What happens if you’re not fully recovered from your Virginia car accident before your statute of limitations runs?

If you’ve been injured in a Virginia car accident, there’s generally a two-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit (though, it can be shorter in some instances. (Learn more about the statute of limitations here.)  At Abrenio Law, many of our clients are facing catastrophic injuries, and their recovery lasts well beyond the two years.  Often, they ask, “what are my options if my deadline runs out?”

Filing a lawsuit tolls your statute of limitations.

If you’ve not fully recovered from your accident, you will need to properly file your lawsuit in court, against the correct party (or parties), in order to preserve your claim. If you don’t file your lawsuit correctly, it is forever waived (save some very limited exceptions.)  By filing your lawsuit, you will have more time to recover while you’re prosecuting your case.

Getting to trial can take a long time.

In most jurisdictions in Virginia, assuming you file your case in Circuit Court, you typically won’t get a court date for a year or more.  While you’ll be required to file reports (to include expert designations) prior to trial, by filing suit, that will create several more months of time to recover, as you get better and learn more about your prognosis.

What if you never get better?

If you’re facing such serious accident injuries that you suffered permanent injuries, you can indeed claim that permanency in your Virginia car accident.  To do so, you’ll need to have an expert witness (typically a doctor who specializes in the treatment of your type of injuries) who will support your claim that you’ve suffered permanent injury “to a reasonable degree of medical probability” in that specialty. 

What if you need more time than the additional year (or so) filing a suit adds to your case?

Look, some cases are really complex.  And even by the time trial finally is upon you, you still need additional time to work with your doctors to clarify your injuries and recovery.  Under Virginia law, you are permitted a “non-suit,” which allows you to voluntarily drop a case (so long as certain conditions aren’t met).  Once you drop it, you will then have an additional six months to refile.  From re-filing, you then have the additional time it takes to get to trial.

If it takes this long to determine your injuries, there may be other complications with your case that make it difficult to prove to a jury.  (For example, see our discussion of pre-existing conditions here.) However, the point is, you typically have additional time under Virginia law if is needed.

Still have questions? Abrenio Law can help.

For more information, make sure to check out our Virginia Car Accident Practice Page. You can also call us at Ph. 703-570-4180 for your Free Consultation. James Abrenio is an award-winning Personal Injury and Criminal Defense lawyer. To learn more about James, click here. You can also read his real client reviews here