Can a Court Decide to Continue My Case Simply Based on My Opponent’s Request?

In Virginia, courts do have great latitude and discretion to offer continuances to either party, but they typically will want a good reason in order to grant a continuance. However, due to COVID-19, many courts continued cases due to post-COVID scheduling complications, that is, cases being continued during COVID-19 and multiple cases being rescheduled on the same day.

Under what circumstances can my Virginia personal injury case be continued?

If you were injured in a negligence-based accident in Virginia and have questions or concerns regarding the timeframe of your potential personal injury case, please contact the Virginia Beach personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, and schedule your free consultation. 

What is a Continuance?

When someone who is a party to a personal injury lawsuit wishes to defer a matter that has been scheduled for a trial or hearing or that has a legal deadline, the appropriate method is to apply for a continuance from the court. A continuance is simply a request to postpone something until a later date

A request for a continuance may be oral or written based on the circumstances under which it is given. Generally speaking, a request for a continuance is made in court at the start of the session.

Who Approves or Denies a Continuance?

Whether or not a continuance is granted is at the sole discretion of the judge. While continuances are not necessarily encouraged, one might be granted if the party making the request is able to prove that they have not neglected their responsibilities to the court and are acting in good faith.  

Once the request has been made, the court will then weigh the need for a continuance against any possible disadvantage to the opposing side if it is granted. The court might dent the request for a continuance if the opposing party is able to prove that a continuance would be damaging. 

In the event that a previous continuance was granted or a case has been in litigation for a while, the court could deny the request for these reasons as well. 

What Are Some Valid Reasons For Requesting a Continuance?

The court system in Virginia recognizes that people often have genuine reasons for asking to reschedule their court date. One of the most common claims for requesting a continuance is the need to hire an attorney. When asking for a continuance to hire a lawyer, it is essential to prove to the court that efforts are being made in that direction.  

Other common reasons for requesting a continuance include:

  • Undergoing medical treatment that makes it difficult or impossible for you to appear in court 
  • A key witness in your case would be unable to attend on the scheduled day
  • You are in the military

If one of these applies to you, or you have another good reason for needing a continuance, then you or your lawyer may request one from the court.  

Usually, the court will ask the requesting party how much time they need and grant the continuance for the specified period of time, so be ready to tell the court exactly how long you need. If you are requesting a continuance due to medical care or illness, ask your treating physician how long you can expect your recovery to take. If you need additional time to find an attorney, be sure to keep your request within a reasonable time frame. 

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

An experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you through every stage of the personal injury process. We will conduct a full investigation into your accident, ensure all case-related deadlines are met, work with expert witnesses, and fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us at (833) 997-1774 and schedule your free consultation today.  

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