A statute of limitations is a legally imposed time deadline by which you must either settle your case or properly file a lawsuit in the correct court. If the limitation period passes with no action taken, you will lose your rights to that case permanently. The case more or less evaporates.
In Virginia, the deadline for most personal injury cases is 2 years from the injury/accident date. However, this is a general rule and there are exceptions which may extend or shorten this period. Therefore, you should discuss your case facts with an attorney. Also, if you wish to hire an attorney, start looking sooner rather than later.
Injury cases are complex by nature. Any attorney will require time to investigate the facts of a case, the people or companies involved, insurance coverage issues, medical evidence, etc. Therefore, most law firms will likely decline your case if you make first contact near the time deadline. Also, by speaking to an attorney earlier in the process, you can verify the actual limitation period for your specific case. You should certainly be educated in that regard.