There are two elements key to winning personal injury cases in Virginia. The first is proving that your injury was caused through the "negligence" of another person, and that you suffered "damages" due to that person's negligence.
A common case is a car accident. If you were driving in control of your vehicle within the statutes of the law, and you were hit by someone who isn't, the accident occurred because of that person's negligence (texting while driving, drunk driving, distracted driving) and you were hurt and have sustained "damages."
How Long Do You Have To File Your Suit?
Generally, Virginia places a two-year statute of limitations on a personal injury suit. Your two-year window would begin from the date you incurred your injuries. Not filing suit within the time frame means that you could lose your claim to damages forever.
Is There A Limit On "Damages" That I Can Earn?
While some states may "cap" or limit the amount of damages that you can recover from your suit, Virginia has no cap on standard personal injury cases. This means that there's no limit on the amount of damages (both economic and non-economic damages) that you can receive.
Two key exceptions to the "no cap" system include medical malpractice cases, which are capped at $2 million. Punitive damages are capped at $350,000. Generally, you won't have to be concerned with punitive damages, as the proof required to sue for such damages far exceeds the proof needed for standard negligence. Reckless or malicious negligence is known as "Gross Negligence".
What's The Risk In Filing A Personal Injury Suit?
The Virginia law still has the concept "contributory negligence" within its statutes. This means that if the court finds you at fault in any way, even for a minor portion, your claim can be denied. On the other hand, most states simply use "comparative negligence" laws, which means that the damages that you're awarded will be adjusted based on your percentage of the fault.
But because Virginia relies on the contributory negligence laws, the implication is that even if you're considered only a minor at-fault party, such as a fault of 10% or 1%, you still will not be able to recover anything from the other at-fault parties. While this shouldn't preclude you from pursuing your case, it's just another factor to consider when filing your suit.
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