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Florida’s Statute of Limitations in Motorcycle Accident Cases

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Posted on May 30, 2024

If you get involved in a motorcycle crash in Tampa, Florida, it is important to know and understand the statute of limitations. If you aren’t aware of this law, you could lose the ability to seek financial compensation for your motorcycle accident forever. The statute of limitations places a deadline on your right to file a claim.

How Does a Statute of Limitations Work?

All 50 states have statutes of limitations. These laws establish maximum time limits after an event within which legal proceedings must be initiated. If a claimant misses the filing window under the statute of limitations, he or she typically loses the right to hold someone else accountable for injuries and losses caused by an accident.

Even if the courts permit an accident victim to file a personal injury claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant involved in the case can use it as a defense to liability, or legal responsibility, for the damages in question. The courts will most likely accept this defense and the case will be dismissed. This is why it is critical to know your statute of limitations as a motorcycle accident victim in Florida.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Florida Motorcycle Accident Case?

Each state has unique statutes of limitations, and they differ depending on the type of case. In Florida, most motor vehicle accident victims have no more than two years to file their claims.

Florida Statutes Section 95.11 states:

  • 95.11 Limitations other than for the recovery of real property.—Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows:

(a) An action founded on negligence.

The personal injury statute of limitations in Florida was recently reduced from four years to two years. Any motorcycle accident occurring after March 24, 2023, will be subject to the two-year timeframe for claims filing.

Are There Exceptions to the Rule?

Certain circumstances can shorten or extend the statute of limitations on a motorcycle accident claim in Florida. There are a few exceptions to the general rule, although the courts will only grant extensions in limited circumstances.

A motorcycle crash victim may have more or less time to file a claim in the following situations:

  • Wrongful death claim: the clock on the statute of limitations for a claim filed after the death of a motorcyclist in a fatal accident will begin on the date of the victim’s death, not the date of the accident.
  • Delayed injury discovery: the clock can be tolled, or paused, for a victim who does not discover his or her motorcycle accident injuries right away. In this scenario, the clock will start ticking on the date of reasonable injury discovery.
  • Injured minor: if a child was riding as a passenger on the motorcycle when it crashed, his or her family may have additional time to file a claim. An exception to the rule extends the statute of limitations to seven years in many of these cases.
  • Missing defendant: if the defendant leaves the State of Florida and cannot be located or uses a false identity to escape liability, the clock can be paused until the defendant is located or crosses over state lines back into Florida.

Do not wait to contact an attorney regarding a motorcycle accident in Florida. Waiting can put you at risk of missing your statute of limitations. It can also weaken your case, as important types of evidence may no longer be available by the time you take legal action. Contact a Tampa personal injury attorney online without delay to protect your legal rights.