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Motorcycle Accident Statute Of Limitations

Motorcycle Accident Statute Of Limitations

Generally, the purpose of a statute of limitations is to encourage people who have claims to pursue them with reasonable diligence and to protect the rights of those who are sued. Ultimately, the longer a person waits to bring a claim, the more likely that evidence will become hard to track down, and the memories of witnesses will fade. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations period, a court can dismiss your claim.

 In personal injury cases, such as motorcycle accident claims, the statute of limitations specifically refers to the amount of time that an injured party has to sue an allegedly liable party for damages in civil court.

Table for statute of limitations.

AlabamaAla. Code § 6-2-30 et seq. *2
AlaskaAlaska Stat. § 09.10.010 et seq.2
ArizonaAriz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12-541 et seq.2
ArkansasArk. Code Ann. § 16-56-101 et seq.3
CaliforniaCal. Civ. Proc. Code § 312 et seq.*California has tolled the statutes of limitation for all civil causes of action from April 6, 2020, to 90 days after the Governor lifts the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (See, Amendments to the California Rules of Court, Emergency Rule 9.)2
ColoradoColo. Rev. Stat. § 13-80-101 et seq.2 (injuries from motor vehicle accidents, 3 years)
ConnecticutConn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-575 et seq.2
DelawareDel. Code Ann. tit. 10, § 8101 et seq.2
District of ColumbiaD.C. Code § 12-301 et seq.3
FloridaFla. Stat. Ann. § 95.011 et seq.4
GeorgiaGa. Code Ann. § 9-3-20 et seq.2
HawaiiHaw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1 et seq.2
IdahoIdaho Code § 5-201 et seq.2
Illinois735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-201 et seq.2
IndianaInd. Code Ann. § 34-11-2-1 et seq.2
IowaIowa Code Ann. § 614.1 et seq.2
KansasKan. Stat. Ann. § 60-501 et seq.2
KentuckyKy. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 413.080 et seq.1 (injuries from motor vehicle accidents, 2 years)
LouisianaLa. civil code § 3492 et seq.1
MaineMe. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 14, § 751 et seq.6
MarylandMd. Courts & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101 et seq.3
MassachusettsMass. Ann. Laws ch. 260, § 1 et seq.3
MichiganMich. Comp. Laws § 600.5801 et seq.3
MinnesotaMinn. Stat. Ann. § 541.01 et seq.2
MississippiMiss. Code. Ann. § 15-1-1 et seq.3
MissouriMo. Rev. Stat. § 516.097 et seq.5
MontanaMont. Code Ann. § 27-2-202 et seq.3
NebraskaNeb. Rev. Stat. § 25-201 et seq.4
NevadaNev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 11.010 et seq.2
New HampshireN.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 508:1 et seq.3
New JerseyN.J. Stat. Ann. § 2a:14-1 et seq.2
New MexicoN.M. Stat. Ann. § 37-1-1 et seq.3
New YorkN.Y. Civ. Prac. Laws & Rules § 201 et seq.3
North CarolinaN.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-46 et seq.3
North DakotaN.D. Cent. Code § 28-01-01 et seq.6
OhioOhio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.03 et seq.2
OklahomaOkla. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 91 et seq.2
OregonOr. Rev. Stat. § 12.010 et seq.2
Pennsylvania42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501 et seq.2
Rhode IslandR. I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-12 et seq.3
South CarolinaS.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-510 et seq.3
South DakotaS.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 15-2-1 et seq.3
TennesseeTenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-101 et seq.1
TexasTex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.001 et seq., Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 2.7252
UtahUtah Code Ann. § 78B-2-101 et seq.4
VermontVt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 461 et seq.3
VirginiaVa. Code Ann. § 8.01-228 et seq.2
WashingtonWash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.005 et seq.3
West VirginiaW. Va. Code § 55-2-1 et seq.2
WisconsinWis. Stat. Ann. § 893.01 et seq.3
WyomingWyo. Stat. § 1-3-102 et seq.4

What Is A Statute Of Limitations?

A statute of limitations is a type of federal or state law that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be brought forth. These statutes are designed to prevent old and potentially fraudulent claims from being made when evidence may be lost or facts have been forgotten due to the passage of time.

For motorcycle accident cases, in most instances the statute of limitations is three years. The starting point for this time period is typically the date of the motorcycle accident. However, if a party or insurance company makes any advance payments of a claim, the three-year period would start to run from the date of the last payment.

If a person under age 18 is in an accident, they would have at least until their 20th birthday. The statutes refer to a person under 18 as a “person under disability”, and a “person under disability” has to file a lawsuit within two years from when his disability ceases, or age 20.

If you are making a claim for uninsured motorist benefits, the must now be presented within three years from the date of the crash. Formerly, there was a six-year period for uninsured motorist cases, but since 2015 that period has been reduced to 3 years.

What If You Are Making An Underinsured Motorist Claim?

If you are making a claim for underinsured motorist, the three-year period begins to run with the “final resolution” of the underlying claim. Underinsured motorist coverage is a special type of endorsement to the policy, your policy, which covers you if you are in a crash with someone with low limits insufficient to cover all of your losses. In that case, the company that has the inadequate limits must offer or tender their limits, and that is when the three-year statute could potentially begin running. The statute is unclear on whether all the paperwork needs to be completed, or whether it is just a binding settlement agreement that informally resolves the case. Just assume it is the day that the offer is accepted, and that would start the three-year period running.

When a motorcycle accident is caused by the negligence of a car or truck driver who is underinsured, i.e., he or she does not have enough liability insurance to cover his or her liability for your pain and suffering and economic damages, an underinsured motorist claim for injuries may be required. With an underinsured motorist claim, an injured motorcyclist turns to his own auto insurance company to pay what would have been recovered from the underinsured at-fault driver. Because underinsured motorist coverage is contractual – not required by statute – the statute of limitations will vary greatly, depending on the insurance company and the language of the underinsured motorist contract. Some contracts have one-year filing provisions and some have three-year provisions, while some have separate and independent notice provisions to contact the insurance company.

Uninsured Motorist case

When a motorcycle accident is caused by the negligence of a car or truck driver who is uninsured or who fled the crash scene and was never identified, an uninsured motorist claim for injuries may be required. With an uninsured motorist claim, an injured motorcyclist turns to his own auto insurance company to pay what would have been recovered from the uninsured or hit-and-run at-fault driver. Because uninsured motorist coverage is contractual – not required by statute – the statute of limitations will vary greatly, depending on the insurance company and the language of the uninsured motorist contract. Some contracts have one-year filing provisions and some have three-year provisions, while some have separate and independent notice provisions to contact the insurance company.

First-party medical benefits statute of limitations –

When a motorcyclist is injured in a motorcycle accident and requires first-party medical benefits coverage through his or her insurance company, then the motorcyclist will need to review the policy to identify any filing and/or notice requirements and their respective deadlines.

Wrongful death situation

 law entitles surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim against a negligent party, if they have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident as long as they do so within two years after the accident.

What Happens If Your Motorcycle Accident is Out of State?

If the accident occurs in another state than Wisconsin, the statute would typically be the shorter of the Wisconsin limitation or the limitation of the state where the accident occurs. This often presents itself in cases that occur near a state border, where the case can be brought in more than one state. This is known as a “borrowing statute” which is a rule of law that provides the shorter time period typically applies.

Statutes of limitations vary greatly from state to state. California, for example, has a one year limitations on product liability or medical malpractice cases. Other states have standard four year statutes with exceptions for certain types of cases.

Other Limitations to Statutes

There are other limitations if your accident involves a government vehicle, or even a personal vehicle driven by a government employee on government businesses. There are extremely short notice provisions that need to be given depending on the governmental unit, sometimes as short as 120 days. That issue is fairly complex and should be analyzed by an attorney familiar with governmental personal injury claims.

Determining statutes of limit is not always an easy task and you should trust an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help you proceed with a lawsuit.

Submit a Free Case Evaluation Now

If you are still looking for the right lawyer for you, consider filling out a free case evaluation and talking with a attorney today. You’ll see the difference when you have the opportunity to talk directly with an expert.

motorcycle accident statute of limitations Situation Of Colorado

What is the Colorado Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Under C.R.S. 13-80-102, a person must file any “tort action” that does not arise from the use or operation of a motor vehicle within two years after the “cause of action accrues.” A tort action is a personal injury claim. Typically, the cause of action accrues on the date a person suffers his or her injury.

Colorado does follow the “discovery rule.” Under this rule, the date when the statute of limitations starts to run is the date when a person discovered or reasonably should have discovered that he or she suffered an injury. However, in practical terms, the date when the clock starts to run on most personal injury claims will be the date of the accident.

What is the Colorado Statute of Limitations for Motor Vehicle Personal Injury Claims?

Another Colorado statute, C.R.S. 13-80-101, establishes the statute of limitations for personal injury claims which arise from the use or operation of a motor vehicle such as a car, truck or a motorcycle. Under the law, you generally have three years from the date of the accident in which to file a lawsuit. So, if you suffer injuries in a motorcycle crash in Colorado, you will need to pay attention to this statute of limitations.

What is the Colorado Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death?

Another Colorado law, known as the Wrongful Death Act, governs how and when a person can pursue compensation for the loss of a loved one. Under C.R.S. 13-21-203, surviving family members who are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim must do so within two years after the date of the death. This law applies to deaths caused by motorcycle accidents. However, if the death is caused by a driver who fled the scene of the accident – or a “hit-and-run” – then you would have four years to bring the claim.

Particular Situation In Michigan

The motorcycle accident statute of limitations in Michigan requires injured motorcyclists to file their lawsuits for pain and suffering compensation within 3 years of the motorcycle accident. Motorcyclists who were injured in accidents involving cars or trucks have 1 year to make a claim for No-Fault benefits.

Motorcycle accident statute of limitations for No-Fault benefits

When a motorcyclist has been injured in a motorcycle accident that involves a car or truck, then he or she qualifies for No-Fault benefits and the statute of limitations requires that he or she must file an application for No-Fault benefits “within 1 year after the accident.” (MCL 500.3145(1))

The application is also referred to as the “written notice of injury” and it must “be given” to the auto insurance company who will be responsible for the motorcyclist’s No-Fault benefits, which is determined by the No-Fault law’s “priority rules.” 

The claim for No-Fault benefits – and any lawsuit that ensues against the auto insurance company for unpaid and overdue benefits – is referred to as a “first-party claim.” 

No-Fault benefits, which are also referred to as “personal protection insurance” benefits, include medical expenses related to the auto accident, wage loss for the first three years following the accident, household replacement services (chores/help with children), payment for mileage to and from medical appointments and attendant care, also referred to as nursing services.

Motorcycle accident statute of limitations for pain and suffering compensation

When a motorcyclist has been injured in a motorcycle accident, the statute of limitations “is 3 years after the time of . . . injury” to sue the at-fault, negligent driver for pain and suffering compensation. (MCL 600.5805(1) and (2))

This type of claim is called a “third-party claim” or “negligence claim” or “tort claim.” The damages available in a third-party claim following a motorcycle crash include pain and suffering damages and excess economic benefits.

Specific Situation For Florida

  • Motorcycle accident injury claims against a government entity. In the even that poorly maintained roads cause a motorcycle accident, or a driver in a government vehicle causes an accident, victims can sue the associated government agency or subdivision for damages. Under Florida law, victims have three years from the date of the accident to file suit against a government entity.
  • Property damage claims. Those who want to sue for property damage from a motorcycle accident including for damage or loss to their bike also have four years to take legal action.

Extensions to Statutes of Limitations in Florida Motorcycle Accident Cases

Florida’s legal code clearly states time limits for legal action after a motor vehicle accident, including motorcycle accidents, but the code also provides circumstances in which the court might make an exception. Below are some common exceptions that might persuade the court to extend the statute of limitations for your case:

Location of the Defendant

When a defendant leaves Florida after the date of injury, it makes it impossible to serve him or her court documents to initiate a lawsuit. In these situations the court will stop the clock until the defendant returns to Florida. The same applies if the defendant tries to avoid service and hide out.

False Representation

Sometimes a defendant might provide a false identity to law enforcement to avoid liability. In these cases, the court might extend the statute of limitations until the identity and location of the defendant is verified by law enforcement, insurance companies, or other investigator.

Catastrophic Injury

When a motorcycle accident victim suffers catastrophic injury making it next to impossible to file a claim, Florida law gives victims seven years from the date of injury to bring a lawsuit. Examples include victims who require extensive hospital stays for burns or because they were in a coma.

Delayed Discovery

Sometimes an accident victim might not immediately realize the extent of their injuries; this is referred to as delayed discovery. Florida law states that a statute of limitations clock does not start until the date that a victim discovers an injury or the date in which a reasonable person should have discovered an injury. This situation occurs more frequently in product liability and medical malpractice cases than in motorcycle accident cases; however, it might occur in a motorcycle accident case.

The most common example of the relevance of delayed discovery in a motorcycle accident case is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The delayed discovery rule is meant to allow victims enough time to file a claim after discovering an injury. Some motorcycle accident injuries, like TBIs, don’t present symptoms for weeks or months. Although a mild TBI might heal quickly, the victim might not discover the extent of the injury to brain function for a long time.

Minor Motorcycle Accident Victims

When minors are injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, the court might start the statute of limitations clock when they turn 18 if no one filed a lawsuit on their behalf. These situations vary greatly, so you will need to have a discussion about this with your attorney if you were injured as a minor or your dependent child suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident.

Statutes of Repose in Florida Motorcycle Accident Cases

statute of repose is another type of law that mandates time limits on personal injury cases. The legal community sees these statutes as favoring the defense because they place an absolute time limit on seeking damages in civil court. A statute of repose might even start the clock before an injury occurs. Broadly speaking, statutes of repose do not apply to motorcycle accident cases in Florida, unless the accident was a result of a defective motorcycle, motorcycle part, or helmet. Product liability claims are subject to both statutes of limitations and repose in Florida.

Under Florida law, victims may not take legal action for injury or fatality when a defective product that has an expected life of less than 10 years if the injury occurred more than 12 years after the initial delivery of the product to the first owner. For example, if a 15-year old motorcycle tire blew out on the highway and caused an accident, the injured party cannot seek damages even if the tire had a known defect. The statute of repose also requires that the first purchaser cannot sell or lease a product to use it as a component part. This prevents a motorcycle manufacturer from suiting a parts company who supplied their parts.

What if the Statute of Limitations Ends on my Motorcycle Accident Claim?

If you try to file a personal injury lawsuit for your motorcycle accident claim after the statute of limitation ends, the defense will move to dismiss your case because you filed late. The previously mentioned exceptions provide good cause for the court to hear your case, but many times the court will still deny the case. Once a Florida court dismisses your motorcycle accident case, you are prohibited from seeking damages for your injuries regardless of who caused the accident and how strong of a claim you have. Consulting and hiring with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney soon after your injury is the best way to ensure that you don’t miss out on compensation that you deserve because your statute of limitations ran out.

Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Coverage

Motor vehicle drivers and motorcycle drivers in Florida must provide proof of insurance when they register a vehicle. Florida law requires that motorists must carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL) coverage. Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that when you are involved in an accident—car, motorcycle, truck, or otherwise—you must file a claim with your own insurance carrier before suing another driver. Once you have met or exceeded your PIP policy limit, you can file a personal injury suit to recover additional damages. Your attorney will guide you through these claims and a lawsuit while taking into account the applicable statute of limitations for your claim.