Virginia is one of the few states that uses a contributory negligence rule regarding car accident liability. This means that if you were partly at fault for your accident, you may not collect any damages associated with the incident. In contrast, most states assess car accident liability using the concept of comparative negligence, in which an injured party may sue for damages if they are no more than 50 percent liable for the accident. Compensation may be calculated accordingly, but the injured party is not barred from making a claim.
However, in contributory negligence states like Virginia, if it is determined that a driver’s actions are responsible for the accident to any degree, this precludes that driver from seeking compensation from the other driver for any injury, property damage, or even a death that results from the accident.
This rule also affects how insurance companies treat the claim. If it is documented that at least some of the blame for the accident lies with the person seeking an insurance claim, the adjuster will likely take that stance when negotiating a settlement. For this reason, it is important to establish that the other driver is solely responsible for your accident. A car accident lawyer can help determine if your wreck occurred without any fault on your part.
Reporting the Accident
Virginia law also states that any person involved in a car accident must report the incident to state or local police and must share their identification information with the police, along with any individual or property owner involved in the accident. Identification information that must be shared includes the name, address, driver’s license number, and vehicle registration information of the involved parties.
Those filing personal injury claims should be aware of the statute of limitations that exist in Virginia. Personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of an accident. This goes for a case brought by either the driver, the passenger, or a passerby that suffers an injury from the car wreck. A wrongful death lawsuit must also be filed by the surviving family member or their representative within two years of the death.
Our Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Help Victims Claim Compensation for Their Injuries
If you were involved in a car wreck, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries. Contact us online or call us today at 757-352-2237 for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent car accident victims in Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.