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Statute of Limitations in Motorcycle Accident Cases

November 11, 2023 Legal Team
hourglass on rocks with caption: the time limit for florida motorcycle accident claims

An accident is always distressing, and sometimes it’s painful and traumatic, with serious injuries with temporary or life-altering implications. Motorcyclists are especially at risk for grave injuries in an accident due to the unenclosed design that leaves no metal barriers between the biker and the road. Although a helmet protects against many types of traumatic head injuries, the remainder of the motorcyclist’s body is at risk of severe injuries, especially in a collision with a 4,000-pound metal vehicle or direct contact with the road.

After a motorcycle accident, an injury victim may find expensive medical bills for surgeries, procedures, treatment, and physical therapy piling up at the same time they’ve missed many days, weeks, or even months of work. A personal injury claim for damages like medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering can make all the difference for a victim’s financial recovery while they focus energy on their physical recovery. But first, it’s important for motorcycle accident victims to file a claim before Florida’s newly shortened statute of limitations expires. Attempting to file a lawsuit past this date results in the court tossing out the case.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accident Claims

Until recently, Florida allowed all injury victims up to 4 years after an injury to file a personal injury lawsuit against a liable party to seek compensation for damages. As of March of 2023, that time clock was reduced to two years after the date of the injury, including for motorcycle accident claims. This change only applies to motorcycle accidents and other injuries that accrue after the date of the change that occurred in March. If your injury occurred before that time, you may still have up to four years to file a claim. For motorcycle accidents that occurred after March of 2023, the statute of limitations for injury claims is two years from the date of the accident.

Why Do States Limit the Amount of Time an Injury Victim Can File a Claim?

Statutes of limitations for motorcycle accident claims and other injury lawsuits serve to ensure the following:

  • That evidence in the case remains available, fresh, and uncompromised
  • That eyewitness testimony in cases that go to court is still reliable
  • That defendants don’t have to live under the continued threat of lawsuits

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis reduced the amount of time victims have under the state’s statute of limitations with the intention of reducing the number of lawsuits that come to court when evidence is no longer available or reliable. However, this places considerable constrictions on the amount of time that injury victims and their attorneys have to investigate the motorcycle accident, determine the liable party, prove negligence, and negotiate with the insurance company to attempt a settlement before taking the matter to court.

Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in Florida?

“Tolling” or the delaying of the statute of limitations for motorcycle accident claims occurs only under limited circumstances including the following:

  • If the injury victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the injury, they have until two years after their 18th birthday to file a claim
  • If the defendant in the motorcycle accident case leaves the jurisdiction, cannot be located, or remains unidentified for a period of time the statute of limitations may begin after they are located
  • When an injury is undiscovered until sometime after the accident—such as a nagging backache later diagnosed as a shattered vertebrae from the accident—the statute of limitations begins on the date of discovery

If you have questions about the Florida statute of limitations and its impacts on your motorcycle accident claim, it’s important to speak to a Florida motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Reach out to the motorcycle accident lawyers in Sarasota and Bradenton at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann to get the compensation you deserve.