VA Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents

A statute of limitations sets forth rules for how long after an event legal proceedings may be filed. After that set period of time, you may not be able to file a claim. Some special circumstances surrounding the event in question can extend this time period. Different claim types have different statutes of limitations that govern how long after an event you can file a claim.

The local government oversees these laws to ensure that claims are filed within a “reasonable” timeframe. This ensures that both sides of the claim can still access witnesses and evidence surrounding the case. These governing bodies also believe that the longer a claim goes without resolution, the more likely it is for that claim to have harsh or unfair outcomes.

Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims from car accidents is two years from the date of the accident. This is set forth in Virginia Code Section 8.01-243(A):

“Unless otherwise provided in this section or by other statute, every action for personal injuries, whatever the theory of recovery, and every action for damages resulting from fraud, shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.”

Staying within the statute of limitations for personal injury claims

The best way to ensure that you file your case within the necessary two-year time window is to secure an attorney. You should hire a Virginia personal injury car accident attorney as soon as possible following an accident. Your attorney will help you document your case so that your filing is clear and meets all necessary requirements.

In cases where you miss the two-year deadline, you can still file your claim. However, the defense is likely to make a motion to dismiss the claim entirely. Unless you have good reason for waiting two years (i.e., being in a coma for an extended period of time unable to defend yourself), your case will likely be dismissed.

From the moment you meet with your attorney, they will begin building your case and paying attention to all deadlines. Even once you file your claim, there will be deadlines for bringing forth evidence and meeting in court, if it comes to that. Managing a case like this yourself would be exceedingly difficult without a background knowledge of the court system.

These laws apply for all types of personal injuries, which is defined as someone being careless or acting intentionally to harm you in some way. In these cases, you then have a right to seek damages for the losses that you sustain.

The two-year statute of limitations is only for filing the initial complaint with the legal system. Proceedings can take a great deal of time. Because of this the case does not have to be resolved within two years, only filed.

Exceptions to Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury

There are some circumstances where the courts recognize and understand that filing a claim outside the regular two-year statute of limitations makes sense. In some cases, the courts see certain circumstances as a pause on the clock for the two-year rule.

One such exception is for individuals that are under the age of 18. Once they reach the age of 18, they have the right to file claims on their own. Before this, an adult must file on their behalf. Generally, adolescents who reach 18 years of age have one year from their 18th birthday to file personal injury claims. This is only true if no parent or guardian made the claim on their behalf at the time of the accident.

Additionally, there are things that the defendant can do that obstruct the plaintiff’s ability to file personal injury claims. This situation can include filing for bankruptcy. If this happens, there’s a pause on the two-year statute of limitations that restarts once the plaintiff is able to file the claim.

This is known as obstruction. It can also happen if the defendant operates under a false name, leaves the state or otherwise avoids the claim. Virginia Code section 8.01-229(D) outlines obstruction and its impact on personal injury cases.

Gore and Kuperman Virginia personal injury attorneys

Gore and Kuperman is a law firm of experienced and professional personal injury attorneys. We focus on helping people restore their way of life after injury. We can help you with personal injury claims from car accidents or other mishaps that leave you with medical bills and pain and suffering. We’ll be your guide throughout the process to ensure you don’t miss your statute of limitations. We’ll also make sure you don’t otherwise harm your chances of the defendant paying for your injuries and related expenses.