Statute of Limitations is defined as, “a law that bars claims after a specified period; specif., a statute establishing a time limit for suing in a civil case, based on the date the claim accrued…” Black’s Law Dictionary 1546 (9th ed. 2009). Indiana’s statute of limitations for specific causes of action are codified in Indiana Code § 34-11-2 et seq. Under Indiana’s Statute of Limitations, The following actions must be commenced within six (6) yeas after the cause of action accrues:
(1) Actions on accounts and contracts not in writing.
(2) Actions for use, rents, and profits of real property.
(3) Actions for injuries to property other than personal property, damages for detention of personal property and for recovering possession of personal property.
(4) Actions for relief against frauds.
IC § 34-11-2-7.
In addition, “an action upon promissory notes, bills of exchange or other written contract for payment of money…must be commenced within six (6) years after the cause of action accrues.” IC § 34-11-2-9. In plain English the above accounts can include car loans, credit card loans, or rent from an apartment or house.
Under Indiana law, most collections cases are subject to a six (6) year statute of limitations. Under the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure, Statute of Limitations is an affirmative defense that can be raised by a Defendant in a lawsuit. Ind. Trial Rule 8(C). This means that if you have been sued or threatened to be sued, and you believe the cause of action was not filed within the six (6) years for the above matters, then you, as the Defendant, can possibly avoid payment of the debt by asserting and proving the defense of statute of limitations. If you have been named as a Defendant in a collection lawsuit, or even called in one of those high pressure calls where they threaten to have you arrested or garnish your wages, it is important to talk to an attorney to ensure all of your affirmative defenses are asserted and your rights protected. If you make a payment before calling for assistance you may have waived your defense as even though the statute of limitations is 6 years, it may have been extended by payments or other things you have done. Since each case is very fact specific, you should speak to an attorney before agreeing to or doing anything on the debt.
This blog does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney client relationship. This is for general information purposes as in most legal situations the facts and terms of an agreement between the parties can affect the result.