The statute of limitations in Virginia, as outlined in Virginia code § 8.01-243, is two years from the date the cause of action occurs. In simpler terms, this means that if you intend to seek compensation from a negligent party for your lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages, you must file suit papers in court within two years of the accident date.
When you’re in the midst of a painful recovery, two years can seem like an eternity, but you’d be surprised how quickly the clock runs out. If the statute of limitations has expired before the filing of your case, you risk losing your claim for damages unless you qualify for some exception under the law. The lesson is simple: if you are ever the victim of someone’s negligence, consult with an attorney as soon as possible. And if you think you may have waited too long- see an attorney anyway.
Exceptions To the Filing Deadline
Virginia does have a few notable exceptions that allow for tolling of the statute of limitations. For example, Virginia’s time limit for filing a personal injury action can be extended in cases involving malpractice against a medical professional. In most of these cases, the clock starts ticking once the plaintiff discovers they have suffered harm, not when the incident occurred. However, it is important to remember that there is only a one year grace period from the date of discovery to file suit. The injuries sustained in medical malpractice cases very often don’t become apparent until some time has passed.
The statute of limitations may also be tolled if the plaintiff was under the age of 18 or suffered from a mental disability at the time they sustained their injuries. In the eyes of the courts, minors and those who are mentally incapacitated are unable to bring legal action on their behalf until they are 18 or the disability is no longer present.
Take Action Now – Call Rutter Mills
Whether you hurt yourself in a slip and fall or were injured in a car accident, if you are contemplating filing a lawsuit, time is of the essence. It’s a good idea to seek legal counsel even if your injuries haven’t fully healed. The sooner you get the process started, the easier it will be for your lawyer to gather evidence and locate witnesses. With each passing month, memories become less reliable, and supporting evidence can be harder to track down.
If you or a family member or a friend were recently injured in an accident, remember: Preserve your right to file a lawsuit. See a lawyer as soon as you are able. Call Rutter Mills for a free consultation. Our legal team provides results-focused representation to residents throughout Norfolk, Newport News, Richmond and the Hampton Roads areas.