Statute of Limitations in Virginia

statute of limitations is the time limit that is set by Virginia Code (the statute) in which a lawsuit must be filed. This applies to every lawsuit, including wrongful death, car crashes, and personal injury cases. This is probably the most important deadline in a personal injury case, or any other type of case, because after this time limit has passed, nothing can be done, and the claim is null and void.

Generally, a personal injury case must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. The lawsuit must name the person you believe is responsible for the injuries and must make an allegation of what they did wrong. In a personal injury action, the cause of action typically includes an allegation of negligence. Negligence is simply the failure to use ordinary care.

However, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations. First, if a child is the injured party, the child has two years after their eighteenth birthday to file suit. This is essentially the child’s twentieth birthday.

Second, if a person comes under a disability, the statute of limitations is tolled on their case until the disability is removed. The Virginia Code has a long definition of “persons under a disability”. A few categories this includes are people that are incapacitated, have a mental disability or are incarcerated after a felony charge.

While the statue of limitations for a personal injury case is two years, the time limit is different for different causes of actions.

Some of the more common causes of action and the corresponding statute of limitations for Virginia are:

  • Personal Injury – 2 Years
  • Property Damage – 5 Years
  • Fraud – 2 Years
  • Wrongful Death – 2 Years
  • Written Contracts – 5 Years
  • Unwritten Contracts – 3 Years
  • Libel/Slander – 1 Year
  • Sale of Goods – 4 Years
  • Unlawful Entry – 3 Years
  • Catch All – 2 Years

Because the Statute of Limitations is so critical, most law offices will have two methods of checking to see that the statute of limitations is protected in any case. Many law firms will not take a case if the client comes to them close to the statute of limitations because the attorney may feel they do not have time to adequately investigate and name the proper parties. This makes it incredibly important that you speak with a Virginia Injury Attorney soon after your injury or accident so that you are informed of the deadlines and requirements under Virginia law.