Under section 8.01-243 of the Code of Virginia, adults have two years from the date on which another party’s actions resulted in their brain injury to file claims for compensation from the responsible party. Individuals and companies can be named as defendants in brain injury lawsuits.
That same statute sets a five-year statute of limitations on brain jury claims brought by a parent, guardian, or legal executor on behalf of an infant. The longer deadline recognizes the reality that recognizing symptoms of a brain injury in a newborn or young child may take a long time. Failure to achieve developmental milestones may indicate brain trauma, but diagnosing the issue will take more than noticing that a child has not started speaking or walking.
Note, too, that any person younger than 18 years of ages is considered an infant for the purposes of bringing personal injury claims. This legal designation means only that from the time they are born until the day they turn 18, a legal infant cannot enter into enforceable contracts or represents themselves in court.
- A Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Answers the 3 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Understanding Statutes of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Virginia and North Carolina
- How Virginia Applies Its Statute of Limitations to Personal Injury Lawsuits Involving Children
For adults and infants, the statue of limitations for a brain injury case can be extended in three specific instances. A n extension will be granted when
- The harm was intentionally concealed until after the usual deadline for seeking compensation would have passed,
- The harm resulted from a misdiagnosis of cancer, or
- The harm resulted from “a foreign object having no therapeutic or diagnostic effect being left in a patient's body.”
Generally, the clock on the statute of limitations starts ticking on the day when a brain injury occurs. When symptoms such as headaches, numbness, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance and memory loss do not manifest until some time after a traffic accident, slip, fall, medical error or use of a defective product, the statute of limitation may apply from the day on which such symptoms did become noticeable.
Completely aside from knowing when it is possible to file claims for medical expenses, lost wages and earnings, and pain and suffering from a brain injury, securing an insurance settlement or civil jury award for a brain injury is complicated. Partnering with an experienced personal injury attorney will make collecting and presenting evidence, as well as dealing with the insurance company and court, easier.