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  • Writer's pictureGregory Sandler

How Much Time Do I Have To File A Claim

I purposely “mistitled” this blog post to draw a critical distinction between “Filing A Claim” and “Filing A Lawsuit”.

- Filing a claim is basically sending some form of notification to the responsible party

or their insurance company, advising them that you have been injured and that you

intend to hold them accountable.

- Filing a lawsuit is the actual Legal Act that begins the process of enforcing the claim.

Depending on the nature of the case, the source of the law, the age of the survivor and otherfactors, there may be critical time limits associated with both the filing of the claim and the filing of the lawsuit to enforce the claim. IF YOU MISS ONE OF THESE DEADLINES, YOUR CASE WILL LIKELY BE DEAD AS WELL.

Only a consultation with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney will make sure that you don’t violate the required deadlines, either at the beginning of the case or throughout the process.

The potential limits to the filing of a claim vary depending on the claim. For example, in

order to file a claim against the Federal Government, based on the conduct of a federal

employee, one must file a formal claim within a certain time period. The same applies in

Virginia for claims against the state or against a municipal employee. Some types of class action claims require administrative filings. Claims that are affected by the bankruptcy of the responsible party may require filings in the Bankruptcy Court. These limitations are very much dependent on the your case and you will need the advice of a lawyer to make sure you are protected.

The limits on FILING A LAWSUIT are referred to as the STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS.

They are established by statutes in Virginia and they are jurisdictional, which means that they automatically apply and missing one will result in the permanent inability to ever try to seek a recovery from the responsible party for your injuries. Consider them as a guillotine for your case. In Virginia, there are several statutes that affect your case’s life, SO YOU MUST CONSULT WITH A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER AND YOU CANNOT DELAY!

Here are key points related to the legal time limits issue:

1. Statute of Limitations:

  • The statute of limitations is a law that sets a specific time frame within which a

legal action must be initiated. If a claim is not filed within this designated period,

the right to pursue legal action may be forfeited.

2. Varied Timeframes:

  • Statutes of limitations vary by jurisdiction and the type of legal claim. Different

states have different time limits for personal injury claims, and these limits may

also depend on the specific circumstances of the case. In addition there may be

different limitation periods for different types of claims, such as malpractice,

defamation, fraud, etc.

3. Discovery Rule:

  • In most cases in Virginia, the clock on the statute of limitations usually starts

ticking from the time the injury OCCURS, not when it is DISCOVERED or

should have been reasonably discovered. There are exceptions to this rule

depending upon the circumstances of your case and the applicable statute.

However as soon as you believe that an event has occurred from which you could

have been injured, you should consult with an attorney. Don’t wait until the injury

becomes serious or permanent, as too much time may have passed to preserve

your claim.

4. Exceptions and Extensions:

  • Some jurisdictions may have exceptions or extensions to the statute of

limitations in certain situations. For example, if the injured party is a minor at the time of the accident, the clock might start running from the date they turn 18.

From a practical perspective an injured person should NEVER have to fear the expiration

of a statute of limitations, if they have retained a personal injury attorney. You know when you were hurt, you likely know what happened and often you will know who is responsible. At that point, you should be seeking counsel. Here’s why:

1. Gathering Evidence in a Timely Manner: By retaining counsel at the earliest

time, you allow us to focus on accumulating evidence that will be needed to prove your

case. Witnesses move, scenes change and records “disappear”, and we need this

information to maximize your opportunity to be treated fairly.

2. Preserving Legal Rights: Consulting with us early after your injury, allows us to

determine what the proper cause of action will be, to determine what the proper statute of limitation is, to put the correct people on notice, to determine the correct corporation or governmental entity that might be involved and to take the steps to make sure your statute of limitations never comes close to expiring on you.

3. Preventing You From Being Victimized AGAIN: If you try to handle your case

directly with the insurance adjuster, the adjuster DOES NOT HAVE TO TELL YOU

WHAT THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IS. More than once I have had a client call

me with a story that he was talking with the adjuster about the case, submitting bills and

records and negotiating the case, only to be told that the statute had run out and no

settlement would be made. The client felt that he had been taken advantage of, and he

had, but TOO BAD. The statutes of limitations are self-executing. They ensures that

individuals do not have the threat of potential legal action hanging over them indefinitely.

So you must act!!

Understanding and being aware of the statute of limitations is crucial for car crash

survivors who may be considering legal action. Seeking legal advice promptly allows individuals to assess the specific time limits applicable to their case and take appropriate action within the required timeframe.

Call me today for a FREE consultation. 757-627-8900

Call Today For A FREE Consultation 757-627-8900
How Much Time Do I Have To File A Claim


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