Being involved in a motorcycle accident can completely upend someone’s life. From substantial injuries to damage or destruction of their vehicle, routines are often different after an accident has occurred. Amid this stress and confusion, filing a claim is often the last thing on many people’s minds – that’s why hiring a professional motorcycle accident lawyer is essential.
Waiting too long after an accident can render a case unable to proceed, and filing too soon can compromise the full value of potential compensation achieved by the case.
Here is an overview of how long after a motorcycle accident a claim may be filed in California and the ideal time to proceed with this legal move.
How Long Can You Wait to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?
As with other types of accident claims, motorcycle accidents are governed by California’s relevant statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a rule dictating the duration of time during which legal action may be taken related to a specific case. In the context of a motorcycle accident, parties must submit their legal claim within two years of the accident.
In California, this timer begins on the day in which the accident occurred and any injuries or damages were sustained. Thus, motorcyclists have two years after the day of their accident to begin a claim; waiting longer means that no legal action may be taken.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations
Although the statute of limitations provides a definitive rule on the period of time during which motorcyclists are eligible to make a claim, some niche exceptions do exist that may extend this timeline. If the person involved in the motorcycle accident was a minor, their two-year timeline does not begin until the day they turn 18, regardless of when the accident occurred.
Another potential issue is that of any difficulties with the defendant. If the other party involved in the motorcycle accident left California, motorcyclists may request an extension to allow sufficient time for the defendant to return to the state and engage in legal proceedings.
The final means of extension relates to injuries. If the motorcycle accident caused severe injuries that left the claimant mentally incapable of making decisions, the statute of limitations may be expanded to allow them time to regain their mental faculties.
Similarly, if they discover after the statutory term has expired that they suffer from an injury caused by the accident that was not present before, they may utilize the delayed discovery rule to take legal action after the initial two years have passed. However, the person making this claim will need substantial evidence supporting why the injury was not discoverable or disclosed earlier.
Should You File Immediately?
Knowing that the statute of limitations restricts the timeline on legal action for a motorcycle accident encourages people to file quickly after the event. However, it is sometimes wise to be patient and allow time to pass before filing a claim.
An attorney representing the victim of a motorcycle accident will utilize evidence from medical bills, vehicle damages, and other harm to calculate the amount of compensation due in the case. If a claim is filed too soon after the accident, sufficient time may not be given to allow the totality of medical bills and other harms to manifest themselves.
For example, suppose that an individual suffers a brain bleed as a result of a motorcycle accident. They receive acute treatment at the emergency room and then file a claim, attaching their hospital bill as evidence supporting the damages they are owed. The case proceeds, and the victim is awarded this compensation.
A few weeks later, they receive further medical care for residual symptoms of the brain bleed and discover the need for additional treatment, including brain surgery. Because the case has already been resolved, these costs—which are still consequences of the motorcycle accident—are too late to be included in the claim and have missed the attempt to recover compensation.
Speak with a legal professional to understand the best time to file after an accident. In many cases, the window will fall after treatment has been completed when further medical care is less likely.
Get Help With Your Motorcycle Accident Claim
If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, the steps you take next will have a significant impact on the potential results of your case. It is wise to work with a legal team experienced in motorcycle accidents to understand which evidence to submit, when to file a claim, and more.
The legal team can speak with the other party’s insurance and address legal issues on your behalf to avoid incrimination. Contact Lehr Law to schedule a consultation to discuss your experiences during and after the accident and proceed forward to seek the compensation you deserve.