Did you suffer injuries in a Virginia truck accident? You may be able to sue the truck driver or the trucking company, but you must file your claim within a specified time limit called the statute of limitations. Virginia courts enforce this deadline very strictly and only allow limited exceptions in rare cases.
Statute of Limitations for Truck Accidents in Virginia
The time frame to file a lawsuit after a truck collision depends on the type of damages you suffered:
- Personal injury. To sue for a bodily injury or a mental injury, you must initiate your claim within two years from the date of the accident.
- Property damage. To sue for property damage, such as damage to your car, you must file your claim within five years from the date of the accident.
- Wrongful death. To sue for the death of a loved one, you must file your claim within two years of the victim’s death.
Statute of Limitations Only Applies to Filing Lawsuits
It’s important to understand that the statute of limitations in Virginia only applies to the filing of lawsuits. While you must initiate your claim within the specified time frame, the case itself may take longer to resolve.
You should also keep in mind that the deadline for filing an insurance claim may be different and much shorter. Additionally, the regular statute of limitations doesn’t apply if the collision involves a government employee or agency. That’s why it’s essential to act fast and retain legal counsel as soon as possible after the accident to ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines.
What Happens If You Don’t File on Time?
If you don’t file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to seek compensation. More often than not, the court will dismiss your claim outright, even if you can easily establish liability and the extent of your damages.
Is It Possible to Extend the Statute of Limitations?
In rare cases, the court may pause or “toll” the statute of limitations in the interest of fairness. Examples include:
- Incapacitation. If you are temporarily in a coma or physically or mentally incapacitated after the accident, you won’t be able to pursue compensation during that time. In such cases, the statute of limitations begins to run as soon as the incapacitation ends.
- Underage victims. If the victim is a minor, they will have two years after their 18th birthday to file a claim.
- Latent injuries. If your injury isn’t initially apparent, the statute of limitations may begin after you discover your injury.
Exceptions such as these are rare and hard to seek. If you think you may need to pause or extend the statute of limitations, consult with an experienced Virginia truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
How a Virginia Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
Pursuing compensation after a truck accident can be challenging, especially at a time when you should be focusing on your recovery. An experienced truck accident lawyer can not only ensure that you file your claim on time but also take care of the paperwork and other legal formalities, maximizing your chances of success.
Contact an Experienced Virginia Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Understanding and complying with the statute of limitations in Virginia is critical to the outcome of your case. The experienced legal team at Geoff McDonald & Associates can walk you through the process and explain your options. Call 804-888-8888 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.