Virginia Statute of Limitations
As soon as you are wronged, hurt, or damage occurs, Virginia’s legal deadline to file for monetary compensation begins to countdown. The statutes of limitations in Virginia dictate how long one can take to pursue legal action, but grasping the nuances of these time limits has its challenges. Clarity and ease come with the help of an experienced Virginia attorney.
If you are weighing the pros and cons of hiring a lawyer or are concerned about the costs of retaining legal counsel, the Pendleton Law Team provides a free consultation in addition to this comprehensive guide covering Virginia’s statutes of limitations.
Improve your chances of obtaining justice by learning the different categories that apply to this time-restrictive process and what is needed for each to be successful.
Overview of Virginia’s Statutes of Limitations
Virginia’s statutes of limitations exist to encourage prompt legal action and provide certainty in the legal system. These laws impose strict deadlines dictating how long a plaintiff has to pursue legal claims against defendants in civil cases. Statutes of limitations protect potential defendants from overly delayed lawsuits regarding older events where evidence and memories may be unclear.
For plaintiffs, the consequences of missing the deadline to file a lawsuit are severe – they forever lose the ability to seek damages or justice through the courts, even if their claim is perfectly valid. A lawyer can understand exactly what the statutes of limitations are for your specific case and strictly abide by the deadlines to preserve your legal rights.
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Common Virginia Statutes of Limitations Time Periods
Consulting with an attorney who specializes in the type of case you are filing a claim for is the best approach to knowing how much time you have left to file a lawsuit or bring a claim against an at-fault party. The period imposed can vary depending on the type of claim, such as:
|Claim Type||Statute of Limitations|
|Personal Injury||2 years from the date of injury|
|Medical Malpractice||2 years from the date of malpractice|
|Breach of Oral Contract||3 years from the date of the breach|
|Breach of Written Contract||5 years from the date of the breach|
|Fraud||2 years from the date of discovery|
|Property Damage||5 years from the date of damage|
|Wrongful Death||2 years from the date of death|
|Defamation||1 year from the date of publication|
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When the Clock Starts Ticking: Occurrence vs. Discovery Rules
In regards to the statute of limitations in Virginia, there is a difference between occurrence and discovery.
The “occurrence rule” means the statute of limitations starts running from the actual date the injury, damage, or breach occurred. For example, if you were in a car accident on March 15, 2020, that caused injuries, the clock would begin on March 15, 2020.
The “discovery rule” means the statute of limitations only begins running once the problem is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. Using the car accident example, if hidden injuries developed that weren’t diagnosed until a year later, on March 30, 2021, the statute would begin on the discovery date of March 30, 2021 rather than the actual date that the accident occurred.
Virginia applies the occurrence rule more strictly, but the discovery rule can apply in some cases of fraud, medical negligence, etc. It’s most beneficial to consult with an attorney who can advise on which applies.
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Deadline Exceptions for Minors and Legally Incapacitated
Virginia law provides some exceptions to standard statutes of limitations deadlines for plaintiffs who are minors or legally incapacitated at the time of injury or damage. Key points include:
- Minors: For children injured as minors, their statute of limitations deadline is tolled or paused until they reach the age of majority at 18 in Virginia. Their deadline would then start on their 18th birthday.
- Incapacitated adults: For adults who are legally incapacitated due to mental disability at the time of injury, the statute typically does not begin running until the disability is removed.
- Two-year limit: While tolled for minors/incapacitated, the statute is restricted from being tolled for more than two years in total in Virginia.
- Wrongful death: Special rules apply when the plaintiff is not the injured party but is filing over the wrongful death of a minor.
The tolling provisions aim to provide accommodation since minors and incapacitated adults have limited ability to pursue legal action independently. To navigate the complications that may arise in such cases, our reputable, top-rated Virginia attorneys are available to evaluate and strategize around the nuances of your case.
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Consulting a Lawyer About Your Virginia Claim Before the Deadline Expires
Virginia’s statute of limitations can be a legal maze of surprises and complexities. Partner with the Pendleton Law Team to manage every twist and turn with knowledge and confidence. Our attorneys guarantee to file your claims on time and to use our reputation as the “Heavy Hitters®” to get the justice that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-risk consultation.
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