Statutes of Limitations in Virginia Personal Injury Cases

When someone is injured due to the alleged negligence of another party, the injured party may be entitled to compensation for their injuries from the at-fault party through a Virginia personal injury case. All personal injury cases, however, must be filed within a certain amount of time. If a plaintiff files their case after the applicable statute of limitations has expired, the court will have no choice but to dismiss the case.

Old GarageOften, when a Virginia personal injury case is filed more than two years after the date of the injury, there is significant litigation over statutes of limitations. This is because the general statute of limitations for all Virginia personal injury cases is two years. Of course, in some cases, there are exceptions to the two-year rule, but these exceptions are rarely obvious and often must be determined by the courts.

A recent appellate court opinion illustrates the difficulties two plaintiffs encountered when they filed a personal injury lawsuit after the two-year statute of limitations.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs previously rented a home from the defendant. One day, the plaintiffs’ son was in the car port, when he leaned up against a brick wall that collapsed, resulting in serious injuries. The initial case against the defendant was filed by the parents on behalf of their son, who was a minor. Once their son turned 18, the case was dismissed so that their son could proceed on his own behalf.

The son eventually received a $50,000 judgment against the defendant. This judgment, however, did not include any of the medical expenses that were incurred after the accident because those were paid by his parents – the plaintiffs. Thus, in an attempt to recoup those medical expenses, the parents filed a “personal property” claim against the defendant.

In Georgia, personal injury cases must be filed within two years. Personal property claims, on the other hand, are subject to a four-year statute of limitations. By asserting that the claim was for personal property, the plaintiffs hoped to avoid the two-year statute of limitations.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that their case was a personal property claim. The court began by explaining that it is true that parents do have a personal property interest in the medical expenses they pay on behalf of their children. However, the mere fact that the plaintiffs have a personal property right cannot transform a personal injury case into a personal property case, the court explained. The court looked at the underlying claims, finding that they were clearly personal injury claims. Thus, the plaintiffs’ claims were subject to the two-year statute of limitations.

As is the case above, Virginia has different statutes of limitations for different causes of action. For example, while personal injury claims must generally be brought within two years, medical malpractice plaintiffs are given a slightly longer time to file their cases.

Have You Been Injured in a Virginia Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Virginia accident that caused spinal cord injuries or other serious harm, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Each Virginia personal injury case must be filed within a certain amount of time, or it will be dismissed. The skilled Virginia personal injury attorneys at the law offices of Charles B. Roberts, P.C. have the experience and dedication you need to feel comfortable placing your case in their hands. Call 703-491-7070 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Virginia personal injury lawyer today. Calling is free, and we will not charge you for the time and effort we put into your case unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

See More Blog Posts:

Court Upholds Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Verdict over Defendant’s Sufficiency Challenge, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, September 6, 2017.

Plaintiff’s Lack of Diligence in Pursuing Claim Results in Dismissal with Prejudice, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, September 26, 2017.