If You've Been Injured, the Clock is Ticking on Your Claim


Bob was injured in a car accident three years ago. Does he still have time to file a claim to recover for his injuries? How about the damages to his car?

Sally went to the doctor who told her that a mass was not malignant. Three years later, another doctor identified the same mass as cancer. Can Sally file a medical malpractice claim, or has time run out?

Susan had a C-Section, but didn’t find out about the surgical instrument that was left inside her body until three years after the surgery. Since then, another two years has passed. Does she still have the ability to file a claim?

In Virginia, the statute of limitations to file a claim for personal injury and property damage claims is found in Virginia Ann Code § 8.01-243. Here’s a brief rundown.

Personal Injury

Every action to recover for personal injury (either in a car accident, due to negligence of a property owner, or medical malpractice) must be filed within two years of date the cause of action accrues. That means if you were injured in a car accident on March 31, 2019, the time runs out on March 31, 2021 for you to file your claim.

Medical Malpractice Exceptions

There are a few exceptions for medical malpractice claims:

1. If a foreign object was left in your body, you have one year from the time the object was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered. So, even if it’s been more than two years since the surgery, you still have one year to file the claim from the time the foreign object is or should have been discovered.

2. If fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation prevented you from discovering the injury within the two-year time limit, you have an additional year from the time the injury was discovered or should have been discovered to file a claim.

3. If there was a negligent failure to diagnose cancer and certain other types of a malignancies, you have one year from the time the accurate diagnosis was made to file the claim. This rule only applies to diagnoses made after July 1, 2008, however.

Even these exceptions have a limit, however. A claim brought under these scenarios must be brought within ten years from the date the cause of action accrues.

Sexual Abuse Exceptions

Claims brought for injuries caused by sexual abuse to a minor or to a person under a disability have a twenty (20) year statute of limitations.

Property Damage

Claims for damage against property must be brought within five years from the date the cause of action accrues.

So, based on the statute, Bob can file for the damages to his car, but not for his personal injuries. Sally has one year from the time the second doctor diagnosed the mass as cancer to file her claim. And, Susan is a year too late to file her claim.

If you think you have a claim for personal injury or property damage, the clock is ticking. Shoot Grant Reynolds an email at Grant@ReynoldsLawGroup.net or give us a call at 757-219-2500 if you think you still have a claim.