We recently settled a case on behalf of a 14-year-old child who was injured in a car accident at the age of three. This 11-year-old case is the longest open case our firm has ever had. While normally we would not wait so long to pursue a case for a client, this case was unusual.
As a result of this car accident 11 years ago, our client’s leg was broken and required a full-leg cast. The family’s insurance policy only had a $25,000 policy limit. Despite repeated demands, the insurance company would not pay out their policy limits. Unfortunately, Virginia does not have “good faith laws” that force insurance companies to act in good faith. That often leaves two options: filing a lawsuit or to waiting out the insurance company.
We opted to wait. We could have moved forward by filing suit, but that would’ve cost the family, ultimately coming out of the child’s settlement money. While we waited, my main goal was to make sure our three-year-old client healed well. Finally, after a little over a decade, the insurance company tendered their $25,000 policy limits and we were able to get another $25,000 from the driver of the other vehicle. When a child’s case is settled the proceeds go to the clerk of the court who will hold the money until the child turns 18 years old.
Of course, we don’t pursue this path in many cases, but every case is different and requires a unique strategy for proceeding. The main reason we could wait this one out was Virginia’s Statute of Limitations. In Virginia, a child has two years from their 18th birthday (or until their 20th birthday) to file a lawsuit. This differs for an adult, who must file suit normally within two years of the incident.Back To Results