If you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident, your main focus should be on getting medical care for your injuries. In addition to your well-being, however, you will also need to figure out how you are going to cover your medical bills and handle the damage to your property. As if that wasn’t enough, you also have to report the accident to the at-fault driver’s insurance company and keep track of when the statute of limitations on your claim expires. That is a lot to deal with, especially for someone who is badly injured and in excruciating pain. Reporting your claim and figuring out legal deadlines as they apply to your case may seem utterly overwhelming, if not impossible, but knowing how much time you have to bring a lawsuit, is one of the more important details that you need to be familiar with.
What is Virginia’s statute of limitations for a car accident?
The experienced Virginia car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can review the facts of your accident, evaluate your damages, and highlight the numerous benefits you gain by working with a qualified legal advocate. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys and find out more about what we can do for you.
Report Your Car Accident
You need to report the car accident to the at-fault driver’s insurer as soon as possible. They will need to know the time and date the accident occurred, where it occurred, how it happened, and whether or not anyone was injured or killed.
Keep in mind that reporting the accident to an insurance company does not have any bearing on the statute of limitations. Filing an insurance claim for your car accident is not the same thing as filing a lawsuit.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
In a personal injury case, the term statute of limitations refers to the maximum amount of time after an accident within which a civil lawsuit may be filed. The purpose of these statutes, which are set for and by each individual state, is to support the idea that:
- A valid cause of action should be pursued by a plaintiff with reasonable diligence.
- If a claim is initiated too far into the future, a defendant may have lost the proof needed to disprove the claim.
- Litigating an old claim could produce results more akin to persecution than justice.
What is Virginia’s Statute of Limitations?
For most personal injury cases, Virginia law states that a lawsuit must be brought no later than two years from the day the car accident occurred.
There are a few notable exceptions to the statute for which the time to file may be extended. One reason a tolling of the statute would be granted is if the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated, such as in a coma. The second reason would be if the victim was under 18 years of age when the accident happened. In this case, the clock would begin ticking on the victim’s 18th birthday and run for two years.
Other Notice and Filing Deadlines
In some cases, the two-year statute of limitations can be shortened, such as when filing a notice to a government entity. If you fail to file a notice with the government agency involved within 90 days, you could be prohibited from pursuing a car accident injury claim. The best way to make sure that you do not miss any of the important deadlines that apply to your case is to consult with a skilled Virginia car accident lawyer who understands Virginia’s statute of limitations and how it applies to your car accident claim.
Talk to a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, a lot of injured car accident victims put off contacting the insurance carrier for compensation or seeking the guidance of a seasoned lawyer about lawsuit filing deadlines. The more time passes after a car accident, the more evidence is lost and witnesses’ memories begin to fade. Law enforcement officers only retain their accident notes for a short period of time. So, obtaining any documentation and evidence they have as soon as possible is important to the strength of your claim and its likelihood of success.
The Virginia car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp bring more than four decades of litigation experience to the table. If you have questions about the Virginia statute of limitations and how it relates to your personal injury case, call (833) 997-1774 and schedule a free consultation.
For over twenty years, Mr. Sharp's law practice has focused on serious personal injury claims, including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury claims. He also handles nursing home neglect cases and medical malpractice claims. Mr. Sharp has counseled numerous clients about the complexities concerning litigation of both pediatric and adult brain injury. Mr. Sharp has been awarded the AV Preeminent ranking by Martindale, the highly respected and widely utilized directory of lawyers throughout the world. AV Preeminent status is awarded only to those lawyers who achieve the highest level of success within the legal field and is a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers and Judges rank him at the highest level of professional excellence. He has also been recognized as a "Best Lawyer" by U.S. News for personal injury, an accolade awarded to only a small fraction of lawyers. Mr. Sharp has also been recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the top personal injury lawyers in Virginia. This recognition is awarded only to those lawyers who have achieved the highest level of success and have been recognized by their peers as demonstrating the highest level of professional excellence.