Virginia Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR PERSONAL INJURY CASES IN VIRGINIA?

The basic statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Virginia is two years, which means a person must either file a lawsuit or settle their claim against the wrongdoer’s insurance company within two years of the date of the accident. That seems very clear, but it’s not; if my client had an accident on January 1st 2015, that doesn’t mean you have to file your lawsuit or settle the case by no later than January 1st 2017, it means you have until December 31, 2016, so if you thoughtlessly file it on January 1st, you’d be out of luck because you would not have filed your lawsuit or settled your claim in a timely fashion, by missing the two-year cut off by one day.

Your lawsuit must be filed or your claim settled within two years of the date of the accident, not on the second anniversary; unfortunately many people make that mistake. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases exist to give accident victims time to get well or to find out they won’t.  If the second anniversary of the accident is approaching, the attorney has to file a lawsuit to stop the statute of limitations from running. At that point, they have one year to try to get the patient well or settle the lawsuit, but near the end of that year, if the client is still not well and being treated, you can file what’s called a “non-suit,” which temporarily dismisses the suit for 6 months, after which the suit can be re-filed and get another year.

In reality, while the statute of limitations is two years, through good lawyering and utilizing different aspects of Virginia law, it’s possible to extend the time to settle the case or go to trial by about four or more years, so that your client is well and is in shape to go a trial or try and settle it if you have to buy more than two years.

Virginia Statute Of Limitations For personal Injury Cases For Children

For children, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years after their 18th birthday, unless they become emancipated early, or their parents can file on their behalf. If the court allows them to be emancipated at 16, then they only have two years from that to have their case settled or to file a lawsuit filed. However, while children have quite a long time to file, the parents have 5 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit or settle their claim for the medical bills they have incurred on behalf of their child.  If a child is injured, there is a bifurcated statute of limitations; the child has two years after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit, have it filed for them or to settle, while the parent has five years. Also, the parents can only recover for child’s medical bills; the child has a separate claim for pain and suffering and inconvenience and discomfort.

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