If you have ever been involved in a motorcycle accident, you know how disruptive it can be to your life. Even if your injuries are comparatively minor, you still have to deal with insurance, getting your bike fixed, and other hassles. And if you were seriously injured, you’re also facing medical treatments, the associated bills, time lost from work, and uncertainties about whether you’ll even be able to ride a motorcycle again.
It’s understandable that with so much going on, combined with the trauma of having been in a crash, that you might put off contacting a motorcycle injury attorney. Or you might have thought you could handle everything with insurance directly and just not bothered, except now significant time has passed and you realize the settlement offered by insurance isn’t enough to compensate you for all your losses and damages. Begging the question—is it too late to change your mind and hire an attorney to sue the person responsible for your accident?
Statute of limitations on a motorcycle crash lawsuit
The answer is less about the lawyer than the statute of limitations in California. When it comes to personal injury lawsuits like those stemming from a motorcycle accident, state civil law gives you up to two years from the date you sustained your injuries to file any claims. When it comes to personal property like your motorcycle, you have three years from when your bike was damaged in the crash. So, if your accident occurred more than two years ago and you now decide to hire a lawyer to sue for injuries (or more than three years have passed and you want more for the loss of your motorcycle or other property), it will likely be too late, unless one of the following circumstances apply:
- An injury caused by the accident was not immediately apparent. In that case, so long as you can show the injury was a direct result of the crash, you have one year from discovery of the injury to file your related claims, even if that brings you past the two year limit from the date the accident occurred.
- The person responsible for your accident was a minor at the time, in which case the statute of limitations is suspended until they reach the legal age of 18. Again, this could be some time past when the usual two year (for injuries) or three year (for properly loss) limits expired.
- Suspension, or “tolling” of statutes of limitations also apply if the person who struck you was deemed legally insane at the time of the accident, lived outside of California, or wound up in prison.
Your right to claim an exception to a statute of limitations can be difficult to prove. You will need a qualified lawyer to negotiate on your behalf if you believe your case could be pursued even though the standard time limit on filing claims has run out.
Los Angeles motorcycle crash attorney
The best thing you can do for yourself is to contact a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer like Scott J. Corwin as soon after your crash as possible. Even if it is just to have a consultation and learn what your rights are, you will be better informed as to whether filing a lawsuit is in your best interests. Call today for a no-obligation consultation with Scott at 866-477-1011.