If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you might expect the other driver to pony up the cash for your medical bills and damage to your vehicle. Car accident injuries can cost thousands, and why should you have to pay those bills if someone else hits you?
While the law might agree with you, proving fault in a Virginia car accident case isn’t always easy. Learn what it takes to determine fault from a Virginia car accident lawyer.
Evidence That Can Prove Fault
If you plan to file a personal injury claim for your car accident case, you and your lawyer will need to do some detective work. You’ll need to gather evidence to support your case and prove who’s to blame for the accident.
Evidence may include:
- Pictures of the damage to your car and the accident scene
- Statements from witnesses and police officers
- Admissions of fault made by the other driver
- Weather and road conditions
- Cell phone records that indicate whether a driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the accident
- Blood or urine tests that show whether a driver had drugs in their system
- Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) tests
A vehicle’s onboard computer may also come in handy. Nearly all modern vehicles have built-in computers that show when the driver hit the brakes, their speed, and other important details. For instance, the computer could show that the other driver slammed on their brakes just before hitting you, a possible indicator that they weren’t paying attention.
Semi-trucks contain even more advanced computers called “black boxes.” If a semi-truck driver hits you, this black box could yield all the evidence to establish fault. It can reveal speeding, braking, swerving, and even whether the driver took their mandated breaks.
Inspection records for trucks can be helpful as well. If a trucker hits you because of brake failure from the trucking company’s lack of maintenance, you could hold the company liable.
Virginia’s Pure Contributory Negligence Rule
Virginia is a tricky state for proving fault because it follows pure contributory negligence rules. In other words, to pursue compensation, you’ll need to prove the other driver was 100% at fault. If you’re to blame in any way, even if you’re only 1% at fault, the law bars you from seeking damages.
Here’s an example scenario. Let’s say the other driver ran a stop sign and rammed into you at an intersection. However, if you hadn’t been looking at your phone, you might have noticed them and stopped in time. In that case, the defendant’s lawyer could claim that part of the blame lies with you.
Proving fault can be challenging, which is why you need the help of a skilled Virginia car accident lawyer.
Elements of Proving Fault
To prove fault in your case, an auto accident lawyer will need to establish the following elements:
- The other driver had a duty to act responsibly and follow traffic laws.
- The other driver violated this duty by acting irresponsibly (for example, by speeding or running stop lights).
- The other driver’s actions caused your injuries.
- Your injuries merit compensation. One way to prove this element is by showing the court any medical treatment records.
Contact a Trusted Car Accident Attorney in Virginia
Proving fault for a car accident can be tough, especially with Virginia’s pure contributory negligence rules in play. If you want to hold the other driver liable, you may benefit from the help of an experienced Virginia car accident lawyer from Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. Call today at (804) 888-8888 for a free consultation.