Important note: The material below is not legal advice and is not to be relied on in the absence of advice by an attorney. Only your attorney can advise you as to the applicable statute of limitations in your case. Please consult with an attorney before making any decision as to the statute of limitations in your case.
The Statute of Limitations: Virginia Basics
In Virginia, plaintiffs do not have an unlimited amount of time to bring a personal injury case to court. Under the Virginia statute of limitations, personal injury cases must be filed within a specific time frame, which varies from case to case.
“Unless otherwise provided in this section or by other statute, every action for personal injuries, whatever the theory of recovery, and every action for damages resulting from fraud shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.” (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243)
“Every action under § 8.01-50 shall be brought by the personal representative of the decedent within two years after the death of the injured person. If any such action is brought within such period of two years after such person’s death and for any cause abates or is dismissed without determining the merits of such action, the time such action is pending shall not be counted as any part of such period of two years and another action may be brought within the remaining period of such two years as if such former action had not been instituted. However, if a plaintiff suffers a voluntary nonsuit pursuant to § 8.01-380, the nonsuit shall not be deemed an abatement nor a dismissal pursuant to this subsection, and the provisions of subdivision E 3 of § 8.01-229 shall apply to such a nonsuited action.” (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-244)
Virginia Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
The time limit for filing medical malpractice cases is included under the statute of limitations for personal injuries.
Product liability cases are covered under the personal injury statute of limitations.
Libel, Slander, or Defamation
“Every action for injury resulting from libel, slander, insulting words, or defamation shall be brought within one year after the cause of action accrues.” (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-247.1)
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for fraud is two years, and it begins running when the alleged fraud is discovered or should have been discovered by the exercise of reasonable diligence. (Va. Code Ann. §§ 8.01-243, 8.01-249 (2011); Va. Imports Inc. v. Kirin Brewery of Am. LLC, 296 F.Supp.2d 691, 699 (E.D. Va. 2003))
The discovery rule places the burden on the plaintiff “to prove that he acted with due diligence and yet did not discover the fraud or mistake until within the statutory period of limitation immediately preceding the commencement of the action.” (Hughes v. Foley, 203 Va. 904, 907, 128 S.E.2d 261 (Va. 1962))
To comply with the due diligence requirement, the plaintiff must use “such a measure of prudence, activity, or assiduity, as is properly to be expected from, and ordinarily exercised by, a reasonable and prudent [person] under the particular circumstances.” (STB Marketing Corp. v. Zolfaghari, 240 Va. 140, 144, 393 S.E.2d 394 (Va. 1990))
Municipal Liability/Sovereign Immunity
Cities and towns can be sued, but you must file a notice of claim within six months of the occurrence giving rise to the action. The notice requirement is tolled for incapacities until the plaintiff is able to give notice. (Va. Code Ann. § 15.2-209)
The standard discovery rule applies in Virginia, with the exception of specific rules with respect to foreign objects (medical malpractice), fraud (generally and in medical malpractice), and computer crime.
Comparative negligence does not apply except in certain railroad crossing cases.
Charitable immunity exists, but it’s modified in cases of hospitals.
The statute of limitations runs after a legal disability such as minor status or insanity ends. However, in malpractice cases, claims must be filed within two years of the accrual of the action, unless the plaintiff is a minor younger than 8, in which case action must be brought by their 10th birthday. (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-243.1)
The statute of limitation is tolled by the absence or concealment of the defendant, which prevents the statute of limitations from running as long as the defendant’s absence or concealment continues.
Punitive damages are allowed but capped at $350,000. (Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-38.1)
Virginia is not a no-fault state.
Virginia Personal Injury Statute of Limitations for Other Cases
- Loss of Services of an Infant or the Cost of Curing an Infant of Injuries Caused by the Defendant: Five years
- Action for Personal Injuries or Wrongful Death Arising from Improvement to Real Estate: Five years
- Injuries Resulting From Violation of the Virginia Computer Crime Act: The earlier of five years from the last act or two years from when the last act is discovered or should have been discovered.
- Damages for Asbestos-Related Death: Five years
Consumer Fraud Complaint
Address consumer fraud complaints to the Virginia Office of the Attorney General online or by calling (804) 786-2071.
Find Help With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit
Before pursuing litigation, it’s important to understand the statute of limitations for Virginia personal injury cases to ensure that you have enough time to file your claim. A good attorney will help you to ensure that your lawsuit is filed according to the statute of limitations in Virginia to protect your right to pursue compensation. If you need helping understanding the Virginia statute of limitations, personal injury lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP can help. Call for a free consultation today.