At Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law in Morgantown, one of the questions we hear most often is, “How long do I have to file a lawsuit for my personal injury?”
What is the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim in West Virginia?
The statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim in West Virginia is two years.
West Virginia Law Restricts the Time You Have to File a Claim for Personal Damage and Injury:
“Every personal action for which no limitation is otherwise prescribed shall be brought: (a) Within two years next after the right to bring the same shall have accrued, if it be for damage to property; (b) within two years next after the right to bring the same shall have accrued if it be for damages for personal injuries; and (c) within one year next after the right to bring the same shall have accrued if it be for any other matter of such nature that, in case a party die, it could not have been brought at common law by or against his personal representative.” – W. Va Code § 55 – 2 – 12 (2017)
Unless a legislative exception applies, this time limitation is strictly enforced. In some situations, the statute of limitations may be as brief as 180 days. Be aware that the specific facts of each case have a bearing on the exact application of how the personal injury statute of limitations is applied. Claims involving medical malpractice and wrongful death are addressed under a different statute of limitations than that referenced here.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
Under West Virginia law, the statute of limitations refers to the time period within which an initial Notice of Claim must be filed. If you fail to indicate your intent to pursue a civil legal remedy for your injuries/losses within this period, your right to pursue compensation is forever forfeit.
When Does “Time Start Ticking” On the Statute of Limitations?
In most cases, the statute of limitations begins to be calculated on the date the injury (cause of action) accrues (occurs). If the injury was not immediately apparent, the time is calculated from when the injured person knew (or should have known) that he or she was injured, via the Discovery Rule.
What Exceptions Apply to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits?
There are a few possible exceptions to the time limitations placed on filing an initial personal injury claim:
1. Minors – If the injury involves a child, the statute of limitations typically does not begin to be calculated until the date the individual turns 18 years of age.
2. Impairment – If the injury involves a person who was disabled at the time of the accident (or who was caused to become disabled as a result of the accident), an exception may be granted in some cases.
3. Military Service – If the injury involves a person whose commitment to the United States military required them to be out of state, an exception may be granted in some cases.
4. Criminal Cases – If the injury was caused by an at-fault party who is simultaneously facing criminal charges, an exception may be granted in some cases.
Exceptions are rarely granted. Even if you believe your case meets the criteria for an exception you should NOT assume the exception will be approved.
If I Have 2 Years, Why Should I Contact an Attorney Immediately?
All laws and legislation are subject to continual review and revision. Although the statute of limitations was two years at the time of this writing, it is possible that the legislation governing this area may have changed by the time this information reaches you.
The more time elapses between the incident and the time the claim is filed, the less likely it is to be successful. Evidence can be lost, witnesses and documentation can become harder to locate, memories may become less reliable, and the case in general can be more difficult to prove.
Preserve Your Right to Secure Maximum Financial Compensation for Your Injuries
If you have suffered serious personal injuries as a result of the negligent or wrongful actions of another, you must act fast. Determining responsibility and legal liability in personal injury cases can be quite complex. To preserve your right to secure just compensation, it is essential to hire an attorney with the skill and knowledge to provide effective legal representation for your claim as soon as possible.
Why Choose Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law?
Our Lawyers Fight for Every Penny You Deserve
At Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law in Morgantown, our experienced personal injury lawyers take action immediately to preserve evidence for your case. We apply our extensive knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations for our clients’ benefit. In addition, our clients’ cases are prepared with full access to the vast resources of our firm, including professional accident re-constructionists, medical professionals, mechanical engineers, and other experts. At Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law, we determine the precise cause of the accident, identify all responsible parties, and aggressively pursue the maximum financial compensation allowed by law from all at-fault parties. Our firm knows exactly what your case is worth – and we will fight to get every penny you deserve.
Contact Angotti & Straface Attorneys at Law for a free initial consultation: (304) 292-4381.
Too injured to come to our office in Morgantown? We will come to you.