The statute of limitations in Virginia determines how long you have to take legal action against the party responsible for your injury. As the victim, you generally have a two-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, this deadline can change depending on the details of your case.
To learn exactly how much time you have to file a claim, consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in Virginia. I, Ed Atkinson, treat all cases with urgency and care. Don’t let time slip away; call me today to protect your right to seek maximum compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a legal principle that sets a time limit for filing a lawsuit. Essentially, it acts as a deadline beyond which you cannot pursue a claim. This restriction ensures that litigation is initiated quickly, preserving the value of evidence.
The specific limitations vary depending on the type of case and the circumstances of your accident. As an experienced personal injury attorney serving Virginia, I can review your claim to determine what deadline applies to your claim.
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You Have a Limited Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Virginia
The Code of Virginia § 8.01-243 generally sets a two-year time frame for personal injury cases. This means that you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party within two years after the accident occurred.
The two-year deadline applies to most types of accidents that fall under personal injury law, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Slip and falls
- Animal attacks
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one were involved in an accident, seek immediate legal help to protect your rights. Depending on the details of your case, you might have more time or less than you think.
As per subsection B of § 8.01-243, any claim for injury to property and expenses related to an infant’s injury must be filed within five years. This extended filing window recognizes that such situations may require additional time for assessment and action. However, don’t get lured into a false sense of security; five years pass quickly, and any delay could jeopardize your case.
When does the Clock Start Ticking?
Figuring out when the clock starts ticking is essential to filing a valid claim. For personal injury cases, the countdown begins when the accident happens. However, a different system may apply to other types of cases. For example, according to the Code of Virginia § 8.01-244, wrongful death cases must be filed within two years from the date of the victim’s death.
Don’t let confusion be a roadblock in your pursuit of justice. Knowing the starting point is like having a map. It helps you navigate the legal terrain more confidently.
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What Happens If You don’t Meet the Statute of Limitations?
Failing to meet the Virginia statute of limitations leads to potentially losing your right to seek justice. Your case could be dismissed, regardless of its merits, leaving you without a legal avenue to address the injustice you’ve experienced. To make sure that your claim is filed within the correct time frame, reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Time is not on your side. As more time passes from the date of the accident, you risk losing valuable evidence. Witnesses may forget important details, and physical evidence can get damaged or lost. By contacting me soon after your injury, I can use fresh evidence to build a strong case.
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Exceptions to the Standard Statute of Limitations
Under Virginia Code § 8.01-229, the statutory period can be paused under specific circumstances, extending the time limit. This is not just a legal detail; it’s a provision with real implications for your case. Knowing when and how the clock can be paused is a strategic advantage.
Consider if any of the following situations apply to your case.
When an individual entitled to file a lawsuit is a minor during the injury, the statute of limitations clock starts ticking after their 18th birthday. This means that the time during which the victim is a minor is not counted as part of the limitation period.
The Injured Party Is Incapacitated
If a victim entitled to bring a legal action becomes incapacitated after the accident, the time during which they are incapacitated is not calculated as part of the filing period. Incapacity, in this context, refers to a condition that prevents an individual from pursuing legal action.
Death of a Party
In the event of the death of a party, specific provisions come into play. If an individual entitled to initiate a personal action passes away, their personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit within a designated time frame. Conversely, should the defendant pass away, a claim against the deceased’s estate is possible within a specified period.
The statute of limitations is suspended during the time when the start of any action is stayed by injunction. In personal injury law, an injunction is a legal remedy that involves a court order directing a person to stop a certain behavior.
If someone is experiencing harm due to recurring actions like ongoing negligence or environmental hazards, they can request an injunction. This legal measure aims to stop the responsible party from continuing the reckless conduct.
Obstruction of Filing by Defendant
If a defendant obstructs the filing of an action through bankruptcy petitions or other means, the time of obstruction is not counted as part of the limitation period.
Dismissal, Abatement, or Nonsuit
If an action is started within the limitation period but abates or is dismissed without determining the merits, the time the action was pending does not count. Also, another action may be brought within the remaining period.
A Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Will Determine the Statute of Limitations for Your Case
As an experienced personal injury attorney, I understand that time is a valuable resource. While two years may seem like enough, unexpected obstacles can slow down your progress. Call me immediately after the accident so we can start working on your case without delay.
Beyond just meeting deadlines, taking prompt action allows us to preserve crucial evidence while it’s still fresh and use it to strengthen your case. Every moment counts in securing a successful outcome for your personal injury claim. Contact Atkinson Law for a free legal consultation.