When the other party is cited at the scene of the accident, that can be used as evidence of the driver’s negligence. However, proving negligence in Virginia is not quite as simple because you’ll also need to defend yourself against claims that you were also negligent in the accident due to Virginia’s contributory negligence law.
Establishing negligence in an injury case is essential to winning the case and ensuring the other party pays your bills after the accident. You should not feel self-conscious about pointing the finger at the other driver and presenting their traffic ticket as evidence.
Read on to learn more about how traffic citations can impact your personal injury case after a car accident.
How Traffic Citations Impact Negligence in Car Accident Cases
No matter how clear a car accident case might seem to you, the insurance companies won’t pay out until they’ve completed an investigation of fault. The police report and statements from the drivers involved are the primary sources of evidence when an insurance company is looking into a claim.
When law enforcement tickets someone at the accident, it shows some degree of fault for the collision. Citations might be for any of the following:
- Following too closely
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failing to look out for other drivers
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
All of these scenarios point to fault on the other driver’s behalf. But you might also bear some of that fault.
For example, although the other driver was following too closely, you might have stopped abruptly without cause. Or perhaps you were making a turn, failed to use a turn signal, and the speeding driver hit you.
There are many scenarios where you could be partially at fault for the accident, in which case the other driver will work to prove you played a role in the accident, which would prohibit you from collecting compensation.
Other Forms of Evidence in Car Accident Cases
Insurance companies can be narrow-minded. Their job is to move a case through quickly and get it resolved and closed. A deep investigation is not generally their strong suit. But you can present additional evidence in a case outside of the police report and testimony from the drivers involved to strengthen your case.
Some examples of additional evidence include:
- Witness testimony
- Accident scene photos
- Skid marks on the road
- Photos of your injuries
- Car maintenance records (in case the other driver tries to prove you’re at fault due to failing to maintain your vehicle properly)
- Cell phone records, which might prove that the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident
- 911 call recordings
Car accident attorneys know many ways to prove what happened at an accident scene long after the accident took place. Consult your attorney for ways you can prove your case and begin recovering from the accident both physically and financially.
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Law
Virginia is one of only four states still following a contributory negligence tort rule. The challenge with the law is that it bars many deserving victims from receiving compensation for an accident even if they are only at fault for 1 percent of the accident.
Contributing to an accident can be extremely simple and even unavoidable. So when you file a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia, you’re both the plaintiff and responsible for defending yourself against claims that you were at fault for the accident in some way.
This is why Virginians must hire a skilled car accident attorney who can disprove claims that you had something to do with the accident. Attorneys know how to avoid cases where the defendant shifts the blame for the accident to the injury victim.
Call or Email Us for a Free Consultation
Geoff McDonald & Associates offers a legal team that has helped countless victims recover damages after a car accident despite Virginia’s contributory negligence law. Contact us now for a free consultation.