Yes, there is a time limit for you to file a lawsuit against the driver responsible for your car accident. This time limit is in the statute of limitations. This state law outlines the period an accident victim has to claim damages in court. In Richmond, VA, the statute of limitations allows two years to take legal action against a negligent driver. The two-year limit applies to all persons who sustain injuries in a car accident. This includes drivers, cyclists, passengers, and pedestrians.
The time period begins from the date of the accident. For example, if you had an accident on 27 September 2018 you have until 27 September 2020 to file. If someone dies following an accident, their family also has two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The two-year period for this starts running from the date of death and not when the accident happened. For property damage, the time set to ask for compensation is five years. Due to the deadlines, get in touch with a car accident attorney in Richmond soon after your car crash. The attorney will ensure you file a lawsuit within the time given in the statute of limitations.
Why is It Important to File Your Claim Within the Statute of Limitations in Richmond, VA?
The statute of limitations was designed to force accident victims to take legal action in a reasonable time. It was also aimed at protecting the defendants. It would be ridiculous for a negligent driver to face a lawsuit 15 years after an accident. Also, if a claim is made after a long period of time, evidence may have been lost. Witnesses may have died or relocated and even if they are available, their memory of the accident would be vague. For these reasons, you should file a claim immediately after your accident when the memory of witnesses is still fresh. Doing so will ensure you have a fair case.
Starting the legal process early also gives your auto accident attorney in Richmond, VA time to prepare for your case. If you come to them when the deadline is close, they might rush to file your claim. This may mean they have to proceed without having all the evidence about your case. This might hurt your chances of getting compensation. Insurance companies might also take advantage of your late filing. They might stall the settlement process. They know once the deadline passes your only option is to accept what they offer you. In such a situation, they will definitely be looking to lower the amount they will pay you.
What a Car Accident Attorney in Richmond, VA Will Tell You About Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
The courts in Virginia take the statute of limitations very seriously. If you fail to meet the deadline for filing a lawsuit, your case will most likely be dismissed. The first thing a defendant will do when you file your claim is to inform the court of the delay. Once they do this, the court will likely rule in their favor and not allow your case. Your claim for compensation might be strong but you won’t recover anything simply because you didn’t adhere to the law. Make a claim early in order to avoid this. It is not required that your case be heard by a court or settled within two years. The statute of limitation only requires that a lawsuit is filed within that period. A lot of cases take longer than two years if negotiations with insurance companies are not successful.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in Richmond
Even if your case is a slam dunk, you should start the legal claim process early. You never know when something can change the facts of your case and make it harder to get compensated. After your accident, talk to an attorney at CAIL as soon as you can, given the statute of limitations. When you talk to our car accident attorney immediately, that will give them enough time to investigate your accident. There will also be enough time to deal with any challenges that arise in your case. However, if your deadline is close don’t worry. Our team will work hard to ensure you file your claim on time. To talk about your case, call our offices at 1-800-HURT-123.
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