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Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

Blaszkow Legal, PLLC  Feb. 23, 2024

Coping with a personal injury is already challenging enough. The stress of understanding how personal injury laws work can easily add to the overwhelming situation when all you want to do is focus on your recovery.

Fortunately, our team at Blaszkow Lega, PLLC, can help clarify the statute of limitations on personal injury claims, including its exceptions, other critical aspects, and a few FAQs we often receive from our clients while you focus on yourself.  

This deadline can significantly impact your legal rights and options when it comes to seeking compensation for your injuries.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations refers to a legal deadline that restricts the amount of time an individual has to initiate a lawsuit after suffering an injury. In Virginia, the standard time limit for personal injury lawsuits is generally two years from the date of the underlying accident. This means if you fail to file your lawsuit within two years, your case will likely be dismissed.  

Understanding Exceptions to the Rule

While the two-year rule generally applies, there are several exceptions that can extend this deadline in certain circumstances. Let's delve deeper into each of these exceptions: 

  • Age or incapacity: If the injured person is under 18 years of age or is "incapacitated" at the time of the accident, they have the full two years to file their lawsuit once they turn 18 or regain their proper mental capacity.  

    • For instance, let's say a 15-year-old sustains an injury in a car accident. The statute of limitations would not begin until the minor turns 18, giving them additional time to file a claim. 

  • Obstruction by the responsible party: If the person allegedly responsible for the injuries obstructs the filing of the personal injury lawsuit, such as by filing for bankruptcy or using other means to hinder the commencement of legal action, the time of obstruction may not be counted towards the two-year limit. 

    • For example, if the party responsible for the injuries moves out of state and cannot be located immediately, the clock on the statute of limitations would pause until they are found and served, giving the injured party more time to file a claim. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we answer some of the most common questions we receive about personal injury claims: 

  1. What if I’m partially at fault for the accident that caused my injury? 

In Virginia, if you have any percentage of blame for the accident, you may not have a valid personal injury case. Virginia follows the rule of contributory negligence, which means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault, you may be barred from recovering any damages. 

  1. What does negligence mean? What does my claim need to include? 

Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person. To have a valid personal injury claim, you need to prove that the responsible party owed you a duty of care, breached that duty through their negligence, and that breach caused your injuries. Your claim should include evidence of the responsible party's negligence, such as witness statements, medical records, and documentation of your damages. 

  1. What if I Missed My Deadline? 

If you miss the deadline to file your personal injury claim in Virginia, the court will likely dismiss your case. Once the statute of limitations has expired, you lose your right to seek damages for your injuries through a lawsuit. 

  1. How long do I have to file a personal claim? 

In Virginia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the underlying accident. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so it is essential to consult with a lawyer to determine the specific time limit that applies to your case. 

  1. When should I contact a lawyer? 

If you have been injured in an accident or due to someone else's negligence, it is advisable to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can evaluate your case, guide you through the legal process, and ensure that your rights are protected. 

Trusted Legal Guidance

Understanding the nuances of Virginia's statute of limitations can be challenging. But you don't have to face it alone. At Blaszkow Legal, PLLC, we're committed to providing top-quality legal representation to our clients. We understand the tactics used by insurance companies and will fight for your right to fair compensation.

Our team of experienced attorneys is ready to guide you through every step of the legal process, from understanding Virginia's harsh contributory negligence laws to ensuring you file your claim within the necessary time frame. 

We're conveniently located in Alexandria, Virginia, and proudly serve clients throughout Fairfax, Woodbridge, Arlington, Manassas, and beyond. Whether you've been injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or any other personal injury incident, we're here to help.