If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Wisconsin, the statute of limitations can vary based on the type of claim that you have.
Why does this matter to you?
Our team of motorcycle accident lawyers will walk you through exactly what the statute of limitations means and why it is important to consider if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
What is a Statue of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a type of federal or state law that restricts the time within which legal proceedings may be brought forth. These statutes are designed to prevent old and potentially fraudulent claims from being made when evidence may be lost or facts have been forgotten due to the passage of time.
For motorcycle accident cases, in most instances the statute of limitations is three years. The starting point for this time period is typically the date of the motorcycle accident. However, if a party or insurance company makes any advance payments of a claim, the three-year period would start to run from the date of the last payment.
If a person under age 18 is in an accident, they would have at least until their 20th birthday. The statutes refer to a person under 18 as a “person under disability”, and a “person under disability” has to file a lawsuit within two years from when his disability ceases, or age 20.
If you are making a claim for uninsured motorist benefits, the must now be presented within three years from the date of the crash. Formerly, there was a six-year period for uninsured motorist cases, but since 2015 that period has been reduced to 3 years.
What If You Are Making An Underinsured Motorist Claim?
If you are making a claim for underinsured motorist, the three-year period begins to run with the “final resolution” of the underlying claim. Underinsured motorist coverage is a special type of endorsement to the policy, your policy, which covers you if you are in a crash with someone with low limits insufficient to cover all of your losses. In that case, the company that has the inadequate limits must offer or tender their limits, and that is when the three-year statute could potentially begin running. The statute is unclear on whether all the paperwork needs to be completed, or whether it is just a binding settlement agreement that informally resolves the case. Just assume it is the day that the offer is accepted, and that would start the three-year period running.
What Happens If Your Motorcycle Accident is Out of State?
If the accident occurs in another state than Wisconsin, the statute would typically be the shorter of the Wisconsin limitation or the limitation of the state where the accident occurs. This often presents itself in cases that occur near a state border, where the case can be brought in more than one state. This is known as a “borrowing statute” which is a rule of law that provides the shorter time period typically applies.
Statutes of limitations vary greatly from state to state. California, for example, has a one year limitations on product liability or medical malpractice cases. Other states have standard four year statutes with exceptions for certain types of cases.
Other Limitations to Statutes
There are other limitations if your accident involves a government vehicle, or even a personal vehicle driven by a government employee on government businesses. There are extremely short notice provisions that need to be given depending on the governmental unit, sometimes as short as 120 days. That issue is fairly complex and should be analyzed by an attorney familiar with governmental personal injury claims.
Determining statutes of limit is not always an easy task and you should trust an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to help you proceed with a lawsuit.
If you are still looking for the right lawyer for you, consider filling out a free case evaluation and talking with a attorney today. You’ll see the difference when you have the opportunity to talk directly with an expert.
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If you have a case you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free case evaluation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.