Three Virginia Personal Injury Laws That Are Relevant To Your Claim

It does not matter how careful or responsible you are, if you fall victim to another person’s recklessness or negligence, you could be severely or permanently injured. If this happens, understanding your rights and knowing what steps you need to take in order to recover the maximum amount of compensation is essential.  

What rules impact my filing of a Virginia personal injury claim?

The Norfolk personal injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have earned outstanding reputations for helping personal injury victims collect full financial compensation for their negligence-based injuries. If you are considering filing a personal injury claim, there are three Virginia personal injury laws that you need to keep in mind. 

Pure Contributory Negligence


Every state has its own set of laws pertaining to how negligence is handled in a personal injury claim. For instance, in many states, a person who is partly negligent for the injuries and damages they sustained is still eligible to collect financial compensation, no matter their percentage of fault. In other states, negligent parties are eligible for recovery, but only if their percentage of fault is less than the defendant’s. 

Finally, a few states, of which Virginia is one, adhere to the very strict rules of pure contributory negligence when it comes to fault. When pure contributory negligence is applied, a victim is barred from recovering damages if they are even 1% liable for the accident. So, unless they can show that the defendant was 100% at fault for their damages, they will not be able to collect any financial compensation at all. 

Statute of Limitations

Another law that has a direct impact on your ability to bring a Virginia personal injury suit is the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is a deadline that governs how much time you have to file a suit. Virginia’s statute of limitations is two years from the cause of action, which is the day your injuries occurred. 

The sole exception to this deadline is accommodated under the discovery rule. The discovery rule maintains that the clock on the statute does not start until the day you discover your injury. For instance, if you have surgery and find out the following year that a piece of medical equipment was left inside of you, you have two years from the day you learned this to file a lawsuit. Our experienced attorneys can determine the specific statute of limitations as it applies to your case. 

Caps on Recoverable Damages

In Virginia, no cap is placed on the majority of personal injury damages. In other words, you could conceivably recover financial compensation for the full amount of your special and general damages, including medical costs, lost earnings, pain, and suffering. There are, however, two exceptions: medical malpractice damages and punitive damages.  

  • Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice damages are capped in Virginia. The amount recoverable will be based on when the malpractice occurred. Virginia law provides for a $50,000 increase in medical malpractice caps every year until 2031 when the cap reaches $3 million. The current cap applies to all medical malpractice claims throughout the state whether they are resolved by a judge or a trial by jury. 
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages are non-compensatory. Rather, these damages are intended to act as a punishment for the defendant for particularly egregious acts. The cap on punitive damages in Virginia personal injury claims is set at $350,000. There are no exceptions. 

Do You Have Questions About Virginia Personal Injury Laws?

If you were injured by someone else’s negligence and need to collect financial compensation for the damages you sustained, it is essential that you have a thorough knowledge of the various rules and regulations that apply to your right to file. If you have questions or are struggling to understand Virginia’s personal injury laws and how they apply to your specific case, our Norfolk personal injury lawyers are here to help. After decades of practicing personal injury law in Virginia, we know what it takes to get you the settlement you deserve. 

If you were injured due to someone’s negligence, call the law offices of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp at (833) 997-1774 and schedule your free consultation as soon as possible. 

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