Statutes of Limitations

You have suffered a personal injury that was not your fault, but you decide that you just don’t have the time or energy to contact a lawyer. But don’t wait too long, or your claim could be subject to something known as a “statute of imitations.”

Statutes of limitations are laws passed by the Virginia Legislature that set strict time limits on how long you have to file a “civil” lawsuit, like a personal injury claim [1]. There are two rules to keep in mind regarding statutes of limitations[2]:

1. The time period starts running down on the date your claim arises or “accrues” (the date of your personal injury); and

2. Once the statute of limitations expires or “runs,” you can’t file a lawsuit.

There are many civil claims, and each is governed by its own statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims expires or “runs” after 2 years [3]. What this means is that you only have 2 years from the date of your personal injury to file a lawsuit. While this might sound like a lot of time, a personal injury claim goes through many stages prior to litigation. These include: (1) your recovery from your injuries; (2) preparing the case for submission to the insurance company; and (3) the negotiation process [4].

The stages of a personal injury claim can be time consuming, and if the clock runs out on the statute of limitations before you either settle or file a lawsuit you will not get the money you deserve. If you have suffered a personal injury that was not your fault, it is important that you contact an attorney regarding your claim as soon as possible.

Man looking down at papers in his hands

About the Author: Christopher Guedri is a personal injury attorney in the Richmond office of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. He handles cases in Virginia and across the US. He has handled complicated tractor trailer accident casesbus accident cases and commercial truck accident cases and has won multi-million dollar verdicts over his career. In a career spanning over 30 years, he has been recognized by his peers as a superb litigator, Chris Guedri is has an AV Peer Rating from Martindale Hubbell and has been listed in the book Best Lawyers in America since 1997. More recently, he was inducted into the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, an organization of attorneys who are elected to membership based on their reputation for excellence. He has been included among “Legal Elite Best Lawyers in Virginia” by Virginia Business Magazine.


[2] Id.

[3] Va. Code § 8.01-243(A)