Virginia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations & Laws [2024 Updated]

Virginia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations & Laws [2024 Updated]

Sustaining a personal injury because another person or group was careless with your health and well-being is a frustrating experience. However, when this happens, you are also likely able to recover compensation for the financial and personal losses you suffered. If this is the case, it is important to review your options as soon as possible. Your claim may be impacted by the Virginia personal injury statute of limitations if you do not begin the process quickly.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

In civil claims, a statute of limitations is the timeline by which you must file a legal claim with the court to recover losses. If your claim isn’t filed within that time, then the court will dismiss any future action you try to take to recover that compensation.

Each state has its own statute of limitations, and it is important to know those limitations. You will be barred from recovery if you miss the deadline. However, there are situations where the statute of limitations is extended. There are many different types of personal injury claims, and these types of accidents can sometimes affect the laws surrounding a claim, including the statute of limitations.

What Is the Statute of Limitations For?

The statute of limitations exists for several reasons, but it is largely to ensure that civil claims are filed in a timely manner while evidence and testimony are still current. This can protect at-fault parties from being sued many years after an incident occurs and when evidence is difficult to come by.

Virginia’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury and most wrongful death claims in Virginia is typically two years from the date of the accident and injury. Although some people may consider this to be a long time, it’s important to take action sooner rather than later. The sooner you act, especially with legal support, the more time you have to gather crucial evidence before it is gone. It also gives you sufficient time to negotiate before you must file a claim.

There are several potential exceptions to this statute of limitations, which may extend or shorten the amount of time you have to file.

Exceptions for Minors Who Are Injured

When an infant is injured, the parents or guardians of the infant have five years from the date of the injury to bring a personal injury claim. Because minors cannot file their own claim until they are adults, if the parents or guardians do not file a claim on the infant’s behalf, then the statute of limitations begins once the individual turns 18.

Exceptions for Incapacitated Individuals

When the individual who has the grounds to file a personal injury claim is incapacitated, either physically or mentally, and unable to file a claim, the statute of limitations pauses until they can do so. This is the case unless a conservator or guardian takes action within the stated period of limitations or a year of becoming a conservator or guardian.

Exceptions for Medical Malpractice Injury Claims

There are also unique exceptions to the statute of limitations that only apply to medical malpractice injury claims. When a healthcare provider acts negligently and harms a patient, this is a medical malpractice claim. While some malpractice claims must be filed under the two-year limit, it is extended when:

  1. A foreign object is left in the patient’s body.
  2. The discovery of the patient’s injury was prevented by fraud, misrepresentation, or concealment.
  3. There was a failure to diagnose a malignant tumor, cancer, or schwannoma that was intracranial, spinal, or intraspinal.

In each of these cases, the statute of limitations is one year from the date the object, injury, or tumor was discovered by the patient or should have been discovered with due diligence. There is still an overall time limit of 10 years from the date of the injury.


Q: How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Virginia?

A: You have two years to file a personal injury claim in Virginia in most cases. If you don’t file a civil claim within that time, you lose the right to recover your damages from the injury. Although many personal injury claims are settled outside of court, the other party will not continue negotiations after the statute of limitations has passed, as you no longer have any ability to take the claim to court. This is why it’s important to begin an investigation and negotiations early.

Q: Is There a Cap on Personal Injury in Virginia?

A: There is a cap on certain types of personal injury damages in Virginia, although there is no cap on most types of personal injury damages. Punitive damages, which are awarded when the actions of the at-fault party were grossly negligent or malicious, are capped at $350,000 in total for all types of personal injury claims.

In medical malpractice claims, damages are capped at a certain amount, depending on when the cause of action occurred. For injuries occurring between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, this cap is $2.6 million. This cap increases by $50,000 each year.

Q: Can the Statute of Limitations Be Extended in Virginia?

A: Yes, the statute of limitations can be extended in Virginia for personal injury claims in certain circumstances. Some of these exceptions include:

  1. Extended to five years from the injury or loss if parents are bringing action on behalf of their injured infant
  2. Extended to one year from the date when a foreign object is discovered or should have been discovered after being left in a patient’s body by a negligent medical provider
  3. Extended to two years from the date of discovery when a negligent medical provider used fraud or concealment to hide the negligent actions

Q: How Much Are Most Personal Injury Settlements?

A: How much most personal injury settlements are is very different from claim to claim. The value of your own personal injury settlement will be based on the value of your damages, both economic and noneconomic, such as the costs of medical care. The amount that you can recover in a settlement will also depend on:

  • Your personal injury attorney’s skill
  • The amount of evidence that supports your claim
  • Whether the case goes to court or is settled in negotiations

Protect Your Financial Interests With an Attorney After an Injury

When you need legal support after a personal injury, contact Whitlock Law, LLC.

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