How Long after a Car Accident Can I Sue in Virginia?
When it comes to the time frame for filing a lawsuit for a car accident in Virginia, you need to be aware of the different deadlines that may apply. The time frame to file any type of lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. Every lawsuit is different. The time frame for a lawsuit over a contract will be different from the time frame for a lawsuit for injuries suffered in a medical malpractice case, for example. That is why, if you were seriously injured in a Virginia car or truck accident, you need to speak to an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer immediately. If you wait too long and go past the statute of limitations, you will be forever barred from being compensated for your injuries.
Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Virginia. This means that you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. However, if the car or truck accident was not caused by another negligent driver, but you are injured as a result of a defect in the design or manufacture of your automobile, you may have a shorter statute of limitations. The time frame may also be extended if the injured person is a minor, someone who is under 18 years of age. It is important to consult with a lawyer to determine the specific statute of limitations that applies to your case. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to file a lawsuit altogether.
Virginia Code § 8.01-243
If you are injured in a car accident in Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years. Virginia Code § 8.01-243 calls for a two-year statute of limitation for personal injuries sustained in a car accident caused by someone’s negligence. The law states the following: 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. It is important to speak with an attorney to determine the specific statute of limitations that applies to your case. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to file a lawsuit.
The two years from your car accident will go by quickly, especially if you are seriously injured and are undergoing continuous treatment. You must be diligent and not let the time slip away until it is too late. Another issue is speaking to a lawyer at the last minute. You should not do this. Just because you know that you have two years from the date of the accident does not mean that you should wait that long to seek out an experienced car or truck accident lawyer. First, if you wait until the last minute, it might be difficult for the attorney to gather all the information necessary to file the lawsuit in time. Second, the sooner you get a lawyer involved in the case and representing you, the sooner they can start doing what lawyers do, gathering evidence, contacting all of the at-fault parties and their insurance companies, and getting recorded statements from any witnesses. Your lawyer does not have to file a lawsuit immediately once you hire them. They will likely wait for your condition to be more understood and have a better idea as to what the claim is worth. Your lawyer may even attempt to settle the case before they file suit, especially if your medical condition has improved and your injuries have healed. All these things can happen while the two years are passing by. But they will not happen if you wait to contact a lawyer in time.
Vehicle Damage Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for recovery of compensation related to vehicle damage following a car accident in Virginia is five years. Therefore, if there were no personal injuries, but merely your car or truck got damaged and it was the other driver’s fault, you have five years to file a lawsuit. This statute of limitations would also apply to any damage to property from a car accident. For example, suppose a driver was driving erratically, lost control of their vehicle, left the road, and struck a house. The homeowners would have five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the driver and go after the drivers’ automobile insurance coverage.
Calculating the Days within the Statute of Limitations
There have been cases in which people were a day late in filing a lawsuit because they were mistaken as to how to count the days within the statute of limitations. When the law says that you have two years from the date of the accident, you start the counting of those two years on the date of the accident, not the next day. For example, suppose that a car crash happened on January 1, 2022. The last day to file a lawsuit is not January 1, 2024. Your last day to file a personal injury lawsuit would be December 31, 2023, under these facts. This is just another example as to why it is so important to immediately contact a knowledgeable and skilled Virginia car accident lawyer as soon as you realize that you have suffered a serious injury in a car accident and that the collision was the fault of someone else.
Alexandria Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Successfully Represent Clients Injured in Virginia Car Accidents
If you are seriously injured in a Virginia car or truck accident, do not hesitate in contacting a lawyer. The Alexandria car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King have focused their practice on helping clients injured in car accidents. We will be your advocate to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.