In most Virginia accidents involving a commercial cargo vehicle or a large passenger truck, you have exactly two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. Filing against a negligent truck driver or trucking company after that date will almost certainly result in losing out on your legal right to recover damages. You need to act quickly because the negligent party can simply file a motion to dismiss after two years, and your case will most likely be tossed by the court.
Why Prompt Action Is Key
There are some extremely rare exceptions that can extend the two-year time frame, such as if the negligent party flees the state to avoid appearing in court, but in general you shouldn’t wait until the deadline before filing. There are more reasons to act quickly than just racing against the statute of limitations.
You want to get an attorney’s assistance as soon as possible to prevent crucial evidence in your case from being intentionally destroyed or unintentionally tossed out by the trucking company, for instance. The sooner you retain legal counsel to investigate your accident, the easier it will be for your attorney to obtain compelling evidence showing what specifically caused the accident, such as:
- Black box data from the truck
- Employment records
- Maintenance schedule information
- Physical evidence like tire skid marks and photos of the scene
- Statements from eyewitnesses
Victims with severe physical injuries may consider waiting to file a lawsuit until they are further along in their recovery and the full medical costs associated with the accident are clear. This isn’t necessary, however, and there’s no actual benefit to waiting. Even if you have persistent medical costs, such as expecting additional surgeries in the future or ongoing therapy sessions, you should still file as soon as possible. Future medical expenses, as well as the loss of future earning potential if you can’t work, can be calculated as part of a settlement or judgment from a court.