If you have been injured due to the negligent or careless actions of another, it is within your right to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation. However, the time you have to file your claim is limited.

Every state has a specified amount of time during which an individual can file a personal injury claim. This is called the statute of limitations. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim is two years. This means that, unless a legal exception applies, the wronged person cannot file a lawsuit seeking damages after the two-year time limit is up.

But, the question many people have is “two years from when?” Generally, the statute of limitations takes effect when the injury occurs. There is also something called the “discovery rule,” which means that the clock does not start until the injured party is aware — or should have become aware — of the injury. The statute of limitations applies to almost all types of personal injury cases, from medical malpractice to wrongful death.

If the injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims does not go into effect until his or her eighteenth birthday. For example, if a 16-year-old incurs serious injuries in an auto accident, the statute of limitations will expire on their 20th birthday. However, there are different limits on filing a claim when a child has received a medical injury. For a medical malpractice claim when the child was younger than eight, the claim must be made prior to their tenth birthday. For a child older than eight, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within two years of the injury.

After an injury, filing a lawsuit is probably the last concern on your mind. However, after getting proper medical attention, it is imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can explain your options and help you get the compensation you need and deserve.