Legal Memorandum: Time Limit for Filing a Tort Claim

Issue: When should a court permit a party to file a claim after the statute of limitations has expired if a previous action had been filed but dismissed on a technical failure?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Tort claim; Accrual of cause of action; Technical failure
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: V.I. Code Ann. tit. 33, § 3409; V.I. Code Ann. tit. 33, § 3410
Date: 09/01/2007

The Tort Claims Act authorizes the courts to permit late filing by plaintiffs within two years of the cause of action accruing.  The Act provides in pertinent part:

A claimant who fails to file a claim or notice of intention, as provided in the foregoing subsections, within the time limited therein for filing the notice of intention, may, nevertheless, in the discretion of the court, be permitted to file such claim at any time within two years after the accrual thereof . . .. The application shall be made upon motion based upon affidavits showing a reasonable excuse for the failure to file the notice of intention and that the Virgin Islands or its appropriate department or agency had, prior to the expiration of the time limited for the filing of the notice of intention, actual knowledge of the facts constituting the claim.  The claim proposed to be filed, containing all of the information set forth in section 3410 of this title, shall accompany such application.  No such application shall be granted if the court shall find that the Government of the Virgin Islands has been substantially prejudiced by the failure re of the claimant to file such notice of intention within the time limited therefore. 


V.I. Code Ann. tit. 33, § 3409.


Regarding the substance of the claim, the Act provides:


The claim shall state the time when and the place where such claim arose, the […]


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