The statute of limitations for Virginia personal injury cases is generally two years. The statutory clock starts running on the date of your accident. The state imposes this filing deadline to ensure the case is handled in a timely fashion, prevent the facts from becoming distorted, and ensure lawsuits are not filed frivolously.
In personal injury cases, filing your lawsuit on time is critical; however, going to court is fairly uncommon. Most cases are settled out of court when the evidence points to fault and liability. The statute of limitations can be extended or shortened based on certain factors related to your case. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand if any exceptions apply to your case.
The Statute of Limitations Can Fluctuate
The two-year statute of limitations found in Va. Code § 8.01-243 governs all personal injury cases in the state. Many different factors can cause the filing deadline to fluctuate, and on your own, it can be hard to know when it does and how any fluctuation affects your case.
In addition, most personal injury cases are settled without going to court. If a lawyer represents you, they may file your lawsuit as a protective measure to preserve your right to go to court if they cannot reach a settlement agreement with the insurance company in time.
Your lawyer will also explain all the factors that could cause your filing deadline to change and ensure they file your case on time.
Wrongful Death Cases
While they are similar to personal injury cases, wrongful death cases have a separate statute of limitations. According to Va. Code § 8.01-244, you generally have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Virginia. This varies from the personal injury statute because the clock starts running on wrongful death cases on the date your loved one passes away, even if that is not the accident date.
Suing a Government Agency
Lawsuits against a government agency also have unique deadlines. If you are suing a local government agency, many times you must send an official notification of your intent to sue in writing within six months of the accident, per Va. Code § 15.2-209.
If you intend to use the state government of Virginia or the state transportation district (e.g., if you were involved in a car accident with a government-owned vehicle), you must make official notification in writing within one year of the accident, per Va. Code § 8.01-195.6.
Cases Involving Injured Minors
If your minor son or daughter was involved in an accident, they also have the same general two-year time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, the statutory clock does not start running for minors until they turn 18. Therefore, they have until their twentieth birthday to file a lawsuit. Although this is different if the claim is one of medical malpractice.
Your lawyer will explain how and why the statute is tolled (or paused) for minors. They can also help you protect your child’s right to financial recovery.
Failure to Comply With the Statute of Limitations Is Costly
Complying with the statute of limitations can be a challenge since so many things can cause it to change. However, non-compliance can mean:
- You will not be permitted to file your lawsuit
- Your lawsuit will be dismissed without ever being heard
In either case, you will be left with no legal recourse that allows you to compel the at-fault party to compensate you. If that happens, the financial burden of the accident will fall on you and your family. With enough notice from you, a lawyer can ensure your case is filed on time.
They can also draft a demand letter, negotiate with the at-fault party or their insurance provider, and represent you in court, if needed.
You Can Seek Financial Compensation if You File Your Lawsuit on Time
You may obtain financial compensation after an accidental injury if you can prove negligence caused the accident. The legal elements of negligence include:
If you are successful, you may recover the following damages:
- Current and future medical bills
- Lost wages when your injuries stop you from working
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
- Mental and emotional distress
- Disabilities and disfigurement
The lawyer who represents you will carefully itemize your recoverable damages, collect evidence of their value, and ensure your compensation request is not undervalued or underpaid.
Contact the Case Review Team at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Today
If you or a loved one was involved in a negligence-based accident in Virginia, the statute of limitations for your personal injury case is generally two years. However, exceptions may apply, which can make filing your lawsuit on time difficult. At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, we understand how the filing deadline works and can ensure we file your lawsuit on time.
Contact one of our case review team members to get started today.