The statute of limitations is crucial in any motorcycle case.In California, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver who caused your motorcycle accident. However, you have a deadline, referred to as the statute of limitations, to file your lawsuit against them. If you miss this time period, the consequences will be very harsh.

Statute of Limitations to File a Motorcycle Collision Lawsuit

The general rule is that you would have two years from the crash to file your lawsuit. However, this is not always the case. Here are the specific rules you need to know and follow:

  • Personal injuries. You have two years from the date of your motorcycle accident to file a lawsuit for the personal injuries you suffered.
  • Wrongful death. If a family member was killed in the motorcycle wreck, you would need to file a wrongful death action. The deadline to do this is two years from your loved one’s death, which could be different than the date of the collision.
  • Governmental entity. You would have a much shorter time period to sue if the negligent party is the State of California, a city, or other governmental entity. You would only have six months after the date of the crash to file your claim.
  • Minors. There is an exception to the two-year deadline to file a lawsuit if the motorcycle accident victim is a minor. They would have two years from the date of their 18th birthday to sue. However, you may be able to pursue their case for them before they turn 18 years old. 

What Happens If You Miss the Deadline to Sue?

The lawyer for the negligent driver’s insurance company would almost certainly file a motion to dismiss your lawsuit if you filed it after the statute of limitations expired. The judge would grant the motion and dismiss your case. If this occurred, you would not be able to litigate your claim, and the insurance company would have no incentive to offer you a settlement.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Hire an Attorney

Even if you have plenty of time before the time period to sue will expire, you should not delay hiring an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Your best strategy would be to retain an attorney as soon as possible after your crash.

If you hire a lawyer right away, you will be taking an important step toward building the strongest case possible against the negligent driver. Your attorney will be able to conduct a more thorough investigation into the cause of your crash, collect the evidence you need before it is lost, and file your lawsuit well before the deadline to do so will expire.

Were you hurt in a motorcycle accident in San Diego or Southern California that was not your fault? Call my San Diego office or start a live chat to schedule your free initial consultation.


Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney