done near where the vehicle is housed). Additionally, the R & D Transp., Inc. court explicitly named several cases which its holding was meant to overrule. All of the named cases involved personal property damaged within a vehicle; none of the cases had damage to the vehicle itself. Grove v. Thomas was not named in that list.

Other Considerations Including Convenience Of The Forum

As a further factor to help determine preferred venue under T.R. 75(A), the Indiana Supreme Court has advocated “adherence to the spirit of convenience underlying the venue rules, rather than an examination of the technical language.” Randolph County v. Chamness, 879 N.E.2d 555, 558 (Ind. 2008). In Randolph County v Chamness, the Indiana Supreme Court required the convenience to the court and parties trying the case to be considered when establishing preferred venue. “Preferred venue is located in counties where information is readily available, where relevant land and personal property can be found, where witnesses can be easily brought to court, and where the litigants reside or hold office.” Randolph County v. Chamness, 879 N.E.2d 555, 557 (Ind. 2008).

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FAQs
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It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Our Fees

It cost $0 up front to hire our office. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we settle your case or obtain a verdict on your behalf.

If we’re unable to obtain a settlement of verdict for you we eat the costs we’ve advanced to litigate your case, which includes costs for ordering medical records, filing your case, hiring experts, deposing witnesses, and many other things.

If we do settle your case or obtain a verdict for you our standard rate is 33% of the settlement or verdict, plus reimbursement for the expense we’ve previously advanced. Our fee never increases like some personal injury attorneys, even if we have to take your case to trial.

Case Worth

As a victim, establishing damages, negotiating with the insurance company, or filing a lawsuit can be daunting and next to impossible without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As a result, if you have been hurt in an accident, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled under Indiana law.

Why Hire?

Choosing an attorney that has experience dealing with personal injury law is important to protect your legal rights. If you are trying to recover damages from a business or other type of organization, you can bet that they are going to have a legal team on their side.

Medical Bills

If you were injured by an accident you may be struggling to determine who is responsible for paying your medical bills and holding them accountable. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer at The Law Office of William W. Hurst and learn if we may be able to help.

Recovery

After you have been injured, you are entitled to compensation. The type and amount of compensation depends on the injury, bills, the cause of the injury, negligence/bad faith of the defendant, etc. The attorney you retain can also heavy influence your recovery through knowledge, experience, and dedication. Legal terms and phrases can be confusing even after you retain an attorney. If you have been injured, you may wonder how much your case is worth or what your “damages” are. The worse the injuries, the higher the value of the case and the greater need for an experienced attorney