A motorcycle accident can happen at any time, leaving you burdened with costly medical bills, missed wages, serious motorcycle damage, and more. However, you should not have to pay for the costs of someone else’s mistake.
If you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit to seek compensation after a motorcycle accident, you’ll need to know how long you have to file your lawsuit after your accident to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
Most states have a statute of limitations for personal injury cases like motorcycle accidents. The statute of limitations is the amount of time a person has to bring legal action. If you wait until even a day beyond the statute of limitations, you will not be able to bring legal action for the injury or wrongdoing. Your case will be dismissed.
According to Georgia Code § 9-3-33, any legal actions for personal injuries must be brought within two years from the date of the accident. So, that is how long you have to file a lawsuit after a motorcycle accident.
If you are bringing a case for property damage that resulted from a motorcycle accident (without physical injuries), the statute of limitations is typically four years from the date of the accident. If you live in a different state, the statute of limitations might be different.
Don’t Wait to Start Working on Your Case
The statute of limitations starts running on the day of the injury accident. It’s best to begin taking action on your case immediately, as two years can go quickly as you build your case. Plus, motorcycle accidents tend to be very serious, and you might need a lot of time to recover from your injuries so that you can determine how much your medical costs will be.
To get help with your case now, contact a trusted motorcycle accident lawyer. They can help you make the right decisions for your case and seek full compensation for your damages. A lawyer will also keep you on track so that you don’t risk missing the statute of limitations.
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Exceptions to How Long You Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
There are some exceptions that affect the statute of limitations, but they are rare. Under Georgia Code § 9-3-90, the statute of limitations can be “tolled” if the victim was under the age of 18 or legally incompetent due to mental illness or intellectual disability when the accident happened.
Some states will extend the statute of limitations if the person who caused the injury left the state for any period of time. However, in Georgia, a defendant being away from the state does not affect the case timeline.
How Long Can the Statute Be Tolled for Motorcycle Accidents?
It depends on the reason for the tolling. For instance, in the case of a minor, the clock is paused until they turn 18, and then they have two years after that to start their case. If it is because you’re planning to file a lawsuit, the timeline will depend on the courts.
Tolling the statute can be a complicated matter. Your motorcycle accident lawyer can tell you how it applies to your situation and how long you have to decide on whether to sue or accept a settlement.
You Might Not Need to File a Lawsuit for a Motorcycle Accident
While you have a right to file a lawsuit against a person or party who caused you harm, you might not have to. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that someone else caused, you can probably file a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
If the at-fault party was a driver, you can file a claim with their auto insurance company. Your claim can seek compensation for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage and
- Pain and suffering
A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you gather evidence of the accident, the other driver’s negligence, and your damages. Insurance companies rarely agree to the settlement right away. They might offer you a lowball settlement offer and hope that you’ll take it.
Never accept the first settlement offer. Instead, work with a lawyer who can negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair to you and helps cover your damages. If your lawyer can win you a fair settlement, you won’t need to file a lawsuit for your damages.
Although most motorcycle accident claims do not proceed to trial, there are situations where filing a lawsuit might be best. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate or offer a fair settlement, for example, your lawyer might advise filing a lawsuit. If you do so, it’s important to make the decision carefully and work with an experienced attorney from the beginning.
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How to Make Sure You Bring Your Motorcycle Accident Case Within the Statute of Limitations
Whether you file an injury claim or a lawsuit, don’t wait to get started. Here are some ways you can begin legally protecting your rights after your accident:
- Report the motorcycle accident to the police at the scene
- Take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damage
- See a doctor as soon as possible to get your injuries checked out
- Keep track of all medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses that you face from your accident
- Get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed your accident
- Contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer for a free consultation
Talking to an injury lawyer who specializes in motorcycle accident cases is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Schedule a consultation to meet with them and discuss how they can help you build a strong case to pursue the compensation you deserve.
What Are My Options If I Go Beyond the Statute?
If you have gone beyond the statute of limitations and still wish to make a claim, you’re at the mercy of the insurance company. One benefit of hiring a lawyer is that they have the knowledge to sue someone successfully.
Once that threat is gone, the insurance companies have far more bargaining power. While a lawyer may help a little, you may be stuck with receiving far less than you wanted. This is a position you don’t want to be in.
Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have 20-plus years of experience helping injured motorcyclists win the recovery they deserve. We can help you, too, starting with a FREE consultation. To schedule, call us or contact us online.