If you are injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach, state law puts a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit. Legal time limits generally are referred to as statutes of limitations. Every state sets these time limits on lawsuits. The limit varies, depending on the type of lawsuit.
In a car accident, there often are both physical injuries — referred to as personal injury —and property damage. The statute of limitations is for a personal injury lawsuit is different from the time limit on an action for the property damage. In addition, if death results from an accident either immediately or because of the injuries, a wrongful death lawsuit may be possible, and a third statute of limitations applies to that action.
Virginia Statute of Limitations on Car Accident Personal Injury Lawsuits
For personal injuries arising out of a car accident in Virginia Beach, the time limit for filing a lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. If a lawsuit is filed after that date, it automatically will be dismissed by the court. However, that does not mean you can wait two years before contacting an attorney.
In Virginia, the person who is at fault in a car accident is responsible for paying for the injuries and damage caused by the accident. Before a lawyer can even determine whether someone else was at fault for an accident — which would provide the basis for a lawsuit — investigation and analysis needs to be completed. That includes getting copies of police accident reports and medical bills, interviewing witnesses, and even visiting the scene of the accident. All that background needs to be completed before the attorney can draw a conclusion about who was at fault and whether a personal injury action should be filed.
With passing time, memories become fuzzy, witnesses can disappear, and physical evidence can get lost. If your injuries are serious, and someone else is or may be at fault, it is always advisable to talk with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident. Waiting two years — or close to two years — could jeopardize your chances of being able to file an action. Even if you think your claim may be resolved through an insurance settlement, it’s never a good idea to wait long before contacting a lawyer, especially if your injuries are significant or you expect to have a permanent impairment from the injury.
Knowing the time limitation that applies to car accidents in Virginia is important, but sometimes talking with a lawyer after a car accident really isn’t necessary. You can read an article by The Jeff Brooke Team that will help you decide whether you even need to contact an attorney after a car accident in Virginia Beach.
Virginia Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Property Damage
While the statute of limitations for personal injury is two years in Virginia, it is five years for property damage resulting from an accident. Property damage from a car accident can include more than just damage to an automobile. Cars and trucks sometimes hit businesses and homes, as well as other types of property. Especially when a business or home is involved, the financial damage can be significant.
Just as waiting too long can affect a personal injury action, it’s not a good idea to wait too long to talk with an attorney when property damage from a car accident involves a substantial amount of money. That is true even if you think the claim may be resolved through an insurance company.
Virginia Wrongful Death Actions
If a car accident results in a death, the victim’s family or personal representative may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the person who is at fault for the accident. The statute of limitations in Virginia for wrongful death actions is two years from the date of death. If the victim died in the accident, the two-year period begins on the date of the accident. If the victim died from the injuries sometime after the accident, the two-year limitation begins to run on the date of death.
If You Were Injured in a Car Accident in Virginia Beach: Talk with a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident in Virginia Beach, The Jeff Brooke Team is here to help. Contact us by phone at (757) 552-6055 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.