State laws dictate the amount of time you have following a car accident to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury or property damage. Knowing the pertinent legal code for your state is critical because missing the prescribed deadline most likely will mean sacrificing your right to pursue a claim in court. Exceptions are extremely rare.
In Virginia, you have two years after an accident to file a legal claim in court for a personal injury case, such as for medical bills, lost income from missed work and future medical treatment, and five years to file for a property damage case. The calendar starts the day the accident occurs. The Virginia law, “Personal Action for Injury to Person or Property Generally,” encompasses more than just auto accidents, also including certain other incidents, such as medical malpractice cases. The statute of limitations can be much shorter if your accident involved a government vehicle, requiring you to file suit in as little time as a couple of months.
The time limit can particularly come into play if you are engaged in insurance claim negotiations with the potential defendant. If you don’t find satisfaction through the pursuit of an insurance settlement, you want to retain the option for filing a lawsuit – not just for the suit itself but for the leverage that the possibility of a suit provides. This argues for not waiting too long to begin to pursue an insurance claim, which can be a time-consuming process in some cases. Virginia statute does not establish a deadline for filing an insurance claim after an accident. Individual insurance policies establish those guidelines.
A car accident lawyer can help you navigate the landscape in a timely manner to avoid risking key deadlines and forfeiting your chance at working through the legal system to earn appropriate compensation.