1.14.2022

When to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Virginia

Written by: Coletrane & Messersmith

Getting Compensation for Your Losses After an Auto Accident

No one expects to be involved in a car accident on their way to work or while picking up the kids from school, but the truth is that thousands of wrecks happen every day. While some car crashes are minor and do not require a lawsuit, any resulting in significant property damage, personal injury, or death should be reviewed by an attorney.

At Coletrane & Messersmith, we offer personalized representation for individuals who have been hurt in auto accidents. Our award-winning legal team has recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for families throughout Virginia and will not rest until you receive the compensation you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact our office at (757) 223-4455 to book a free consultation. 

Your Rights and Responsibilities After an Auto Accident

If you are involved in a car accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for your losses against a negligent party or at-fault driver. Virginia law requires that you immediately report to law enforcement any accident resulting in injury or death. However, you should report any serious accident to the appropriate authorities.

You also have the right to an attorney. Studies show that accident victims who are represented by legal counsel obtain larger settlements than those that try to go it alone. Consulting with an attorney immediately after the collision can help you understand your legal options and determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Cases

Once you decide to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, it is important to note that you only have a limited amount of time to file a claim for damages. Virginia requires that you file a lawsuit within two (2) years of the date of the car accident. 


Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute could result in your case being denied and bar your right to recovery. While two years may seem like a long time, it can move quickly. If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one in an auto accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to recovery.

Virginia Insurance Requirements

All drivers must carry liability insurance (or pay an Uninsured Motor Vehicle fee), which covers injuries and property damages to other people. Virginia’s insurance policy minimum limits have recently increased for policies effective January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2024.

Liability insurance coverage requirements for policies effective Jan 1:

  • $30,000 bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $20,000 property damage per accident

For policies effective before January 1, 2022, the insurance requirement is $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $20,000 property damage. The insurance requirements are set to increase again for policies effective on or after January 1, 2025.

*The uninsured motor vehicle fee paid to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is not insurance and does not provide any coverage in the event of an accident. It only allows you to drive a vehicle that is uninsured at your own risk.

Average Settlements in Virginia

One of the most common questions asked is, “how much a car accident claim is worth?” Unfortunately, putting an exact value on a case can be difficult. 

Every case is unique and differs depending on the situation.  While there is no average auto accident settlement, several factors are taken into consideration when determining damages.

Consideration for damages in a car accident case may include:

  • The extent of your injuries;
  • Whether someone was killed;
  • Your contributory negligence (which may result in your claim being denied);
  • Vehicle repairs;
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings; and 
  • Pain and suffering.

The best way to determine how much your case is worth is by consulting an experienced attorney. A lawyer can help maximize your damages, ensuring that you receive the recovery you deserve.

How to Find the Right Attorney

Hiring an attorney is a critical but often overwhelming task after an accident. It is essential to research and find an attorney you trust. 

The right attorney will have:

  • Proven case results
  • Extensive experience
  • Personalized service
  • A free, no-obligation consultation

An attorney can help you navigate the legal process after an accident and will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Our Office Today!

Were you or a loved one injured in a Virginia car accident? You don’t need to suffer on your own. Contact our office today at (757) 223-4455 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Injured? Get Help, Fast.

If you have been injured contact our office for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call (757) 223-4455 to discuss your legal options. Cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no fees unless we win.

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