This is one of two cases we decide today involving the interaction of the statute of limitations provision of the Indiana Wrongful Death Act (“WDA”) and the statute of limitations provision for an underlying substantive tort claim. In this case, the limitations period for the underlying tort claim had expired before the lawsuit was filed, but the limitations period under the WDA had not. In Technisand, Inc. v. Estate of Melton ex rel. Melton, the other case we decide today, the sequence was reversed: the limitations period under the WDA had expired before the lawsuit was filed, but the limitations period for the underlying tort claim had not.
Conclusion (slip op. at 6): We grant transfer, thereby vacating the decision of the Court of Appeals, App. R. 58(A), and affirm the judgment of the trial court with respect to its decision to grant summary judgment in favor of Bethlehem.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 5-6): The Estate filed its complaint more than two years after the last date upon which Bethlehem’s alleged negligent conduct could have occurred, but less than two years from O’Neal’s death . . . If death is caused by the malpractice, the malpractice claim terminates at the patient’s death, and a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative within two years of the occurrence of the malpractice. O’Neal’s death was alleged to have been caused by Bethlehem’s medical malpractice. As such, the wrongful death claim was required to have been filed by her personal representative within two years of the occurrence of the malpractice. The Estate did not do so and the trial court properly concluded that its claim was not timely filed.
Shepard, C.J., and Dickson, Boehm, and Rucker, JJ., concur.