Frequently Asked Questions

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  • How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia?

    If you or a loved one has been harmed by someone who acted negligently or recklessly, you must act quickly to hold the responsible party accountable. Virginia enforces a two-year statute of limitations on legal actions related to personal injuries, medical malpractice episodes and injuries from dangerous or defective products.

    The statute of limitations clock starts either on the day that the injury occurs or, in the case of medical problems, the day on which a definitive diagnosis is made. Insurance companies and defense lawyers often argue that any claim was made after the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations, but partnering with a dedicated Virginia personal injury attorney will help the victim defeat that argument.

    EJL

  • Why does Virginia enforce statutes of limitations on personal injury claims?

    While it may seem unfair to victims to make it illegal to bring legal actions over personal injuries just because a certain date has passed, the concept of statutes of limitations actually make sense.

    Two years, which Virginia generally recognizes as the statute of limitations for personal injury insurance claims and lawsuits, is probably too short. Still, asking a victim to come forward soon after a traffic crash, slip and fall, medical malpractice incident or injury from a dangerous or defective product helps ensure that evidence exists and memories can be trusted.

    The fact that statutes of limitations exist means that anyone who believes they have a legitimate claim for the payment of medical bills, the replacement of lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering should explore their legal options with a Virginia personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later.

    EJL

  • What happens if I wait too long to file a personal injury claim in Virginia?

    By law, waiting more than two years from day on which you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness means you cannot collect on an insurance claim or succeed with a lawsuit.

    However, the date on which the clock for filing a personal injury claim can often be debated. This is particularly true in cases involving medical malpractice and in cases involving illnesses caused by dangerous products. Often, the victim will not know that a health care provider or a product harmed them until years after the fact. A definitive diagnosis is needed to make a link between a medical procedure or a product and current, ongoing health problems.

    In such an instance, the statute of limitations applies from the day of the diagnosis. Consulting with a knowledgeable Virginia personal injury lawyer when questions exist regarding a statute of limitations can benefit a victim greatly.

    EJL

  • What are common reasons for a person to get in an accident with a personal watercraft?

    Personal watercraft such as jet skis are fun, but they are dangerous if used improperly. If you were injured by someone piloting a personal watercraft, our attorneys will check if the operator was speeding or weaving at the time of the accident; following your vessel too closely; or crossed the path of your vessel illegally. 

  • What is the most common cause of boating accidents?

    The most common reason for boating accidents is intoxication. Many people take to the water for relaxation and fun on the weekends and during summer months. It is very common for boat operators to drink while piloting watercraft. Having a BAC of .08% or higher while operating a boat is illegal in Virginia. 

  • What are some of the ways that a personal injury attorney will investigate a boating accident injury claim?

    If you were hurt in a boating accident due to the actions of another party, our attorneys will look at such issues as whether the at-fault boat operator was intoxicated; was the at-fault operator speeding or otherwise piloting the boat negligently; and did the at fault boat operators comply with all regulations under the Virginia Code that describe how to pilot a boat safely? 

  • Under what circumstances could a personal injury lawsuit by a passenger in a single-vehicle crash be unsuccessful?

    If the passenger in the car was a contributor to the negligence of the driver or knew the driver could engage in reckless behavior, such as knowing the driver was drunk, then the defendant could assert a contributory negligence defense, or possibly an assumption of risk defense. 

  • When is the driver in a single car accident responsible for passenger injuries?

    In many single car accidents with a passenger injury, the driver was negligent. If he lost control of his car, did not react to road conditions, was driving too fast or was drinking, a passenger may have a valid negligence claim. 

  • When should I file a personal injury case in civil court vs. general district court in Virginia?

    Some personal injury cases in circuit court in Virginia can take a year or more to resolve. If your case involves damages below $25,000, your attorney may advise you to file your lawsuit in the general court district. This can provide a quicker case resolution - most often within six months of case filing. Note that the $25,000 damages limit does not include interest. 

  • Should I wait as a minor until I am 18 to file a personal injury lawsuit?

    No - for several reasons. It can be hard to collect evidence of the injury after many years; finding all medical records and bills can be challenging; and witnesses to the accident could be deceased. You do not need to wait until you are 18 to file your lawsuit, per Virginia Code 8.01-8. You can use a parent as your 'best friend,' per the law.