The Virginia Statute of Limitations in Injury Cases

Stephen M. Smith
Last Updated:
November 26, 2019

The Virginia Statute of Limitations is the act that defines the time limits to bring legal action in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia has a statute of limitations in both civil and criminal law. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, it’s important to file a lawsuit within the period outlined by the statute or you will waive your right to sue.

Under most circumstances, the statute of limitations in Virginia is two years but there are exceptions. If you have been hurt or a family member has died due to the fault of another, you should talk to an experienced Virginia injury lawyer as soon as possible.

How Long Do You Have to Bring A Virginia Personal Injury Case?

Under Virginia Code § 8.01-243 actions for personal injury should be brought within two years of the incident in which you were injured with some exceptions.

The two-year limitations period may be extended in medical malpractice actions against healthcare providers in the following situations where the patient was not aware of the issue:

  • A foreign object with no therapeutic or diagnostic effect was left in a patient’s body. The period may be extended for a period of one year from the date the object was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered;
  • Fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation prevented the discovery of the injury within the two-year period. The statute of limitations may be extended by a year from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
  • When a healthcare provider has failed to diagnose a malignant tumor, cancer, or an intraspinal, intracranial, or spinal schwannoma, the statute of limitations can be extended for a year from the date the diagnosis was given to the patient by a healthcare provider as long as the provider’s underlying act or omission occurred on or after July 1, 2008.

Generally, the statute of limitations cannot be extended more than 10 years after the original injury occurred.

The existence of a statute of limitations means it’s important to file personal injury lawsuits in a timely fashion. You should not wait until the 11th hour to file a claim. However, it’s also important not to rush the process. Some people who are injured in accidents clamor to reach a settlement with the insurance company. This can be a serious mistake before the full extent of your injuries are known.

What the Virginia Statute of Limitations Means for You

Although you have two years to bring a case, this does not mean your case has to settle or be heard by a judge or a jury within that time. Many cases take more than two years to litigate.

The statute of limitations requires that you file a civil action in the court before that period expires.

If an accident victim waits too long to file a personal injury lawsuit, the defendants must plead expiration of the period of limitation in the answer to your complaint. The burden of proof is on the defendants to show you waited too long to sue.

An Experienced Injury Lawyer Can Advise You on the Virginia Statute of Limitations in Injury Cases

At the Smith Law Center, our attorneys will take over your legal case and allow you to concentrate on making a recovery. We will ensure your case is filed in a timely manner. The Smith Law Center team is supported by a diverse staff of 28 who collectively bring over 300 years of experience to the firm. Call us at (757) 244-7000.

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