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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 4. Limitations of Actions
6/22/2021

Chapter 4. Limitations of Actions.

Article 1. In General.

§ 8.01-228. Scope of limitations; "personal action" defined.

Every action for which a limitation period is prescribed by law must be commenced within the period prescribed in this chapter unless otherwise specifically provided in this Code. As used in this chapter, the term "personal action" shall include an action wherein a judgment for money is sought, whether for damages to person or property.

1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-229. Suspension or tolling of statute of limitations; effect of disabilities; effect of death; injunction; prevention of service by defendant; dismissal, nonsuit or abatement; devise for payment of debts; new promises; debts proved in creditors' suits.

A. Disabilities which toll the statute of limitations. -- Except as otherwise specifically provided in §§ 8.01-237, 8.01-241, 8.01-242, 8.01-243, 8.01-243.1 and other provisions of this Code,

1. If a person entitled to bring any action is at the time the cause of action accrues an infant, except if such infant has been emancipated pursuant to Article 15 (§ 16.1-331 et seq.) of Chapter 11 of Title 16.1, or incapacitated, such person may bring it within the prescribed limitation period after such disability is removed; or

2. After a cause of action accrues,

a. If an infant becomes entitled to bring such action, the time during which he is within the age of minority shall not be counted as any part of the period within which the action must be brought except as to any such period during which the infant has been judicially declared emancipated; or

b. If a person entitled to bring such action becomes incapacitated, the time during which he is incapacitated shall not be computed as any part of the period within which the action must be brought, except where a conservator, guardian or committee is appointed for such person in which case an action may be commenced by such conservator, committee or guardian before the expiration of the applicable period of limitation or within one year after his qualification as such, whichever occurs later.

For the purposes of subdivisions 1 and 2, a person shall be deemed incapacitated if he is so adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction, or if it shall otherwise appear to the court or jury determining the issue that such person is or was incapacitated within the prescribed limitation period.

3. If a convict is or becomes entitled to bring an action against his committee, the time during which he is incarcerated shall not be counted as any part of the period within which the action must be brought.

B. Effect of death of a party. -- The death of a person entitled to bring an action or of a person against whom an action may be brought shall toll the statute of limitations as follows:

1. Death of person entitled to bring a personal action. -- If a person entitled to bring a personal action dies with no such action pending before the expiration of the limitation period for commencement thereof, then an action may be commenced by the decedent's personal representative before the expiration of the limitation period including the limitation period as provided by subdivision E 3 or within one year after his qualification as personal representative, whichever occurs later.

2. Death of person against whom personal action may be brought.

a. If a person against whom a personal action may be brought dies before the commencement of such action and before the expiration of the limitation period for commencement thereof then a claim may be filed against the decedent's estate or an action may be commenced against the decedent's personal representative before the expiration of the applicable limitation period or within one year after the qualification of such personal representative, whichever occurs later.

b. If a person against whom a personal action may be brought dies before suit papers naming such person as defendant have been filed with the court, then such suit papers may be amended to substitute the decedent's personal representative as party defendant before the expiration of the applicable limitation period or within two years after the date such suit papers were filed with the court, whichever occurs later, and such suit papers shall be taken as properly filed.

3. Effect of death on actions for recovery of realty, or a proceeding for enforcement of certain liens relating to realty. -- Upon the death of any person in whose favor or against whom an action for recovery of realty, or a proceeding for enforcement of certain liens relating to realty, may be brought, such right of action shall accrue to or against his successors in interest as provided in Article 2 (§ 8.01-236 et seq.).

4. Accrual of a personal cause of action against the estate of any person subsequent to such person's death. -- If a personal cause of action against a decedent accrues subsequent to his death, an action may be brought against the decedent's personal representative or a claim thereon may be filed against the estate of such decedent before the expiration of the applicable limitation period or within two years after the qualification of the decedent's personal representative, whichever occurs later.

5. Accrual of a personal cause of action in favor of decedent. -- If a person dies before a personal cause of action which survives would have accrued to him, if he had continued to live, then an action may be commenced by such decedent's personal representative before the expiration of the applicable limitation period or within one year after the qualification of such personal representative, whichever occurs later.

6. Delayed qualification of personal representative. -- If there is an interval of more than two years between the death of any person in whose favor or against whom a cause of action has accrued or shall subsequently accrue and the qualification of such person's personal representative, such personal representative shall, for the purposes of this chapter, be deemed to have qualified on the last day of such two-year period.

C. Suspension during injunctions. -- When the commencement of any action is stayed by injunction, the time of the continuance of the injunction shall not be computed as any part of the period within which the action must be brought.

D. Obstruction of filing by defendant. -- When the filing of an action is obstructed by a defendant's (i) filing a petition in bankruptcy or filing a petition for an extension or arrangement under the United States Bankruptcy Act or (ii) using any other direct or indirect means to obstruct the filing of an action, then the time that such obstruction has continued shall not be counted as any part of the period within which the action must be brought.

E. Dismissal, abatement, or nonsuit.

1. Except as provided in subdivision 3, if any action is commenced within the prescribed limitation period and for any cause abates or is dismissed without determining the merits, the time such action is pending shall not be computed as part of the period within which such action may be brought, and another action may be brought within the remaining period.

2. If a judgment or decree is rendered for the plaintiff in any action commenced within the prescribed limitation period and such judgment or decree is arrested or reversed upon a ground which does not preclude a new action for the same cause, or if there is occasion to bring a new action by reason of the loss or destruction of any of the papers or records in a former action which was commenced within the prescribed limitation period, then a new action may be brought within one year after such arrest or reversal or such loss or destruction, but not after.

3. If a plaintiff suffers a voluntary nonsuit as prescribed in § 8.01-380, the statute of limitations with respect to such action shall be tolled by the commencement of the nonsuited action, regardless of whether the statute of limitations is statutory or contractual, and the plaintiff may recommence his action within six months from the date of the order entered by the court, or within the original period of limitation, or within the limitation period as provided by subdivision B 1, whichever period is longer. This tolling provision shall apply irrespective of whether the action is originally filed in a federal or a state court and recommenced in any other court, and shall apply to all actions irrespective of whether they arise under common law or statute.

F. Effect of devise for payment of debts. -- No provision in the will of any testator devising his real estate, or any part thereof, subject to the payment of his debts or charging the same therewith, or containing any other provision for the payment of debts, shall prevent this chapter from operating against such debts, unless it plainly appears to be the testator's intent that it shall not so operate.

G. Effect of new promise in writing.

1. If any person against whom a right of action has accrued on any contract, other than a judgment or recognizance, promises, by writing signed by him or his agent, payment of money on such contract, the person to whom the right has accrued may maintain an action for the money so promised, within such number of years after such promise as it might be maintained if such promise were the original cause of action. An acknowledgment in writing, from which a promise of payment may be implied, shall be deemed to be such promise within the meaning of this subsection.

2. The plaintiff may sue on the new promise described in subdivision 1 or on the original cause of action, except that when the new promise is of such a nature as to merge the original cause of action then the action shall be only on the new promise.

H. Suspension of limitations in creditors' suits. -- When an action is commenced as a general creditors' action, or as a general lien creditors' action, or as an action to enforce a mechanics' lien, the running of the statute of limitations shall be suspended as to debts provable in such action from the commencement of the action, provided they are brought in before the commissioner in chancery under the first reference for an account of debts; but as to claims not so brought in the statute shall continue to run, without interruption by reason either of the commencement of the action or of the order for an account, until a later order for an account, under which they do come in, or they are asserted by petition or independent action.

In actions not instituted originally either as general creditors' actions, or as general lien creditors' actions, but which become such by subsequent proceedings, the statute of limitations shall be suspended by an order of reference for an account of debts or of liens only as to those creditors who come in and prove their claims under the order. As to creditors who come in afterwards by petition or under an order of recommittal, or a later order of reference for an account, the statute shall continue to run without interruption by reason of previous orders until filing of the petition, or until the date of the reference under which they prove their claims, as the case may be.

I. When an action is commenced within a period of 30 days prior to the expiration of the limitation period for commencement thereof and the defending party or parties desire to institute an action as third-party plaintiff against one or more persons not party to the original action, the running of the period of limitation against such action shall be suspended as to such new party for a period of 60 days from the expiration of the applicable limitation period.

J. If any award of compensation by the Workers' Compensation Commission pursuant to Chapter 5 (§ 65.2-500 et seq.) of Title 65.2 is subsequently found void ab initio, other than an award voided for fraudulent procurement of the award by the claimant, the statute of limitations applicable to any civil action upon the same claim or cause of action in a court of this Commonwealth shall be tolled for that period of time during which compensation payments were made.

K. Suspension of limitations during criminal proceedings. -- In any personal action for damages, if a criminal prosecution arising out of the same facts is commenced, the time such prosecution is pending shall not be computed as part of the period within which such a civil action may be brought. For purposes of this subsection, the time during which a prosecution is pending shall be calculated from the date of the issuance of a warrant, summons or capias, the return or filing of an indictment or information, or the defendant's first appearance in any court as an accused in such a prosecution, whichever date occurs first, until the date of the final judgment or order in the trial court, the date of the final disposition of any direct appeal in state court, or the date on which the time for noting an appeal has expired, whichever date occurs last. Thereafter, the civil action may be brought within the remaining period of the statute or within one year, whichever is longer.

If a criminal prosecution is commenced and a grand jury indictment is returned or a grand jury indictment is waived after the period within which a civil action arising out of the same set of facts may be brought, a civil action may be brought within one year of the date of the final judgment or order in the trial court, the date of the final disposition of any direct appeal in state court, or the date on which the time for noting an appeal has expired, whichever date occurs last, but no more than 10 years after the date of the crime or two years after the cause of action shall have accrued under § 8.01-249, whichever date occurs last.

Code 1950, §§ 8-8, 8-13, 8-15, 8-20, 8-21, 8-25, 8-26, 8-29 through 8-34; 1964, c. 219; 1966, c. 118; 1972, c. 825; 1977, c. 617; 1978, cc. 65, 767; 1983, cc. 404, 437; 1986, c. 506; 1987, cc. 294, 645; 1988, c. 711; 1989, c. 588; 1990, c. 280; 1991, cc. 693, 722; 1993, c. 844; 1997, c. 801; 2000, c. 531; 2001, cc. 773, 781; 2016, cc. 189, 268.

§ 8.01-230. Accrual of right of action.

In every action for which a limitation period is prescribed, the right of action shall be deemed to accrue and the prescribed limitation period shall begin to run from the date the injury is sustained in the case of injury to the person or damage to property, when the breach of contract occurs in actions ex contractu and not when the resulting damage is discovered, except where the relief sought is solely equitable or where otherwise provided under § 8.01-233, subsection C of § 8.01-245, §§ 8.01-249, 8.01-250 or other statute.

1977, c. 617; 1996, c. 328.

§ 8.01-231. Commonwealth not within statute of limitations.

No statute of limitations which shall not in express terms apply to the Commonwealth shall be deemed a bar to any proceeding by or on behalf of the same.

Code 1950, § 8-35; 1958, c. 221; 1977, c. 617; 1988, c. 544.

§ 8.01-232. Effect of promises not to plead statute.

A. Whenever the failure to enforce a promise, written or unwritten, not to plead the statute of limitations would operate as a fraud on the promisee, the promisor shall be estopped to plead the statute. In all other cases, an unwritten promise not to plead the statute shall be void, and a written promise not to plead such statute shall be valid when (i) it is made to avoid or defer litigation pending settlement of any case, (ii) it is not made contemporaneously with any other contract, and (iii) it is made for an additional term not longer than the applicable limitations period. No provision of this subsection shall operate contrary to subsections B and C.

B. No acknowledgment or promise by any personal representative of a decedent shall charge the estate of the decedent, revive a cause of action otherwise barred, or relieve the personal representative of his duty to defend under § 64.2-1415 in any case in which but for such acknowledgment or promise, the decedent's estate could have been protected under a statute of limitations.

C. No acknowledgment or promise by one of two or more joint contractors shall charge any of such contractors in any case in which but for such acknowledgment another contractor would have been protected under a statute of limitations.

D. Subsections A and C shall not apply to, limit, or prohibit written promises to waive or not to plead the statute of limitations that are made in, or contemporaneously with, subcontracts of any tier that are related to contracts for construction, construction management, design-build, architecture, or engineering under Chapter 43 (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.) or 43.1 (§ 2.2-4378 et seq.) of Title 2.2; under the policies and procedures adopted by any county, city, or town or school board; under Title 23.1; or under authorizing provisions, policies, or procedures for procurement of such contracts by any public body exempted from the foregoing; however, such waiver or promise not to plead applies only to demands, claims, or actions asserted under such contracts by a public body. As used in this subsection, "subcontract" includes any contract or purchase order to supply labor, equipment, materials, or services to an entity awarded a contract with a public body or to any lower-tier entity performing work provided for in such a contract.

Code 1950, §§ 8-27, 8-28; 1977, c. 617; 2006, c. 278; 2020, cc. 496, 497.

§ 8.01-233. When action deemed brought on counterclaim or cross-claim; when statute of limitations tolled; defendant's consent required for dismissal.

A. A defendant who pleads a counterclaim or cross-claim shall be deemed to have brought an action at the time he files such pleading.

B. If the subject matter of the counterclaim or cross-claim arises out of the same transaction or occurrence upon which the plaintiff's claim is based, the statute of limitations with respect to such pleading shall be tolled by the commencement of the plaintiff's action.

Code 1950, § 8-244; 1954, c. 611; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-234. Repeal of limitation not to remove bar of statute.

If, after a right of action or remedy is barred by a statute of limitations, the statute be repealed, the bar of the statute as to such right or remedy shall not be deemed to be removed by such repeal.

Code 1950, § 8-36; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-235. Bar of expiration of limitation period raised only as affirmative defense in responsive pleading.

The objection that an action is not commenced within the limitation period prescribed by law can only be raised as an affirmative defense specifically set forth in a responsive pleading. No statutory limitation period shall have jurisdictional effects and the defense that the statutory limitation period has expired cannot be set up by demurrer. This section shall apply to all limitation periods, without regard to whether or not the statute prescribing such limitation period shall create a new right.

1977, c. 617.

Article 2. Limitations on Recovery of Realty and Enforcement of Certain Liens Relating to Realty.

§ 8.01-236. Limitation of entry on or action for land.

No person shall make an entry on, or bring an action to recover, any land unless within fifteen years next after the time at which the right to make such entry or bring such action shall have first accrued to such person or to some other person through whom he claims; provided that an action for unlawful entry or detainer under § 8.01-124 shall be brought within three years after such entry or detainer.

Code 1950, § 8-5; 1954, c. 604; 1977, c. 617; 1978, c. 471.

§ 8.01-237. Effect of disabilities upon right of entry on, or action for, land.

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection A of § 8.01-229, no disabilities or tacking of disabilities shall preserve to any person or his successors a right to make entry on or bring an action to recover land for more than twenty-five years after such right first accrued, although such person or persons shall have been disabled during the whole of such twenty-five years.

Code 1950, §§ 8-7, 8-8; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-238. To repeal grant.

A bill in equity to repeal, in whole or in part, any grant of land by the Commonwealth, shall be brought within ten years next after the date of such grant.

Code 1950, § 8-9; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-239. Ground rents.

No action shall be brought for the recovery of any ground rent reserved upon real estate after the expiration of ten years from the time such ground rent becomes due and payable.

Code 1950, § 8-10; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-240. Liens for water, sewer, or sidewalk assessments.

No suit shall be brought to enforce the lien of any water, sewer, or sidewalk assessment, heretofore or hereafter made, against lands which have been conveyed by the person owning them at the time of such assessment to a grantee for value unless the same be brought within ten years from the due recordation of the deed from such person to grantee and within twenty years from the due docketing of such assessment.

Code 1950, §§ 8-10.1, 8-10.2; 1958, c. 516; 1966, c. 434; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-241. Limitation of enforcement of deeds of trust, mortgages and liens for unpaid purchase money.

A. No deed of trust or mortgage heretofore or hereafter given to secure the payment of money, and no lien heretofore or hereafter reserved to secure the payment of unpaid purchase money, shall be enforced after 10 years from the time when the original obligation last maturing thereby secured shall have become due and payable according to its terms and without regard to any provision for the acceleration of such date; provided that the period of one year from the death of any party in interest shall be excluded from the computation of time.

B. Notwithstanding the limitations prescribed by subsection A, a deed of trust or mortgage given, and a lien reserved to secure the payment of money, for which the original obligation last maturing thereby secured became due and payable according to its terms between July 1, 1988, and July 1, 2000, without regard to any provision for the acceleration of the date such obligation became due and payable, shall not be enforced after July 1, 2010. However, the provisions of this subsection shall have no effect on the rights of a person who (i) acquired an interest in the real property securing such deed of trust or mortgage between July 1, 2008, and the date of enactment of this subsection and (ii) would otherwise have priority over or take free of such deed of trust or mortgage under the laws of the Commonwealth at that time.

C. The limitations prescribed by this section may be extended by the recordation of a certificate in the form provided in § 8.01-241.1 prior to the expiration of the limitation period prescribed herein in the clerk's office in which such lien is recorded and executed either by the party in whom the beneficial title to the property so encumbered is vested at the time of such recordation or by his duly authorized attorney-in-fact, or agent. Recordation of the certificate shall extend the limitations of the right to enforce the lien for 10 years from the date of the recordation of the certificate. The clerk of the court shall index the certificate in both names in the index of the deed book and give reference to the book and page in which the original writing is recorded. Unless the deed or deeds executed pursuant to the foreclosure of any mortgage or to the execution of or sale under any deed of trust is recorded in the county or city where the land is situated within one year after the time the right to enforce the mortgage or deed of trust shall have expired as hereinabove provided, such deed or deeds shall be void as to all purchasers for valuable consideration without notice and lien creditors who make any purchase of or acquire any lien on the land conveyed by any such deed prior to the time such deed is so recorded.

Code 1950, § 8-11; 1950, p. 19; 1977, c. 617; 1980, c. 499; 1994, c. 547; 1999, c. 788; 2008, c. 226; 2009, c. 163.

§ 8.01-241.1. Permissible form for certificate.

Any extension of the limitations of the right to enforce the lien of a deed of trust or mortgage shall conform substantially with the following form:

CERTIFICATE OF EXTENSION OF LIMITATION OF
RIGHT TO ENFORCE DEED OF TRUST OR MORTGAGE

Place of Record...........................................................…
Date of Deed of Trust/Mortgage...........................................…
Deed Book..............… Book Page....................................…
Name of Guarantor(s)......................................................…
Name of Trustee(s)........................................................…
Maker(s) of Note..........................................................…
Date of Note(s)...........................................................…

I/we, the beneficial title holder(s) of the property encumbered by the
above mentioned deed of trust/mortgage, do hereby certify that the lien of
the same is hereby extended 10 years from the date of my/our endorsement upon
this certificate.

...........................................................…

Beneficial Titleholder/Attorney-in-Fact/Agent
Commonwealth of Virginia
County/City of................…:

Subscribed, sworn to and acknowledged before me by

...........…, this … day of........, 20 …

My Commission expires:................…

Notary Public

1994, c. 547; 2008, c. 226.

§ 8.01-242. Same; when no maturity date is given; credit line deeds of trust.

No deed of trust or mortgage given to secure the payment of money, other than credit line deeds of trust described in § 55.1-318, and no lien reserved to secure the payment of unpaid purchase money, in which no date is fixed for the maturity of the debt secured by such deed of trust, mortgage, or lien, shall be enforced after twenty years from the date of the deed of trust, mortgage, or other lien; provided that the period of one year from the death of any party in interest shall be excluded from the computation of time, and provided further that the limitation may be extended by recordation of a certificate within the twenty-year period in the manner set forth in § 8.01-241. No credit line deed of trust described in § 55.1-318 in which no date is fixed for the maturity of the debt secured thereby shall be enforced after forty years from the date of the credit line deed of trust; provided that the period of one year from the death of any party in interest shall be excluded from the computation of time.

Code 1950, § 8-12; 1977, c. 617; 1994, c. 547; 1999, c. 788.

Article 3. Personal Actions Generally.

§ 8.01-243. Personal action for injury to person or property generally; extension in actions for malpractice against health care provider.

A. Unless otherwise provided in this section or by other statute, every action for personal injuries, whatever the theory of recovery, and every action for damages resulting from fraud, shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.

B. Every action for injury to property, including actions by a parent or guardian of an infant against a tort-feasor for expenses of curing or attempting to cure such infant from the result of a personal injury or loss of services of such infant, shall be brought within five years after the cause of action accrues. An infant's claim for medical expenses pursuant to subsection B of § 8.01-36 accruing on or after July 1, 2013, shall be governed by the applicable statute of limitations that applies to the infant's cause of action.

C. The two-year limitations period specified in subsection A shall be extended in actions for malpractice against a health care provider as follows:

1. In cases arising out of a foreign object having no therapeutic or diagnostic effect being left in a patient's body, for a period of one year from the date the object is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered;

2. In cases in which fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation prevented discovery of the injury within the two-year period, for one year from the date the injury is discovered or, by the exercise of due diligence, reasonably should have been discovered; and

3. In a claim for the negligent failure to diagnose a malignant tumor, cancer, or an intracranial, intraspinal, or spinal schwannoma, for a period of one year from the date the diagnosis of a malignant tumor, cancer, or an intracranial, intraspinal, or spinal schwannoma is communicated to the patient by a health care provider, provided that the health care provider's underlying act or omission was on or after July 1, 2008, in the case of a malignant tumor or cancer or on or after July 1, 2016, in the case of an intracranial, intraspinal, or spinal schwannoma. Claims under this section for the negligent failure to diagnose a malignant tumor or cancer, where the health care provider's underlying act or omission occurred prior to July 1, 2008, shall be governed by the statute of limitations that existed prior to July 1, 2008. Claims under this section for the negligent failure to diagnose an intracranial, intraspinal, or spinal schwannoma, where the health care provider's underlying act or omission occurred prior to July 1, 2016, shall be governed by the statute of limitations that existed prior to July 1, 2016.

However, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to extend the limitations period beyond 10 years from the date the cause of action accrues, except that the provisions of subdivision A 2 of § 8.01-229 shall apply to toll the statute of limitations in actions brought by or on behalf of a person under a disability.

D. Every action for injury to the person, whatever the theory of recovery, resulting from sexual abuse occurring during the infancy or incapacity of the person as set forth in subdivision 6 of § 8.01-249 shall be brought within 20 years after the cause of action accrues.

D1. For a cause of action accruing on or after July 1, 2020, every action for injury to the person, whatever the theory of recovery, resulting from sexual abuse, other than those actions specified in subsection D, shall be brought within 10 years after the cause of action accrues.

E. Every action for injury to property brought by the Commonwealth against a tort-feasor for expenses arising out of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle shall be brought within five years after the cause of action accrues.

Code 1950, § 8-24; 1954, c. 589; 1973, c. 385; 1977, c. 617; 1986, cc. 389, 454; 1987, cc. 294, 645, 679; 2008, c. 175; 2011, cc. 617, 641; 2013, cc. 551, 689; 2014, c. 586; 2016, c. 190; 2020, c. 1125.

§ 8.01-243.1. Actions for medical malpractice; minors.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-229 A and except as provided in subsection C of § 8.01-243, any cause of action accruing on or after July 1, 1987, on behalf of a person who was a minor at the time the cause of action accrued for personal injury or death against a health care provider pursuant to Chapter 21.1 (§ 8.01-581.1 et seq.) shall be commenced within two years of the date of the last act or omission giving rise to the cause of action except that if the minor was less than eight years of age at the time of the occurrence of the malpractice, he shall have until his tenth birthday to commence an action. Any minor who is ten years of age or older on or before July 1, 1987, shall have no less than two years from that date within which to commence such an action.

1987, cc. 294, 645.

§ 8.01-243.2. Limitations of actions by confined persons; exhaustion.

No person confined in a state or local correctional facility shall bring or have brought on his behalf any personal action relating to the conditions of his confinement until all available administrative remedies are exhausted. Such action shall be brought by or on behalf of such person within one year after cause of action accrues or within six months after all administrative remedies are exhausted, whichever occurs later.

1998, c. 596; 1999, c. 47.

§ 8.01-244. Actions for wrongful death; limitation.

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-229 B, if a person entitled to bring an action for personal injury dies as a result of such injury with no such action pending before the expiration of the limitations period set forth in § 8.01-243, then an action under § 8.01-50 may be commenced within the time limits specified in subsection B of this section.

B. Every action under § 8.01-50 shall be brought by the personal representative of the decedent within two years after the death of the injured person. If any such action is brought within such period of two years after such person's death and for any cause abates or is dismissed without determining the merits of such action, the time such action is pending shall not be counted as any part of such period of two years and another action may be brought within the remaining period of such two years as if such former action had not been instituted. However, if a plaintiff suffers a voluntary nonsuit pursuant to § 8.01-380, the nonsuit shall not be deemed an abatement nor a dismissal pursuant to this subsection, and the provisions of subdivision E 3 of § 8.01-229 shall apply to such a nonsuited action.

Code 1950, §§ 8-633, 8-634; 1958, c. 470; 1977, c. 617; 1991, c. 722; 2008, c. 175.

§ 8.01-245. Limitation on actions upon the bond of any fiduciaries or as to suits against fiduciaries themselves; accrual of cause of action where execution sustained.

A. No action shall be brought upon the bond of any fiduciary except within ten years next after the right to bring such action shall have first accrued.

B. When any fiduciary has settled an account under the provisions of Part A (§ 64.2-1200 et seq.) of Subtitle IV of Title 64.2, and whether or not he has given bond, a suit to surcharge or falsify such account, or to hold such fiduciary or his sureties liable for any balance stated in such account, to be in his hands, shall be brought within ten years after the account has been confirmed.

C. In actions upon the bond of any personal representative of a decedent or fiduciary of a person under a disability against whom an execution has been obtained or where a court acting upon the account of such representative or committee shall order payment or delivery of estate in the hands of such committee and representative, the cause of action shall be deemed to accrue from the return day of such execution or from the time of the right to require payment or delivery upon such order, whichever shall happen first.

Code 1950, §§ 8-13, 8-15, 8-16; 1964, c. 219; 1966, c. 118; 1972, c. 825; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-246. Personal actions based on contracts.

Subject to the provisions of § 8.01-243 regarding injuries to person and property and of § 8.01-245 regarding the application of limitations to fiduciaries, and their bonds, actions founded upon a contract, other than actions on a judgment or decree, shall be brought within the following number of years next after the cause of action shall have accrued:

1. In actions or upon a recognizance, except recognizance of bail in a civil suit, within 10 years; and in actions or motions upon a recognizance of bail in a civil suit, within three years, omitting from the computation of such three years such time as the right to sue out such execution shall have been suspended by injunction, supersedeas or other process;

2. In actions on any contract that is not otherwise specified and that is in writing and signed by the party to be charged thereby, or by his agent, within five years whether such writing be under seal or not;

3. In actions by a partner against another for settlement of the partnership account or in actions upon accounts concerning the trade of merchandise between merchant and merchant, their factors, or servants, within five years from the cessation of the dealings in which they are interested together;

4. In actions upon (i) any contract that is not otherwise specified and that is in writing and not signed by the party to be charged, or by his agent, or (ii) any unwritten contract, express or implied, within three years.

Provided that as to any action to which § 8.2-725 of the Uniform Commercial Code is applicable, that section shall be controlling except that in products liability actions for injury to person and for injury to property, other than the property subject to contract, the limitation prescribed in § 8.01-243 shall apply.

Code 1950, §§ 8-13, 8-17, 8-23; 1964, c. 219; 1966, c. 118; 1977, c. 617; 2019, c. 241.

§ 8.01-247. When action on contract governed by the law of another state or country barred in Virginia.

No action shall be maintained on any contract which is governed by the law of another state or country if the right of action thereon is barred either by the laws of such state or country or of this Commonwealth.

Code 1950, § 8-23; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-247.1. Limitation on action for defamation, etc.

Every action for injury resulting from libel, slander, insulting words, or defamation shall be brought within one year after the cause of action accrues.

If a publisher of statements actionable under this section publishes anonymously or under a false identity on the Internet, an action may be filed under this section and the statute of limitations shall be tolled until the identity of the publisher is discovered or, by the exercise of due diligence, reasonably should have been discovered.

1995, c. 9; 2015, c. 128.

§ 8.01-248. Personal actions for which no other limitation is specified.

Every personal action accruing on or after July 1, 1995, for which no limitation is otherwise prescribed, shall be brought within two years after the right to bring such action has accrued.

Code 1950, § 8-24; 1954, c. 589; 1973, c. 385; 1977, c. 617; 1995, c. 9.

§ 8.01-249. When cause of action shall be deemed to accrue in certain personal actions.

The cause of action in the actions herein listed shall be deemed to accrue as follows:

1. In actions for fraud or mistake, in actions for violations of the Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.) based upon any misrepresentation, deception, or fraud, and in actions for rescission of contract for undue influence, when such fraud, mistake, misrepresentation, deception, or undue influence is discovered or by the exercise of due diligence reasonably should have been discovered;

2. In actions or other proceedings for money on deposit with a bank or any person or corporation doing a banking business, when a request in writing be made therefor by check, order, or otherwise;

3. In actions for malicious prosecution or abuse of process, when the relevant criminal or civil action is terminated;

4. In actions for injury to the person resulting from exposure to asbestos or products containing asbestos, when a diagnosis of asbestosis, interstitial fibrosis, mesothelioma, or other disabling asbestos-related injury or disease is first communicated to the person or his agent by a physician. However, no such action may be brought more than two years after the death of such person. The diagnosis of a nonmalignant asbestos-related injury or disease shall not accrue an action based upon the subsequent diagnosis of a malignant asbestos-related injury or disease, and such subsequent diagnosis shall constitute a separate injury that shall accrue an action when such diagnosis is first communicated to the person or his agent by a physician;

5. In actions for contribution or for indemnification, when the contributee or the indemnitee has paid or discharged the obligation. A third-party claim permitted by subsection A of § 8.01-281 and the Rules of Court may be asserted before such cause of action is deemed to accrue hereunder;

6. In actions for injury to the person, whatever the theory of recovery, resulting from sexual abuse occurring during the infancy or incapacity of the person, upon the later of the removal of the disability of infancy or incapacity as provided in § 8.01-229 or when the fact of the injury and its causal connection to the sexual abuse is first communicated to the person by a licensed physician, psychologist, or clinical psychologist. As used in this subdivision, "sexual abuse" means sexual abuse as defined in subdivision 6 of § 18.2-67.10 and acts constituting rape, sodomy, object sexual penetration or sexual battery as defined in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

7. In products liability actions against parties other than health care providers as defined in § 8.01-581.1 for injury to the person resulting from or arising as a result of the implantation of any prosthetic device for breast augmentation or reconstruction, when the fact of the injury and its causal connection to the implantation is first communicated to the person by a physician;

8. In actions on an open account, from the later of the last payment or last charge for goods or services rendered on the account;

9. In products liability actions against parties other than health care providers as defined in § 8.01-581.1 for injury to the person resulting from or arising as a result of the implantation of any medical device, when the person knew or should have known of the injury and its causal connection to the device.

Code 1950, §§ 8-13, 8-14; 1964, c. 219; 1966, c. 118; 1977, c. 617; 1985, c. 459; 1986, c. 601; 1991, c. 674; 1992, c. 817; 1993, c. 523; 1995, c. 268; 1997, cc. 565, 801; 2005, c. 213; 2013, c. 292; 2016, c. 353; 2020, cc. 99, 180.

§ 8.01-250. Limitation on certain actions for damages arising out of defective or unsafe condition of improvements to real property.

No action to recover for any injury to property, real or personal, or for bodily injury or wrongful death, arising out of the defective and unsafe condition of an improvement to real property, nor any action for contribution or indemnity for damages sustained as a result of such injury, shall be brought against any person performing or furnishing the design, planning, surveying, supervision of construction, or construction of such improvement to real property more than five years after the performance or furnishing of such services and construction.

The limitation prescribed in this section shall not apply to the manufacturer or supplier of any equipment or machinery or other articles installed in a structure upon real property, nor to any person in actual possession and in control of the improvement as owner, tenant or otherwise at the time the defective or unsafe condition of such improvement constitutes the proximate cause of the injury or damage for which the action is brought; rather each such action shall be brought within the time next after such injury occurs as provided in §§ 8.01-243 and 8.01-246.

Code 1950, § 8-24.2; 1964, c. 333; 1968, c. 103; 1973, c. 247; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-250.1. Limitation on actions involving removal of asbestos.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-234 or any other section in this chapter, every action against a manufacturer or supplier of asbestos or material containing asbestos brought by or on behalf of any agency of the Commonwealth incorporated for charitable or educational purposes; counties, cities or towns; or school boards, to recover for (i) removal of asbestos or materials containing asbestos from any building owned or used by such entity, (ii) other measures taken to correct or ameliorate any problem related to asbestos in such building or (iii) reimbursement for such removal, correction or amelioration which would otherwise be barred prior to July 1, 1990, as a result of expiration of the applicable period of limitation, is hereby revived or extended. Any action thereon may be commenced prior to July 1, 1990.

1985, c. 262; 1986, c. 458.

Article 4. Limitations on Enforcement of Judgments and Decrees.

§ 8.01-251. Limitations on enforcement of judgments.

A. No execution shall be issued and no action brought on a judgment, including a judgment in favor of the Commonwealth and a judgment rendered in another state or country, after 20 years from the date of such judgment or domestication of such judgment, unless the period is extended as provided in this section.

B. The limitation prescribed in subsection A may be extended on motion of the judgment creditor or his assignee with notice to the judgment debtor, and an order of the circuit court of the jurisdiction in which the judgment was entered to show cause why the period for issuance of execution or bringing of an action should not be extended. Any such motion shall be filed within the 20-year period from the date of the original judgment or from the date of the latest extension thereof. If upon the hearing of the motion the court decides that there is no good cause shown for not extending the period of limitation, the order shall so state and the period of limitation mentioned in subsection A shall be extended for an additional 20 years from the date of filing of the motion to extend. Additional extensions may be granted upon the same procedure, subject in each case to the recording provisions prescribed in § 8.01-458. This extension procedure is subject to the exception that if the action is against a personal representative of a decedent, the motion shall be within two years from the date of his qualification, the extension may be for only two years from the time of the filing of the motion, and there may be only one such extension.

C. No suit shall be brought to enforce the lien of any judgment, including judgments in favor of the Commonwealth, upon which the right to issue an execution or bring an action is barred by other subsections of this section, nor shall any suit be brought to enforce the lien of any judgment against the lands which have been conveyed by the judgment debtor to a grantee for value, unless the same be brought within 10 years from the due recordation of the deed from such judgment debtor to such grantee and unless a notice of lis pendens shall have been recorded in the manner provided by § 8.01-268 before the expiration of such 10-year period.

D. In computing the time, any time during which the right to sue out execution on the judgment is suspended by the terms thereof, or by legal process, shall be omitted. Sections 8.01-230 et seq., 8.01-247 and 8.01-256 shall apply to the right to bring such action in like manner as to any right.

E. The provisions of this section apply to judgments obtained after June 29, 1948, and to judgments obtained prior to such date which are not then barred by the statute of limitations, but nothing herein shall have the effect of reducing the time for enforcement of any judgment the limitation upon which has been extended prior to such date by compliance with the provisions of law theretofore in effect.

F. This section shall not be construed to impair the right of subrogation to which any person may become entitled while the lien is in force, provided he institutes proceedings to enforce such right within five years after the same accrued, nor shall the lien of a judgment be impaired by the recovery of another judgment thereon, or by a forthcoming bond taken on an execution thereon, such bond having the force of a judgment.

G. Limitations on enforcement of judgments entered in the general district courts shall be governed by § 16.1-94.1, unless an abstract of such judgment is docketed in the judgment book of a circuit court. Upon the docketing of such judgment, the limitation for the enforcement of a district court judgment is the same as for a judgment of the circuit court.

Code 1950, §§ 8-393, 8-394, 8-396, 8-397; 1956, c. 512; 1958, c. 221; 1960, c. 274; 1977, c. 617; 1983, c. 499; 2002, c. 394; 2005, cc. 139, 203.

§ 8.01-252. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2005, cc. 139, 203.

Article 5. Miscellaneous Limitations Provisions.

§ 8.01-253. Limitation of suits to avoid voluntary conveyances, etc.

No gift, conveyance, assignment, transfer, or charge, which is not on consideration deemed valuable in law, or which is upon consideration of marriage, shall be avoided in whole or in part for that cause only, unless within five years from its recordation, and if not so recorded within five years from the time the same was or should have been discovered, suit be brought for that purpose, or the subject thereof, or some part of it, be distrained or levied on by or at the suit of a creditor, as to whom such gift, conveyance, assignment, transfer, or charge, is declared to be void by § 55.1-401.

Code 1950, § 8-19; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-254. Limitation on enforcement of bequests and legacies.

Wherever by any will, the testator devises any real estate to some person and requires such person to pay some other person a specified sum of money, or provides a legacy for some person which constitutes a charge against the real estate of the testator, or any part thereof, no suit or action shall be brought to subject such real estate to the payment of such specified sum of money or such legacy, as the case may be, after twenty years from the time when the same shall have been payable, and if the will specifies no time for the payment thereof, it shall be deemed to have been payable immediately upon death of the testator.

Code 1950, § 8-21; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-255. Time for presenting claim against Commonwealth.

Any pecuniary claim authorized to be presented under §§ 2.2-814 and 2.2-815 shall be barred unless presented in writing to the comptroller or other authorized person no later than five years after the right to such claim shall arise. If such claim be not thus barred, any action thereon against the Commonwealth must be brought no later than three years after disallowance of such claim in whole or in part.

Code 1950, § 8-752; 1966, c. 452; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-255.1. Limitation of action for breach of condition subsequent or termination of determinable fee simple estate.

No person shall commence an action for the recovery of lands, nor make an entry thereon, by reason of a breach of a condition subsequent, or by reason of the termination of an estate of fee simple determinable, unless the action is commenced or entry is made within ten years after breach of the condition or within ten years from the time when the estate of fee simple determinable has been terminated. Where there has been a breach of a condition subsequent or termination of an estate fee simple determinable which occurred prior to July 1, 1965, recovery of the lands, or an entry may be made thereon by the owner of a right of entry or possibility of reverter, by July 1, 1977. Possession of land after breach of a condition subsequent or after termination of an estate of fee simple determinable shall be deemed adverse and hostile from the first breach of a condition subsequent or from the occurrence of the event terminating an estate of fee simple determinable.

Code 1950, § 8-5.1; 1975, c. 136; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-255.2. Limitation on motion for new execution after loss of property sold under indemnity bond.

A motion made pursuant to § 8.01-476 shall be made within five years after the right to make the same shall have accrued.

Code 1950, § 8-408; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-256. As to rights and remedies existing when this chapter takes effect.

No action, suit, scire facias, or other proceeding which is pending before October 1, 1977, shall be barred by this chapter, and any action, suit, scire facias or other proceeding so pending shall be subject to the same limitation, if any, which would have been applied if this chapter had not been enacted. If a cause of action, as to which no action, suit, scire facias, or other proceeding is pending, exists before October 1, 1977, then this chapter shall not apply and the limitation as to such cause of action shall be the same, if any, as would apply had this chapter not been enacted. Any new limitation period imposed by this chapter, where no limitation previously existed or which is different from the limitation existing before this chapter was enacted, shall apply only to causes or rights of action accruing on or after October 1, 1977.

Code 1950, § 8-37; 1977, c. 617.