Since bikers do not have much protection around them as a car would provide, the result of a motorcycle crash can sometimes be severe. A serious collision could result in hefty medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages from missing work, property damage, and other significant losses. It is critical to understand your legal rights, including when your claim is due, so you can seek financial compensation to assist with your recovery efforts.
The Florida Statute of Limitations only allows a certain period for accident victims to file a valid injury claim. If you wait too long, your claim could be denied by the court. At the law firm of Frankl & Kominsky, our attorneys offer free initial consultations for motorcycle accident victims. We can evaluate your situation at no cost and let you know if you are legally eligible for compensation and when your claim must be submitted.
Read on to learn more about the statute of limitations for a motorcycle crash in Florida and some key factors that could determine when a claim is due.
Florida State Laws for Motorcycle Crashes
According to the Florida Statute of Limitations, motorcycle injury victims only have a limited period to file a claim in order to seek financial compensation. If you do not submit your claim on time your case could be barred from the court and you will no longer be able to recover funds for your damages. Inquiring with a top-notch law firm may be in your best interests to ensure your legal rights to pursue compensation are protected.
Every state varies in the amount of time they allow injury victims to pursue compensation after a motorcycle crash. In Florida, the statute of limitations is usually four years from the date of the accident. However, there are certain situations when the claim may be due sooner or later, depending on various determining factors related to your situation.
We recommend speaking to a knowledgeable lawyer from our firm in a complimentary initial consultation to verify the correct due date for your motorcycle crash claim.
Different Types of Motorcycle Accident Claims
There are several different types of motorcycle accident claims you could file, depending on the details of your situation:
Personal injury claim – If you were injured in a motorcycle crash, you may need to file a personal injury claim. Most personal injury claims in Florida need to be submitted within four years from the date the crash occurred. While there may be some exceptions during extenuating circumstances, the court rarely allows extensions. If you try to file after the due date, your claim may be rejected by the court.
Wrongful death claim – If a motorcycle crash resulted in the death of a loved one, surviving family members may need to file a wrongful death claim. These claims must be filed within two years from the date of the crash. Surviving family members could be eligible for compensation to cover funeral and burial costs, medical bills, loss of future income, loss of consortium, and more. Having a dedicated and compassionate lawyer on your side is recommended to pursue the full amount of compensation you and your family may deserve.
Product liability claim – Sometimes a serious motorcycle accident may be caused by a defective part or poor product design. Defective tires, faulty brakes, and inadequate fuel tanks are all common examples of potentially defective products on a motorcycle. Injury victims may need to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the bike or its parts. These claims need to be filed within four years from the date of the crash, except in cases involving death which are required to be submitted within two years.
Claims against the government – Sometimes motorcycle accident victims may have no choice but to file a claim against the government to recover the compensation they need. For example, if the crash was caused by a government driver, poor road design or lack of road maintenance, you may need to file a claim against certain government agencies. These claims are commonly due within three years from the date of the accident.
Property damage claims – Motorcycle accidents usually result in significant property damage. Cyclists who wish to repair or replace their bikes may need to file a property damage claim within four years.
Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may need to file multiple claims to hold multiple parties liable for your damages. The motorcycle accident lawyers at Frankl & Kominsky have experience handling complex cases involving multiple claims. Our goal is to help you pursue the full amount of compensation needed for your situation.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
Although the state of Florida has strict rules to enforce the statute of limitations for cases involving personal injury, there are certain circumstances that may grant an extension, such as:
Delayed discovery – Not all injuries have symptoms that appear immediately. Some injuries such as whiplash can take several days or weeks before you start feeling pain or discomfort. According to Florida’s “discovery rule,” if the injured party finds the injury at a later date, the statute of limitations begins from the date of discovery. Although these types of cases usually involve medical malpractice or defective products, there are certain instances when a delayed discovery may be possible in a motorcycle crash case.
Catastrophic Injury – When injuries are so severe that the victim is incapable to file a claim, the injuries may be considered catastrophic. When this is the case victims have up to seven years to file a claim. For example, if the victim suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or is in a coma due to the crash, it could be classified as a catastrophic injury.
Minors filing a claim – When a minor is injured in a motorcycle crash he or she may wait until reaching adulthood to file a claim, unless someone files the claim on their behalf. Depending on the details of the case, the clock may not start on the statute of limitations for a minor until his or her 18th birthday.
False representation – When the at-fault party uses a false identity, it can cause a significant delay in the claims process. When this is determined, the clock for the statute of limitations is stopped until the identity and location of the individual is verified.
The at-fault party cannot be found – In order to file a lawsuit the at-fault must be served court documents in person. If the individual in question leaves the state or is in hiding, the clock on the statute of limitations may be stopped until he or she is found.
While these exceptions may seem similar to your own situation, the court rarely allows them to be applied without substantial evidence. Having a knowledgeable lawyer represent your case could be essential to investigate and build a credible case in your favor. Personal injury lawyers know how to guide their clients through the legal process and have experience dealing with these procedures. Therefore, motorcycle accident victims who hire legal representation usually earn more favorable settlements than those who decide to represent themselves.
Seek Legal Advice to Protect Your Rights
If you or a loved one was hurt in a motorcycle crash it is critical to speak with a licensed attorney as soon as you can. Because of the statute of limitations in Florida, the longer you wait to file a claim, the less time your attorney will have to perform a thorough investigation.
At the law firm of Frankl & Kominsky, our dedicated team of legal professionals is prepared to listen to the details of your motorcycle accident claim in a free initial evaluation. Our distinguished attorneys have over four decades of combined legal experience with more than 6,000 cases handled. We handle cases throughout the state of Florida, including the Miami area (by appointment only).
Call Frankl & Kominsky at (855) 800-8000 any time, day or night. Our phone lines are open 24/7.