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West Virginia Statute of Limitations

If you believe someone has left you injured, your first thought should be to seek medical attention. However, as soon as possible, you should at least speak to a lawyer in West Virginia who deals with personal injury claims. The reason you don’t want to put this off a second too long is because of the statute of limitations. While you may have a completely valid claim on your hands, if you wait too long, it won’t do you any good.

What Are Statutes of Limitation

The idea behind a statute of limitation is that no one can be charged with a crime or have a suit brought against them after a certain number of years, depending on the crime in question. Otherwise, you could potentially sue someone for a car accident 40 years after it happened.

Not all crimes have statutes of limitations in West Virginia though. Someone can always be charged with murder, for example, no matter how many years have passed since the crime occurred. While this is standard throughout the country, in West Virginia, there is no statute of limitations for any felony whatsoever. You can always be charged with this crime.

Civil Statutes of Limitations

Let’s take a look at the statutes of limitations for civil offenses. The following are only a year:

  • Slander
  • Libel
  • False Imprisonment

The next have statutes of limitations that last two years:

  • Assault and Battery
  • Fraud
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Personal Injury
  • Property Damage
  • Product Liability
  • Trespass
  • Wrongful Death

In West Virginia, you can file a lawsuit against someone for breach of contract if it was not in writing within five years of the alleged offense. You have 10 years to do so for a written contact or for enforcing court judgments.

Criminal Offenses

Now, let’s take a look at the statute of limitations for criminal offenses in West Virginia. Keep in mind that just because you believe you or someone you know was a victim of one of the below crimes, bringing charges falls to the prosecutor. This makes it their responsibility to do so within the statute of limitations. However, if they fail to do so or simply don’t bring the charges against the party you believe committed a crime, you may still be able to take them to civil court.

The following criminal offenses have a statute of limitations of just one year:

  • Burglary (depending on the case)
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Rape/Sexual Assault (depending on the case)
  • Receiving Stolen Property (depending on the case)
  • Robbery (depending on the case)
  • Theft/Larceny (depending on the case)

As we mentioned above, felonies don’t have statutes of limitations in West Virginia, which is why the criminal offenses list is so short. Those that were noted as depending on the facts of the case are either one year or none at all.

Contacting an Attorney Immediately

If you believe you are the victim of, say, medical practice, having two years to file a claim may seem like more than enough time. However, you have to appreciate that such a case isn’t going to necessarily be an easy one to make. An attorney can’t simply file charges either and simply come back with the evidence at a later date.

This is why it’s so important you speak with an attorney as soon as you believe you’ve been victimized. By giving them enough time to prepare their case, you have a better chance of it actually being heard and, because your attorney has had the time to properly prepare, winning the damages you deserve.