Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

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

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.