A statute of limitations is a law in each state that motivates plaintiffs to come forward and submit their claims within a reasonable time. Without a statute of limitations, a plaintiff could potentially wait until 50 years later to bring a claim. Every state has different statutes of limitations. It is important to know and obey your statute of limitations as the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit; otherwise, the county courts will most likely bar you from recovery. Speak to an injury attorney in West Virginia to learn your exact deadline based on your type of case and unique situation.

Statutes of Limitations Based on Case Type

Criminal and civil statutes of limitations are not the same. Each state has different deadlines for both case types. The statute of limitations on a criminal case determines how long the prosecution has to bring criminal charges against the alleged perpetrator. A civil statute of limitations sets a time limit on how long the injured victim has to file a claim to damages. In West Virginia, civil statutes of limitations change according to case type.

  • Personal injury. Two years from the date the injury occurred.
  • Wrongful death. Two years from the date of the loved one’s death.
  • Property damage only. Two years from the date of the accident.
  • Breach of contract. Two years from the breach, fraud or legal malpractice.
  • Slander or libel. One year from the date of the last noted incident.
  • Medical malpractice. Two years from the date you discovered or reasonably should have discovered the malpractice.
  • Workers’ compensation. Three years from the date of diagnosis or last exposure to a hazardous element.

A medical malpractice lawsuit has an additional deadline in West Virginia: a statute of repose. This statute of repose is 10 years from the date of the injury. This is a final deadline, after which no plaintiff may bring a medical malpractice action – even if he or she did not discover the injury until 10 years later. The only client not subject to the 10-year maximum is one who was under age 10 at the time of injury. A minor client under age 10 will have 2 years from the date of his or her 12th birthday to file. The statute of repose limitation does not apply to these cases.

Exceptions to the Rule

The courts in West Virginia grant limited exceptions to the general rules when it comes to case deadlines. In most scenarios, if you miss your statute of limitations, you give up any right to demand compensation. How a deadline might apply to a case, however, can change depending on the circumstances. Some plaintiffs qualify for exceptions to the typical statutes of limitations.

  • Discovery rule. Almost all cases come with a discovery rule exception – a deadline extension for plaintiffs who do not discover their injuries or losses until after the date of the accident. In these cases, the clock does not start counting down until the date of discovery.
  • Special rule for minors. The statute of limitations during a personal injury claim involving an injured minor is two years from his or her 18th birthday rather than the date of the accident, except in wrongful death and medical malpractice cases. If you have a wrongful death claim, speak to a wrongful death attorney in West Virginia to learn more about your legal options.
  • Tolled deadline for criminal cases. Most of the time, the civil courts will agree to toll (pause) the statute of limitations during an ongoing criminal case involving the same defendant. If you are bringing a claim against a criminal for physically assaulting you, for example, you might have two years from the date of his or her conviction to file.

Do not assume you qualify for an exception. They are rare. Contact a lawyer as soon as you can after an accident or injury to determine your deadline to file. Giving your lawyer enough time to preserve and collect evidence, build a strong case, and prepare your claim for trial can help you win a fair amount of damages. Act quickly if you believe you have grounds for a claim, before you miss your deadline.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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