When you're injured in any type of accident, you have a certain amount of time to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit. This is called a statute of limitations. If you're injured in a motorcycle crash in California, you have two years to file your claim or lawsuit against another driver or a private company. If a defective part or product caused the crash, you also have two years to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product.
If a motorcycle crash caused your injuries, hiring a motorcycle attorney at Case Barnett Law is the best way to help protect your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Each state has a law outlining the length of time you have to bring legal action against an at-fault party following an accident. The time allowed depends on several factors, including the seriousness of the offense and the state you live in.
The primary purpose of statutes of limitations is to protect defendants from legal action that might no longer be fair. These laws are important because if people are allowed to file a claim or lawsuit many years after the incident, it may be difficult for both the defense and the prosecution to argue their case successfully. Critical evidence can be lost, and those who witnessed the incident may forget what they saw.
It's important to remember that if you wait even a day past the statute of limitations to file your claim or lawsuit, you won't be able to pursue your case.
Exceptions to California's Statute of Limitations
While there are different time limits for different situations, a skilled California motorcycle accident attorney knows the law in the Golden State and what exceptions may expand your timeframe for filing a lawsuit. These exceptions include the following.
Age of the Accident Victim
If the victim of the motorcycle accident is a minor, the statute of limitations won't start until that person turns 18.
Mental Incapacity of the Victim
If the victim was physically or mentally incapacitated for an extended period of time following the crash, the two-year statute of limitations will not begin until the victim regains mental acuity.
Discovery of Delayed Injury
Some motorcycle accident injuries don't always present right away. It may be weeks and months before they become apparent. Victims who don't know they're immediately injured until many weeks after the accident may be allowed more time to file a claim for damages.
At-Fault Party Is Not in California
If the person you are suing for negligence after a motorcycle crash is no longer in California, the statute of limitations may be delayed until that person returns. The clock begins when the at-fault party comes back to the Golden State.
At-Fault Party Is a Government Entity
If your motorcycle accident was caused by a California government entity, the time limit to file is much shorter. These entities can include the driver of a city bus or train, dangerous road conditions, construction zones, and non-maintained traffic signals. A motorcycle crash involving any of these government entities means your time to file is reduced from two years to as little as six months. This means you have much less time to file your claim.
The government must review your claim, investigate your case, and respond to you within 45 days of receiving your claim. If your claim for compensation is denied, you have six months to file a lawsuit. If the government does not communicate this denial, you will then have two years from the date of the crash to file.
You Need Skilled Legal Representation for Your Motorcycle Crash
It's important to hire an experienced motorcycle crash attorney who can help you understand the statute of limitations associated with your specific accident. If the deadline passes for filing a personal injury lawsuit, you won't be able to pursue damages, and the at-fault party insurance company will try to have your case dismissed.