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Virginia Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases: A Comprehensive Guide

Personal injuries can have a serious impact on you and your loved ones. If you’ve been hurt in Virginia at no fault of your own, it’s important to be aware of the time limit within which you must bring a personal injury lawsuit. This comprehensive guide by RVA Personal Injury Lawyers aims to provide you with all the details about the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Virginia.

1. Introduction

Experiencing an injury can bring physical, emotional, and financial difficulties. In Virginia, if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit against them to get compensation for any damages suffered. However, you must understand the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Virginia, so that you file your lawsuit within the required timeframe.

This guide offers an overview of Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. We discuss topics such as the two-year time limit, potential exceptions, why taking action early is important, and why you should get advice from a Virginia personal injury trial lawyer.

2. Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Virginia

What Does “Statute of Limitations” Mean?

“Statute of limitations” refers to the timeframe you can file a lawsuit. It determines the maximum time period within which a person can legally file a lawsuit after an injury takes place. Its purpose is to ensure that cases are brought to court promptly, preserving the integrity of evidence and preventing stale claims.

In Virginia, the standard time limit for injury lawsuits is usually two years from the date of the accident or incident.

As stated in section 8.01-243(A) of the Virginia Code, “Any action seeking compensation for injuries regardless of the basis . . . must be initiated within two years from when the cause of action arises.”

This means you have a two year window to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. If you do not initiate proceedings within this timeframe, you may forfeit your right to pursue a claim and receive compensation.

Consequences of Missing the Filing Deadline

If you miss the two-year filing deadline, it’s likely that the defendant (the party you intend to sue) will file a “motion to dismiss” based on the expiration of the statute of limitations.  Your case will then be dismissed by the court, and you will be prevented from pursuing your personal injury claim.

If you fail to meet the deadline, even if you have solid evidence against the defendant, you won’t be able to bring a lawsuit or pursue a claim. That’s why it’s crucial to know and follow the statute of limitations.

3. Exceptions to Virginia’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury

While Virginia typically has a two year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, there are some exceptions that might extend the filing deadline. It’s critical that you are aware of these exceptions and that you consult with an injury attorney in Virginia to determine if they apply in your situation.

Minors and Individuals with Incapacities

Virginia law grants time for minors and individuals who were incapacitated at the time of their injury. If someone is under 18 years old or considered “incapacitated,” they have two years from when they turn 18 or regain capacity to file a personal injury lawsuit.

In cases involving minors, their legal interests may be represented by a conservator or guardian. In those situations, the representative typically has a minimum of one year from their appointment to file a personal injury lawsuit according to Virginia Code section 8.01-229(A).

Obstruction of Filing your Lawsuit by the Defendant

If the person responsible for your injuries obstructs the filing of your personal injury lawsuit, the time during that obstruction may not be included in the two-year statute of limitations. Obstruction can take various forms, such as filing for bankruptcy or using indirect methods to prevent the initiation of legal action.

Instances of obstruction could involve adopting an alias intentionally, leaving the state to avoid being served with the lawsuit, or engaging in actions aimed at preventing or impeding proceedings as explained in Virginia Code section 8.01-229(D).

It’s important to understand that exceptions to the statute of limitations depend on facts and require assessment by an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney. Consulting with a lawyer will help you grasp the deadlines and any exceptions applicable to your case. To schedule a free case evaluation, call RVA Personal Injury Lawyers at (804) 915-1611 or contact us online.

4. The Significance of Taking Immediate Action

In personal injury cases, time is crucial. Acting promptly is important for a number of reasons, including preserving evidence, securing witness testimony, and building a case.

Building a Winning Case

When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, it is essential to collect and preserve evidence that clearly shows the defendant’s negligence and the extent of your harms and losses. This may include medical records, accident reports, photographs, statements from witnesses, and expert opinions.

Taking action as soon as possible is important to ensure that critical evidence is gathered, documented, and safeguarded before it becomes inaccessible or unreliable. Over time memories fade, physical evidence can be lost or destroyed, and finding witnesses can become challenging. By getting started on your case early, you are far more likely to be able to obtain the evidence needed to construct a strong and persuasive argument.

Preserving Evidence and Witness Testimony

In personal injury cases, evidence plays a role in establishing liability and proving the extent of your damages. Acting quickly allows you to preserve evidence like damaged property or defective products that can support your claim.

Witness testimony is also important in personal injury cases. Eyewitnesses, medical professionals, and experts can provide insights into the circumstances surrounding the defendant’s negligence and your injuries. By reaching out to witnesses and obtaining their statements early in your case, you can capture accurate evidence while bolstering the credibility of your case.

5. Why It’s Important to Have a Personal Injury Trial Lawyer

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident and the legal complexities of a personal injury claim can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to consider hiring a personal injury lawyer in Virginia. They can help alleviate the stress and increase your chances of getting a successful result. Here are some reasons why working with an attorney is beneficial:

Knowledge and Experience

Personal injury lawyers have knowledge of Virginia’s laws and regulations regarding personal injury claims. They are well versed in navigating the justice system and will likely have experience handling cases similar to yours.

Guidance Throughout the Legal Process

A personal injury lawyer will provide you guidance throughout the process, ensuring that your claim stays on track. They will take care of communication with insurance companies, negotiate on your behalf, and gather evidence to support your case. By entrusting your case to an attorney, you can focus on recovering from your injuries while having peace of mind that your legal rights are being protected.

Maximizing Compensation

Obtaining full and fair compensation for the harms and losses you’ve suffered is one of the main objectives in a personal injury case. A good personal injury lawyer will work diligently to maximize the compensation you deserve.

To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, your personal injury lawyer should carefully evaluate all aspects of your damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future rehabilitation needs.

6. Frequently Asked Questions About Virginia’s Statute of Limitations

Is it Possible for the Statute of Limitations to be Extended?

In certain circumstances, Virginia’s statute of limitations may be extended. Exceptions include cases involving minors or individuals who are incapacitated, or situations where the defendant obstructs the filing of a lawsuit. Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Virginia is essential to determine if any exceptions apply to your case.

What if I Discover an Injury or Damages After the Deadline?

If you learn about an injury or damages after the statute of limitations has expired, pursuing an injury claim will likely be challenging. However, there are some situations where you may be able to still bring a lawsuit, such as when the discovery rule is applicable. The discovery rule allows the clock on the statute of limitations to start ticking from the date when the injury or the damages was actually discovered or when it should have reasonably been discovered. It’s crucial to seek advice from a lawyer to evaluate whether this exception might apply to your case.

Do Medical Malpractice Cases Have Statute of Limitations?

In Virginia, medical malpractice cases also have a statute of limitations. The standard time limit is two years from the date when the alleged malpractice occurred. However, there are exceptions for situations involving objects left inside the body or instances of concealment. To know the deadlines that apply to your case, it is imperative to consult with a Virginia personal injury attorney who handles medical malpractice cases.

7. Conclusion

Having an understanding of Virginia’s statute of limitations regarding personal injury claims is crucial if you have suffered injuries due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Failing to file your lawsuit within the required timeframe can result in losing your right to seek compensation. By acting seeking guidance from a Virginia personal injury attorney and being aware of any exceptions related to the statute of limitations, you can safeguard your rights and increase your chances of succeeding in your personal injury claim.


Please note that this article is meant for information purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. To schedule a free case evaluation, call RVA Personal Injury Lawyers at (804) 915-1611 or contact us online.


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