Local Attorneys Explain Virginia Tort Statute of Limitations

Take timely action to assert your right to full compensation

Your right to sue for a personal injury claim does not last forever. The statute of limitations sets two years as the period within which you must file a lawsuit or lose your right to compensation. Of course, it’s always advisable to start legal action in a timely manner, so that your attorney can preserve and assemble the necessary evidence. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we can move quickly because we’re local in so many areas, and we’re committed to delivering personalized service to every client. If you’re concerned that the statute of limitations may already have expired for your case, be aware that many factors can extend the statutory period. This is something you must discuss with an experienced attorney before abandoning an otherwise valid claim.

How does the statute of limitations operate in Virginia?

A statute of limitations offers reasonable protections to people who would otherwise have lawsuits hanging over their heads forever. States have different limitations periods for different types of legal controversies. In Virginia, the standard period to bring a lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death is two years from the injury event or the death, respectively. However, there are exceptional circumstances that can extend the period for injury cases:

  • Injuries to minors — The period for a parent or a guardian to bring suit to recover medical expenses related to a child’s injury is five years from the injury event. The statutory period for an action by the child does not begin running until the child reaches the age of 18.
  • Surgical error — A lawsuit for a foreign object left in a body cavity must be brought within one year of the date the patient discovers the object or reasonably should have discovered it.
  • Discovery prevented through fraud or concealment — In cases where knowledge or evidence of an injury is intentionally withheld from a victim, causing the victim to miss the two-year limit, the victim may have one year from the date the injury is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
  • Negligent failure to diagnose cancer — The statutory period begins running for a period of one year after the patient receives a true diagnosis.
  • Incapacity — When a victim’s injuries produce mental incapacity, the period of incapacity is not counted as part of the statutory period, unless a conservator or guardian is appointed and begins an action within the statutory period.
  • Suits against the government — Before you can sue a government entity, you must file a notice of claim. If the defendant entity is a city or town, you must file notice within six months of the injury event; if you are suing the state government, you must file notice within one year. 

The statute of limitation is not the only technical aspect of your injury case. You should consult a knowledgeable attorney to better understand Virginia liability laws, how to file a claim and how to deal with the costs of filing.

Contact an experienced Virginia attorney for answers about VA’s statute of limitations

Don’t let the statute of limitations bar your recovery. Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban is prepared to manage your case aggressively and effectively. To schedule a free consultation with a determined, local attorney, call (888) 351-1038 or contact our office online.