How Do I Prove I Am Not Responsible for My Motorcycle Accident in Virginia?

Aug 11, 2021 | Other

In many states, the victim/plaintiff must prove the other driver was mostly responsible for the crash but isn’t required to prove that the other driver was entirely responsible. However, Virginia is a contributory negligence state. Victims are ineligible for compensation even if they were only 1 percent responsible for a motorcycle wreck.


So, a Richmond motorcycle accident lawyer has basically two responsibilities in these claims. First, a lawyer must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the other driver was negligent. Then, an attorney must defend that the victim was in no way responsible for the accident.


Understanding Preponderance of Evidence and Contributory Negligence 


We mentioned a preponderance of the evidence and contributory negligence. A preponderance of the evidence means “more likely than not.” Contributory negligence shifts blame for an accident from one party to the other one. 


Some people may remember the infamous McDonald’s hot coffee case from the 1990s. The jury divided fault 80-20 in that case. The victim was 20 percent responsible because she spilled coffee on herself. McDonald’s was 80 percent responsible because the coffee was over 200 degrees hot. Because of this high temperature, the victim suffered grotesque burns on her inner thigh.


But as mentioned, Virginia is a pure contributory negligence state. So, if the McDonald’s case happened in Virginia, the victim would have received nothing because it was found that the plaintiff was partially responsible. 


Disproving Contributory Negligence


Basically, negligence is a lack of care. Usually, this negligence is operational (speeding or making an illegal turn), behavioral (driving while sleepy or intoxicated), or environmental (failing to account for adverse environmental conditions).


Either the ordinary negligence doctrine or the negligence per se rule usually applies. Ordinary negligence is usually a lack of reasonable care. Negligence per se is a violation of a safety law.


To disprove responsibility, most Richmond motorcycle accident lawyers focus on the victim’s good driving habits. This list usually includes:


  • Being physically, mentally, and otherwise fit
  • Inspecting the motorcycle to make sure it’s working properly
  • Driving friendly
  • Focusing on the road
  • Maintaining a safe following distance
  • Obeying the formal and informal rules of the road


Not every failure is negligent. Speeding is a good example. If a rider is operating slightly above the speed limit, that’s technically illegal. However, most jurors wouldn’t consider that behavior to be negligent. A little evidence goes a long way.


The Help You Need for Your Motorcycle Accident Case

Virginia crash victims must prove the other driver was entirely at fault. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. Home, virtual, and after-hours visits are available.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    7 Tips to Prevent Boating Injuries on Memorial Day Weekend

    Boat accidents can occur at any time, but especially when there are more boats on the water, like during a long holiday weekend. As a boat operator or passenger, you and your guests should follow the tips below to avoid Virginia boating accident injuries over Memorial...

    Camp Lejeune: What You Need to Know

    Camp Lejeune is a military base located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. After many years, and now lawsuits appearing due to contaminated water at the base, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Below we’ll break down what you need to know about the Camp Lejeune...

    What Happens if I Reject a Settlement Offer?

    Rejecting a settlement offer can be a part of your strategy for ensuring you receive fair compensation for your injuries, including long-term effects from your injuries. If you reject a settlement offer, you can continue to negotiate with the insurance company, or the...

    Our Case Results

    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald