As a child, we played in the school yard every conceivable type of game and sport. Some times someone would call "time out," and other times, "do over." There are times in an injury case when a "time out" or "do over" is appropriate. Recognizing this, the Virginia legislature allows every plaintiff one "nonsuit" as a matter of right. A nonsuit is a voluntary dismissal, without prejudice, with leave to refile the very same action within 6 months of the date of the nonsuit order. This is a "do over" that is a useful tool for personal injury plaintiffs when, for example:
1. An important witness becomes unavailable,
2. The plaintiff has a sudden need for another surgery,
3. Key documents are revealed after the discovery cut off,
4. A companion case needs to proceed first,
5. Some critical evidence is missing.
Other states have similar laws, but they are called by other names. So, just like in the schoolyard, if necessary, plaintiffs in Virginia personal injury cases can request a nonsuit and then refile and try their cases another day.