This is a good time to call a lawyer. A good lawyer will ask you questions about what happened and whose fault it was. During the conversation, your lawyer will look deeper into the evident, including which driver got a traffic ticket for the accident.
Virginia is one of few states that has a doctrine called contributory negligence. That means if you’re found to be even 1 percent at fault for the accident, you cannot recover anything from the other party’s insurance company. As long as the other party is 100 percent at fault, you’ll generally have a case against them.
But determining fault is complicated and requires expertise. Even once you know who was at fault for the accident, you’ll need to collect proof to prove your case. Proving a personal injury case can be challenging without an attorney on your side.
What It Means to Be Negligent
Negligence refers to a driver failing to exercise the care that they should when operating a motor vehicle. The law looks at how a reasonable person would handle the situation had they been placed in a similar scenario.
A simple way to illustrate this is when a driver chooses to drive drunk or under the influence of alcohol. Reasonable people know that alcohol impairs a person’s ability to react to changing road conditions. That impairment can lead to an accident.
But it doesn’t just apply to the decision to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Failing to stop completely at a stop sign can be negligent as well because a reasonable person would know that the stop sign is there to ensure you don’t collide with drivers coming from the other direction.
Negligence behind the wheel of a vehicle can be making poor decisions or failing to act in a way that protects other motorists. All drivers have a duty of care toward other motorists while on the road.
Proving negligence means drawing upon the police report, witness testimony, etc. to demonstrate the mistakes that the other driver made. For example, you might be able to show that the vehicle behind you was following too closely based on the tire marks on the road when they had to slam on their brakes in an attempt to react to changing road conditions.
Or, witness accounts might detail how the other driver continued through the intersection despite the red light.
Vehicle damage can also tell the story of another driver’s negligence. The location and extent of vehicle damage can aid in recreating what happened during the accident. Claims adjusters use this data to create a picture of what happened, despite the potential lack of footage or witness accounts. Paired with other data, such as skid marks and road conditions at the time of the accident, the adjuster can put together a general story of how the accident occurred.
The extent of vehicle damage will be a key piece of information when trying to evaluate whether the other driver was speeding or failing to follow other posted rules of the road. Additionally, certain safety devices, such as airbags, only deploy under specific conditions.
Regretfully, sometimes insurance adjusters don’t dig deep enough into the facts to evaluate fault fairly because the insurance company is trying to limit their liability in the case.
Virginia Car Accident Lawyers Who Care About Your Results
Bringing in a car accident attorney can be beneficial for individuals involved in a car accident in Virginia because they evaluate the case without bias to protect your best interests. Geoff McDonald & Associates offers a free consultation to get to know you and your case.
We offer insights and resources to get the restitution you deserve even if the other driver isn’t accepting responsibility for their mistakes.
Contact us now for your free consultation.