Virginia residents who’re involved with an insurance claim should understand what laws could affect their case. There are some major personal injury laws in Virginia, and it’s important to understand these laws and how they can affect an insurance claim.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Time Limits
Every state has what are called “statute of limitations”. These limitations govern how long you have to file a lawsuit. In Virginia, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years. The time clock for the limitations starts ticking after the date of the accident. It’s crucial for you to get your lawsuit filed before the two year timeframe is up. If you don’t make the deadline, your case does not have a good chance of being considered by the court.
Personal Injury Claims against the Virginia Government
If you’re trying to file a lawsuit against a Virginia government entity, there are special procedures that apply. Before you even file your lawsuit, you’re required to notify the government. With the help of an attorney, a formal notice can be submitted to the government, which should be in writing.
The basic details of the accident should be recorded, such as the location and date where the injury occurred. If the insurance claim is against a town or city inside of Virginia, then you’ll need to send your formal notice within six months from the date the accident occurred.
When the claim is against the Virginia transportation district or state government, the formal notice must be sent within one year from the date the accident occurred. Once the government is able to respond, it will try to settle or accept the claim. If the government refuses the claim, you have the ability to dispute the refusal in court.
Virginia Injury Cases and Damage Caps
The majority of standard personal injury cases that occur in Virginia have no damage caps. Put simply, most cases have no limits on the non-economic and economic damages that a person can seek compensation for.
However, there are two important exceptions to this rule. For damages that involve medical malpractice, the cap is $2,000,000. The cap for punitive damages is $350,000.
The majority of personal injury cases don’t actually involve punitive damages because proof of malicious conduct or serious recklessness is needed.
Virginia’s Shared Fault Rule
When pursuing an insurance claim in Virginia, it’s important to understand that Virginia is actually one of only a few states that use a law for contributory negligence. However, this is only the case if the injured individual shares some amount of the blame for the accident they were injured in.
There are a lot of states that have something called a comparative negligence law. This law means damage awards are adjusted to take into consideration the amount of fault held by the plaintiff. In Virginia, the contributory negligence law applies.
Unfortunately, this can be bad for the plaintiff; even his or her fault is only a small 10 percent. In fact, a fault percentage of even 1 percent can be very bad. This fault percentage prevents the plaintiff from collecting any compensation from all of the parties deemed to be at fault.
However, this shouldn’t stop you from trying to pursue a claim. You need to consider all of the facts surrounding your case and go from there. We have the experience to tell you how this harsh law could affect your case.
Dog or Animal Injury and Liability
In Virginia, there isn’t any specific type of statute that governs the personal injury liability for cases involving dog bites.
To put it simply, the dog owner is held responsible for all injuries caused by his or her dog. The injured individual must prove that the animal should’ve known that the animal posed a danger. In Virginia, it’s actually called the one bite rule.
How we can help you
Personal injury laws can vary from state to state. The Commonwealth of Virginia has specific guidelines and regulations for personal injury cases and cover a wide variety of topics.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been hurt in an accident you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.