After experiencing the trauma of a serious car accident, your primary focus should be on your physical and emotional recovery. Virginia law does limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, however. The sooner you contact an experienced car crash lawyer to help with the financial side, the better off you'll be.
Understanding the Virginia Statute of Limitations for Virginia Car Accident Cases
In most personal injury cases, you have exactly two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If you file after that date, even if you have extremely compelling evidence that negligence caused your injury, the case will be thrown out.
That strict statute of limitations doesn’t mean the case must be resolved within two years, only that it has to be filed within that timeframe. Virginia’s statute of limitations in personal injury cases also doesn’t apply to seeking an insurance settlement. The insurance company may have a completely different deadline to keep in mind.
While in most instances the two-year deadline is ironclad, there are potential exceptions allowing lawsuits past that date. For instance, if you became disabled due to the injury and are physically or mentally unable to file a lawsuit, such as in the event of a coma or certain kinds of traumatic brain injuries, the statute may be put on hold.
In most instances, however, you should work with an attorney well in advance of the two-year deadline. Investigations take time, and you want to give your lawyer ample opportunity to:
- Calculate potential future expenses if you can’t return to work and need surgeries or further treatment down the line
- Gather evidence of the crash like eyewitness statements, police reports, insurance photos, etc.
- Prevent the at-fault party from destroying evidence before they are aware of a lawsuit, which can be a concern when dealing with an injury caused by negligent trucking companies
- Negotiate with insurance while pursuing the court case, as a settlement may be the better route to recovering damages depending on the circumstances of the accident