Injured in an Accident? Find Out How Long You Have to Take Legal Action

Statutes of limitations vary depending on the type of claim, the state you reside in, and who you are seeking to take legal action against.
You are driving on the highway headed home after a long day at work.

In the blink of an eye, your vehicle is smashed into by a distracted driver who was texting on their phone. Your vehicle is totaled and you suffered serious injuries including broken bones, multiple torn muscles, and a spinal cord injury.

Unfortunately, this scenario occurs far too often on roads and highways across the U.S. Victims and their families may wonder, “When should I talk to a lawyer about taking legal action?” Here’s the answer – sooner rather than later. Why? Because there is a statute of limitations (i.e. a time limit) associated with the pursuit of monetary damages against a negligent party.

Statutes of limitations vary depending on the type of claim, the state you reside in, and who you are seeking to take legal action against. Acting sooner rather than later is best, and preparing the case and legal filings with a dedicated and caring personal injury lawyer is strongly recommended.

In this article, the personal injury attorneys with Shapiro, Appleton and Duffan list and discuss the most commonly applied deadlines for filing civil lawsuits in Virginia. This is because the firm is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia and actively represents injured Virginians. Your state may have other statutes of limitations that are applicable to your claim.

Generally, You Have Two Years to File a Personal Injury Claim

The Virginia legislature decided to put in place a two year statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim against a negligent party. To show you how state-specific these limits can be, in North Carolina, you get three years to file a claim for personal injuries.

The clock on this deadline begins ticking on the date of the accident. That’s right, you may be in the hospital recovering from the accident and have lost a number of days to take legal action against the distracted driver that hit you.

Types of cases that fall under the umbrella of personal injuries include the following:

• Car, motorcycle and truck accidents
• Slips and falls, both at businesses and on private property
• Dog bites and animal attacks
• Electric shocks
• Product liability, including dangerous and defective drugs, medical devices, food, beverages and all consumer goods (e.g., appliances, cribs, window blinds)

Watch Out for the One-Year Loophole

If you, or a loved one, was hit by a city-owned vehicle (e.g., police vehicle, utility truck, etc.) you may only have one year to file a claim for personal injuries in Virginia. You are also required to submit a “notice” of your intent to file a civil claim within six months from the date of the accident. This tricky loophole is a prime example of why it is so important for you to consult with a Virginia personal injury lawyer. They can advise you of the time you have left to take legal action against the at-fault party.

Two Years for Wrongful Death

Virginia law defines a wrongful death as one “caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of any person or corporation, or of any ship or vessel”—essentially a fatal personal injury. Unlike injury lawsuits, however, the statute of limitations for wrongful death commences from the date the person dies rather than when he or she got injured or became sick. Virginia also allows a personal injury lawsuit to become a wrongful death lawsuit if an injured party dies from their injuries. This can happen if, for example, a driver was seriously injured in a truck accident and winds up in a coma. The family could initially file a personal injury claim, but if the victim passes away, that claim can become a wrongful death claim against the truck driver and trucking company (also known as a survival action).

Three Years for Federal Employers’ Liability Act Claims

The legal team at Shapiro, Appleton and Duffan has represented dozens of injured railroad workers. In fact, our firm was founded by an injured railroad worker who changed careers and dedicated the firm’s practice to helping hurt rail employees. We want to ensure that all injured railroad workers understand that their claims fall under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA). The FELA is a unique federal law designed specifically for railroad worker injury claims. There is a 3-year statute of limitations for FELA claims and the limit generally starts from the date of the on-the-job injury or from the date when a work-related illness is diagnosed. Mesothelioma and lung cancer claims brought by railroad workers are filed under the FELA.

Because the applicability of the statute of limitations can be questioned by defendants named in FELA lawsuits, plaintiffs should secure the counsel and representation of an experienced railroad workers’ attorney early in the process. This is especially true in mesothelioma cases because the disease can develop decades after regular exposures to asbestos stops.

Richard N. Shapiro is a partner at Shapiro, Appleton & Duffan in Virginia Beach, Va. He is certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a prolific inventor and product designer, and has litigated wrongful death, trucking, faulty products, railroad and medical negligence claims throughout the Eastern United States.

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Media Contact
Company Name: Shapiro, Appleton and Duffan
Contact Person: Richard
Phone: 757-460-7776
Address:1294 Diamond Springs Rd
City: Virginia Beach
State: Virginia
Country: United States