Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Virginia Personal Injury Law
Virginia personal injury law allows you to pursue damages for injuries caused from negligence as well as intentional harms. All injury claims are unique and depend on a number of factors, including the state where the injury occurred. If you were injured in Richmond, Charlottesville, Arlington, or anywhere in Virginia, it is important to understand your rights and how to find an attorney experienced in Virginia personal injury law.
Virginia Statute of Limitations
The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit from the time of your injuries depends on the Virginia statute of limitations. Once the statute runs out, you may no longer bring a lawsuit unless your attorney determines you qualify for an exception to this rule.
This time period is determined by the type of claim you are bringing such as:
- Two years for physical injuries
- Five years for property damage
- Two years for fraud
- Two years for medical malpractice
- Two years for wrongful death
Negligence Claims in Virginia
Virginia law creates a duty for people and businesses to act reasonably when interacting with others. Negligence claims arise when someone breaches this duty by acting unreasonably and causes you to suffer injuries and damages as a result.
Virginia handles negligence claims differently than most states because it uses the pure contributory negligence approach. Under this approach, the person you are bringing your claim against must be 100% at fault for your injuries and you cannot receive compensation if your actions contribute to your injuries at all.
Car Accidents in Virginia
Virginia law follows the traditional fault-based system for injuries from car accidents, allowing you to hold the person who was at fault for the accident liable for any harm caused. This allows you to pursue compensation from the insurance company of the person who hit you, but this only covers up to the policy limit.
If your damages are more extensive than their policy will cover, you may need to file a claim with your own insurance policy so the company can pursue a subrogation claim against the insurance company of the at-fault driver or retain an attorney and file a civil lawsuit to recover damages.
Premises Liability in Virginia
If you are injured on the property of another person or business, then you may have a premises liability claim. These claims include slip-and-falls, dog bites, along with other dangerous hazards.
Virginia law imposes a duty on property owners to take reasonable care of the premises along with inspecting for hazards and performing maintenance. This duty may be heightened based on the use of the premises, your relationship with the property owner and reason for being there, along with the foreseeable risks on the property and how much it costs to fix them.
Products Liability in Virginia
Virginia handles products liability cases differently than most states. In product liability cases, the issue deals with injuries from defective products or faulty warning labels. These claims allow you to bring a claim against any company in the chain of manufacturing for a product to receive injuries from the product they helped make. Products liability claims cover injuries from a wide variety of goods such as electronics, household goods, pharmaceuticals, and children’s toys.
Most states impose strict liability for these injuries, which does not require proving fault to recover. However Virginia law does not recognize strict liability for these claims, which heightens the burden of proof and requires more legal work to receive compensation for damages.
Virginia Laws Controlling Damages
Depending on your injuries and who you claim is against, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation for:
- Economic damages like medical expenses, property damage, cost of repairs, lost wages, or other monetary losses
- Non-economic damages like pain and suffering, emotional distress, physical impairment or disfigurement, or loss of consortium
- Punitive damages in cases involving malicious intent or willful and wanton negligence
Typically there are no damage caps for economic and non-economic damages, however there are a few exceptions.
Generally, the limit for punitive damages is $350,000 in Virginia for all injury claims. The damage cap for medical malpractice claims is over two million dollars, and continues to increase by $50,000 every year.
What Does it Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
For serious physical injuries and substantial financial damages, hiring an attorney from the start can alleviate stress during an already difficult time and ensure your claim is properly handled. Because Virginia handles some aspects of injury law quite differently than other states, this makes finding a competent and qualified personal injury attorney even more important.
A number of law offices offer a free initial consultation to review your case, identify damages you may be eligible for, and discuss their fees for representation. Most injury attorneys use contingency fee agreements, which specifies a percentage of your potential damages that are paid to them at the conclusion of your case to cover their fees and any costs associated with their representation. This allows your attorney to get to work as soon as possible without having to charge you a large retainer fee at the start of your case.
Virginia small claims courts only handle claims up to $1,000, which is relatively low and even damages for minor injury cases may exceed this limit. As a result, you may end up needing to file a civil lawsuit and hiring an attorney to help you navigate the court system.