Legal Question in Personal Injury in Virginia


Jan 2011, My grandfather tripped in a restaurant and broke his hip. He passed away from complications due to the hip surgery July 2012. We did not move forward with a personal Injury court case due to all the emotional issues, home care needed along with our daily occupation. Can we still move forward with a lawsuit against the restaurant and there insurance company? Thank You in advance for your time.


Asked on 11/26/14, 11:26 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Stephen B. Pershing Stephen B. Pershing, Esq.

Hello there--alas, the take I have for you on this isn't good. It's a matter of the statute of limitations, meaning the time that Va. law gives us to sue.

You may have two injuries here: the hip fracture and the post-surgical complications that took your grandfather's life. The first one first: A slip-fall is a personal injury claim. Va. law gives us two years to sue on those, so we ran out of time in Jan. 2013 if the date we count from is the date of the slip-fall. If we want to say the complications from the hip surgery were the real injury, a pretty attenuated claim that probably wouldn't stand up in court (at least not against the restaurant), we still have only until July 2014 at the latest.

Same with a medical malpractice claim, which also has a two-year limitations period, with one or two narrow exceptions not applicable here (for instance there's one for late discovery of cancer). We would have had to bring suit, at the latest, by July 2014, two years after the date of death. The irony is that had this happened in Maryland, whether the tort was the slip-fall or the post-surgical complications, we'd have had another year.

I'm sorry I couldn't be the bearer of better news. It may be small comfort, but you're not alone. Lots of people with claim that might have had merit end up not filing them for compelling reasons like yours. Good luck to you and your family, and if I can ever be of help, just let me know at [email protected] --Steve Pershing.

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Answered on 11/26/14, 11:50 am

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