Can I still file a personal injury claim a year after my accident?

It’s amazing how an accident can seem to alter the flow of time. Surprise, frustration, anger and pain can make a second feel like an hour and a month feel like a day. During an accident, time can seemingly slow down as you helplessly watch and feel yourself get injured, but once it’s over, you realize it only lasted a fraction of a second.

Likewise, living with the constant pain of an accident as well as the emotional and financial stress of an injury can cause days to blur into one and weeks to blur into months; one second you’re being discharged from Inova, the next you’re been fired from your job for overextending your sick leave.

When recovering from an injury, you’re focus tends to be solely on feeling better, not on how the accident may affect the rest of your life nor the steps you need to take to file a lawsuit. However, in order to receive potential compensation for your injury, you must file a claim before it’s too late.

Virginia's Statute of Limitations

Every state has its own statute of limitations, or designated timeframes for victims to file compensation claims for personal injuries. The commonwealth of Virginia maintains that a two-year window is the maximum amount of time needed for a victim to ascertain whether or not he needs to file an injury claim. This window begins immediately after the injury is sustained and ends precisely two years after the fact.

However, Virginia does allow for some leeway, depending on the injury and the person injured.

  • Infant injuries can be pursued up to five years after incident due to potential long-term effects
  • Malpractice injury claims can potentially be extended in certain circumstance
  • Injury claims filed on behalf of disabled victims may be extended on a case-by-case basis but not to extend ten years after injury
  • Sexual abuse injury of infants or incapacitated adults may be extended up to 20 years after incident

Other states, such as Washington, D.C., extend their limitations to 3 or more years. These varying timeframes and case by case extensions is why it’s extremely important, after an accident, to seek help and advice from an experienced injury lawyer; even if you think it may be too late for you to file, he’ll be able to guide you through your options to make sure you get everything you’re legally entitled to and deserve.

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