A personal injury case occurs when an individual is harmed by the alleged negligence or behavior of someone else, who they feel is legally responsible for that injury and the costs associated with it. In order to sue for these damages, there are a variety of factors that must be taken into account.
Statute Of Limitations
All states have what is known as the statute of limitations — a time allotment in which one can file a lawsuit. These statutes vary in each state and change depending on the type of law that the case falls under. For a personal injury case in the state of Virginia, the statute of limitations is set at two years. In other words, a someone who feels they are a victim of personal injury has up to two years to file a lawsuit. This timer starts from the date that you get into the accident.
The statute of limitations is a very important deadline to take note of. If you do not file a personal injury lawsuit in a civil court within this timeframe, your case will almost definitively be thrown out as “time-barred.”
If your intended lawsuit is against a government agency, the state of Virginia has special procedural laws that apply. Before filing any claims, you must first notify the government of your intention to do so. An attorney typically does this for the client by submitting a formal written notice, outlining the details of the accident such as the date and place when it occurred.
If your claim is against a town or city in Virginia, this notice must be given within six months of the accident. However, if the lawsuit is against the Virginia state government or transportation district, this window increases to one year from the accident. After, the government must respond to your claim, either accepting it and attempting to settle or refusing it. Regardless, in most cases you will then be allowed to file a lawsuit in court.
Virginia is one of the few states that use the “law of contributory negligence,” which is seen by many as very harsh. This law states if you share some of the blame for the accident, you cannot receive any damages from the other at-fault party. Regardless of how little responsibility you are found to share, be it 1% or 30%, no damages can be received. However, this should not necessarily deter you from pursuing a personal injury case, as this law does not always play a role.
Contact A Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in the state of Virginia and wish to recover damages, contacting a personal injury lawyer is likely your best option. They can help represent your case and navigate the legal stipulations that may be involved.