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Virginia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury & accidents in Virginia is two (2) years (Ref: Va. Code § 8.01-243). 

What this means is that you (or your attorney) must file a lawsuit against a defendant within two years of the date of your accident. If you do not file a lawsuit within two years, generally you forfeit any potential claim against the defendant as a matter of law - meaning there will be no opportunity for a settlement, arbitration, or trial. 

Disclaimer: Although the information presented on this page is generally true there are some exceptions to this information, and the Virginia Statute of Limitations (and the exceptions) may change over time. If you or a family member was involved in an accident and considering seeking compensation for your injuries it is crucial that you speak to a Virginia personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim and potential recovery.

Variations on Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit in Virginia

There are some variations & exceptions to the 2 years statute of limitations on personal injury cases in Virginia. Because of this, it is critical you discuss your matter with a lawyer who is highly experienced in personal injury law. 

  • If the injured person, at the time of the underlying accident, is under 18 years of age or is "incapacitated", then once the person turns 18 or re-gains the proper mental capacity, he or she will be entitled to the full two years to get their personal injury lawsuit filed. Note that if an incapacitated person's legal interests are represented by a conservator or guardian, that representative will usually be entitled to at least one year after his or her appointment to file the personal injury lawsuit. 
  • If the person who is allegedly responsible for the plaintiff's injuries obstructs the filing of the personal injury lawsuit by filing for bankruptcy, or if he or she uses any other "direct or indirect means" to obstruct the filing of the personal injury lawsuit, then the time of obstruction probably won't be counted towards the two years. "Obstruction" could include living under a false name, leaving the state in an effort to avoid being "served" with the lawsuit, and other attempts to prevent or hinder the commencement of legal action.

What if You Miss the Deadline to File a Lawsuit?

If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit and the Virginia statute of limitations passes (barring any exceptions), the opposing party will almost surely move for case dismissal and it will likely be granted. This also means that nearly any hope of a settlement will also be forfeited because there is no leverage to potentially pursue a trial (since it would immediately be dismissed). 

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