If you suffered an injury in an accident caused by another motorist, you may decide to seek compensation from his or her insurance company to cover damages such as medical bills and lost wages. Often, however, the insurance company’s settlement offer does not begin to meet the costs associated with a serious auto accident injury.

You may need to act quickly after this type of injury to remain eligible for compensation under Virginia’s personal injury statute of limitations.

Time limits for claims and lawsuits

Depending on the insurance company’s policy, you must file a claim about an auto accident within days to weeks after the incident. Most insurers consider this timeframe reasonable.

The legal statute of limitations for a lawsuit associated with auto accident injuries is two years from the accident date. Claims filed after this deadline may receive dismissal. However, for property damage that stems from an auto accident, you have five years from the incident date to sue the responsible party.

The contributory negligence rule

In Virginia, if the plaintiff has any fault for the auto accident, he or she cannot recover any amount of money from the defendant even if the other party had primary fault. This contrasts with the laws in many other states, which allow any person who has partial fault to collect partial legal compensation. This rule also affects the amount of compensation the other party’s insurer may offer to cover your injuries.

Police reporting requirements

Under Virginia state law, you must report an accident to law enforcement whenever property damage, injury or death resulted from the crash. You could receive criminal penalties for failing to do so within a reasonable amount of time.

When you or a loved one suffers auto accident injuries, it is important to seek medical help right away. Gather all pertinent documentation so that you can build a case if another party was responsible for the crash. You should also file a police report and ask witnesses to provide a written testimony of the incident.