What is the Statute of Limitations and How Long Do I Have to File My Case?
–By Les Brock–
The statute of limitations is a legal time limit within which a person must bring a legal action. The statute of limitations is a crucial component of the legal system in Virginia. It sets a time limit within which legal actions must be brought, providing finality and certainty to legal disputes. Once the time limit has passed, a person may no longer bring a legal action, regardless of the strength of their claim. This allows individuals and businesses to plan and make decisions with certainty, knowing that they will not face legal action for past incidents forever. Additionally, the statute of limitations helps ensure that evidence and witness testimony are still available and reliable. Over time, memories fade and evidence may be lost or destroyed. By setting a time limit for legal action, the statute of limitations helps to ensure that legal disputes are resolved while evidence and testimony are still fresh.
In Virginia, different types of claims have different statutes of limitations.
Personal injury – Two (2) years from the date of accident.
Property damage – Five (5) years from the date of accident.
Fraud – Two (2) years from when the fraud is discovered or should have been discovered.
Medical malpractice – Two (2) years from the injury, or one (1) year from when a foreign object is discovered or should have been discovered.
Wrongful death – Two (2) years from the death of the injured person.
Breach of written contract (signed) – Five (5) years from the breach.
Breach of oral contract (or unsigned written contract) – Three (3) years from the breach.
Defamation, libel or slander – One (1) year.
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