.k How Does Speed Affect Liability in a Car Accident Case? | 757-352-2237
Visit our Truck Site

How Does Speed Affect Liability in a Car Accident Case?

March 17, 2021

Driving on the road

More than three million people are hurt in car accidents every year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Speeding is a factor in a large percentage of these crashes. In 2018 alone, speed-related crashes claimed approximately 9,378 lives, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Driving even just a few miles per hour over the speed limit increases the chance of a serious injury.

An injured car accident victim may wonder if they can hold the speeding driver accountable for the collision. In Virginia, personal injury laws make it more challenging for injured victims to recover damages for car accidents, but it is possible in certain circumstances. A knowledgeable lawyer can help with a personal injury case.

How are Speed Limits Determined?

Elected officials set speed limits based on input from local residents, traffic engineers, and local crash data. Their job is to balance the need to travel quickly, efficiently, and safely. Speed limits are sometimes updated to reflect changes within the community, like an increase in crashes.

Serious injuries are more likely to occur in speed-related collisions, especially if pedestrians are involved. Maintaining the speed limit can reduce the severity of bodily injuries in a collision. The law requires drivers to travel at a speed that is reasonable, which means adjusting to bad weather, traffic, road hazards, and pedestrians. When a driver does not maintain a safe speed, they may be held liable for damages.

Why Do Drivers Speed?

Even the most responsible and cautious driver has likely gone over the speed limit at some time or another. The NHTSA identified a few common factors among speeding drivers:

  • Anonymity: Feeling insulated inside their vehicle, drivers wrongly assume they can take risks without others being able to identify them.
  • Being Late: Drivers try to make up for delays by speeding and taking other risks behind the wheel.
  • Traffic Jams: The frustration of bring stuck in traffic causes drivers to be more reckless than usual.
  • Entitlement: Some drivers act with total disregard for the safety of others, believing their need to get somewhere fast takes precedence.

Can I Sue a Negligent Driver?

In Virginia, an accident victim who is fully without fault can bring a legal claim against the reckless driver who caused their injuries. Driving even just a few miles over the speed limit can lead to devastating consequences. If one has a severe injury, they may have legal options.

A vehicle traveling at a high velocity can leave a passenger, car driver, or a pedestrian with head, neck, and spine injuries that may require extensive surgeries, rehabilitation, or medications. Some injured people never fully recover and require lifelong assistance. In Virginia, an injured accident victim can bring a claim against an at-fault driver to recover accident-related costs for the following:

  • Medical care
  • Lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of companionship for loved ones and other damages

How Do I Prove the Other Driver was Speeding?

Proving fault is a critical step to recover compensation through a settlement or in court. However, it can be challenging to prove the at-fault driver was speeding. Evidence is used to establish negligence in a personal injury case. When it comes to speeding, police officers and crime scene experts are looking for the following:

  • Skid marks indicating the driver was unable to stop in time.
  • Extensive vehicle damage.
  • Red light cameras, dash cameras, and other accident footage.
  • Eyewitness accounts from the accident scene.
  • Black box event data recorder information.

In rare cases, the driver or their passengers may even admit to speeding. The information collected at the scene combined with medical records and other crash-related documentation are important forms of evidence.

What is Contributory Negligence in Virginia?

A Virginia driver can only recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit if they bear no percentage of fault for the crash. Virginia is one of the few states in the nation that uses contributory negligence. Under contributory negligence, if the injured driver was over the speed limit when they were hit, they may be prohibited from receiving financial compensation from the other party. Even if the other driver was 99 percent at fault, the one percent of fault on the other party’s behalf can invalidate any claim for damages.

Other states employ comparative negligence, which is where a percentage of fault is assigned to each party. Damages are calculated accordingly based on those percentages. Fault on one party’s side does not bar them from recovering compensation from the other party.

What if I was Speeding?

Anyone seriously hurt in a traffic accident through no fault of their own should consider taking legal action against the other driver. It is the lawyer’s job to use evidence effectively to establish the other motorist’s fault to recover damages.

Since contributory negligence makes car accident cases more complex in Virginia, a victim should do their own research and enlist a legal expert with a proven record of success. Without critical evidence and skilled legal guidance, a client dealing with life-changing injuries and mounting medical bills may not find the justice they deserve.

Tips to Help Stop Speeding

Sometimes, it is hard to slow down when one is late for something important, or when they are feeling frustrated because they are stuck behind slow-moving vehicles. However, speeding comes with real consequences. Beyond traffic tickets and hefty fines, serious injuries or even fatalities can occur from speeding. Some ways to prevent speeding include the following:

  • Drivers should use cruise control. Maintain a consistent speed on long stretches of open highway.
  • Drivers should leave early when it is possible. Avoid the panic of being late by leaving a bit earlier than usual.
  • Motorists should monitor the speedometer. Sometimes, drivers do not even realize how fast they are going.
  • One should think about the consequences of speeding. Getting caught speeding is a costly mistake. Avoid fines, tickets, and higher insurance rates by sticking to the posted speed limit.

What Should I Do if I Encounter a Speeding Driver?

When a driver finds themselves being harassed by a speeding motorist, it is important to remain calm. Under no circumstances should they taunt the other driver by slamming on their brakes, cutting in front of them, or verbally assaulting them. This could lead to dangerous aggressive driving. Instead, safely move away from the aggressive driver, allow them to pass, and report them to the police if they pose a threat to others.

After an accident that was caused by a reckless driver, it is important for an injured individual to get legal help. A lawyer will assess the case, ascertain who is likely at fault, and recommend the most practical course of action.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Hold Speeding Drivers Accountable for Damages

If you were involved in a collision with a speeding driver, a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can help you with your case. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we have helped numerous car accident victims, and we understand the devastating effects of speeding. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

301 Bendix Road, Suite 460
Virginia Beach VA 23452
Ph: 757-352-2237 | Fax: 757-994-8910