Ideally, after an accident in which you were injured, the case could be concluded rather quickly. You visit your doctor, get treated, and your insurer cooperates well enough to offer a fair settlement that covers all your medical expenses.
While that would certainly be the best-case scenario, it is quite an infrequent depiction of how the process of filing and resolving a personal injury claim plays out. Things often drag on for quite a while, meaning that you must pay close attention to the timeline in which you submit your claim. This timeline is legally recognized as the “statute of limitations,” and its specifics can vary by state.
According to Virginia’s statute of limitations, there is a specific window of time for victims of serious personal injuries to file their claim. This timeline begins from the exact date on which the cause of the injury occurred. This means that if you only happened to notice the wound several days or weeks after the incident, you do not get to start the clock from the moment you took note of your physical condition. In this case, you would have to count retroactively, assuming you recall the source of your injury.
Still, there are a few exceptions that may apply to your case. Note that not all circumstances that cause you to become injured will be at the hands of a negligent driver, or a colleague acting recklessly. In many cases, a doctor performing their job with little regard for their patient’s sensitivities has resulted in someone developing physical conditions that they’ve never had before.
Such an instance would be regarded as “medical malpractice,” and would allow for an “extension” of sorts to the statute of limitations. Since you would be unlikely to recognize that you were harmed by your doctor, much less, when, you would then be allowed to count the date on which you recognized the malpractice as the beginning of the two years.
With this, though, you must keep one additional caveat in mind: you have a grace period of only one year to recognize that your injury was the direct result of the doctor’s negligence. Further exceptions to the statute of limitations include:
- If the victim is under the age of 18 years old at the time of the incident.
- The victim was suffering with a mental disability at the time of the incident.
Additional Factors to Consider in Your Time Limit to File
Not all injuries will be quick to resolve. Some will take weeks, months, or even up to a year to gain a full assessment on the costs required for treatment. Such is the case for extensive injuries such as those causing paralysis or extended or lifelong disabilities.
You don’t want to file preemptively, and risk underestimating the financial burden your recovery will be. Still, it’s best to file as soon as you possibly can. Communicate often with your doctor and personal injury lawyer to know at which point in your two-year timeline you should file a personal injury claim.