If you’ve been hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be considering pursuing compensation from the individual or business responsible for your injuries. You should keep in mind that you do not have an unlimited amount of time in which to pursue your legal claim. If you need to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries, you must do so within the time specified in Virginia’s statute of limitations.
If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, you risk having your claim dismissed by the court as untimely and losing the chance to seek compensation. Reach out to Kendall Law Firm today for a free initial case evaluation. A Virginia personal injury lawyer at Kendall Law Firm can help you understand how the statute of limitations applies to your personal injury case.
What Is a Statute of Limitation?
The statute of limitations is a law, passed by Virginia lawmakers, that places a time limit on filing a civil or criminal action. Every state has its own statute of limitations. Particular types of legal claims have different time limits.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Virginia is generally two years. If an injured person does not commence a personal injury lawsuit before the two-year time limit runs out, the lawsuit will be barred. The claimant will lose their right to pursue the claim.
However, other circumstances can alter the applicable statute of limitations on an individual’s claim. For example, when a minor has an injury claim, the statute of limitations may not begin to run until the minor turns 18. Similarly, the statute of limitations may pause when a claimant becomes physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to file their claim.
Courts sometimes extend the time allowed to file a lawsuit based on the discovery rule. The discovery rule states that a limitations period does not begin until a person knows they have suffered harm and the source or nature of that harm or until the claimant should have discovered the injury.
The discovery rule is often applied in personal injury cases such as medical malpractice claims. If a surgeon harms a patient by leaving a surgical tool such as a clamp inside the patient’s body, the statute of limitations on the patient’s medical malpractice claim does not begin until the patient discovers that the medical equipment was mistakenly left inside their body.
What Are Injuries Under Personal Injury Law?
A personal injury claim arises when you have suffered a physical or emotional/mental injury due to the acts or omissions of another party, and you have incurred financial losses as a result of your injury. Some of the incidents that commonly give rise to personal injury claims include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, such as car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bus accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Accidents caused by dangerous or defective conditions on another person’s property
- Construction site accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability accidents, or accidents caused by defective products
- Injuries caused by physical assaults
- Intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress
Time Limit To File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Virginia
The primary time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia is two years from the date of an accident or incident that caused the injury. If you wish to file a lawsuit after being injured through someone else’s negligence, you must do so within two years of the day that your injury occurred.
However, depending on the circumstances of your case, the statute of limitations on your personal injury claim may be extended.
VA Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Cases
In a slip and fall case, the Virginia statute of limitations requires you to file a lawsuit within two years of the fall to recover compensation for injuries you suffered in the fall. However, you have five years to file suit for compensation for property damage you may have incurred because of the accident.
VA Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Cases
A medical malpractice lawsuit in Virginia must be filed within two years of the date of the last negligent treatment that caused an injury or death. However, additional time to file may be allowed in cases in which a patient later discovers a foreign object has been left in their body.
The rule for minors also applies to medical malpractice cases. However, if a minor is harmed by medical negligence before their eighth birthday, their legal guardian has until the child’s tenth birthday to file suit.
The application of the statute of limitations to medical malpractice cases can be complicated. You should consult an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances.
VA Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases
In Virginia, personal injury lawsuits related to car accidents must be filed within two years of the date of the crash. The time allowed to file a lawsuit may be extended if a car accident victim is physically or mentally incapacitated.
VA Statute of Limitations for Defective Product Cases
A product liability case based on an allegation of defective design, defective manufacture, or failure to warn/instruct must be filed within two years of the date that the injury from the unsafe product.
VA Statute of Limitations for Child Injury Cases
Minors cannot bring lawsuits on their own. A minor who is injured in an accident must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of turning 18 or within two years of being declared legally emancipated by the court.
A child’s parents have five years from the date of their child’s injury to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for expenses the parents incurred to treat their child’s injury. The child retains the right to file suit after turning 18 to seek compensation for other losses they suffered, such as pain and suffering or lost future earning potential.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late. Call Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Today
Do not delay talking with a Virginia personal injury attorney about your personal injury claim. Waiting too long to get started on your claim may result in your case being barred by the statute of limitations. Call Kendall Law Firm today at (866) 580-9773 for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options for pursuing financial recovery.