Virginia is one of the strictest states in the country when it comes to defining fault in car accidents and determining who deserves compensation. The Commonwealth adheres to a doctrine dating to the days of common law known as “contributory negligence.”
In Virginia, if you have contributed in any way to an auto accident, you cannot be compensated. This is great for insurance companies. However, it can leave severely injured Virginia drivers with little recourse after a serious car accident disrupts their lives.
If there is even a chance that you may be considered partially at fault for a car accident, you need to seek experienced legal help right away – or else you are jeopardizing your ability to obtain compensation that you need and deserve. Contact Geoff McDonald & Associates today to learn how we can assist you.
Virginia and the Principle of ‘Contributory Negligence’
As the Virginia Bureau of Insurance explains in its consumer’s guide:
“Virginia is a contributory negligence state. Contributory negligence is a principle of law that recognizes that injured persons may have contributed to his/her own injury. For example, by not observing the ‘Don’t Walk’ sign at a crosswalk, pedestrians may cause accidents in which they are injured. This means if you are responsible for the accident in any way, you could be prevented from recovering from the other party.”
A “defense to the defense” of contributory negligence is the “last clear chance” doctrine. This holds that if the defendant driver had the last opportunity to avoid a wreck – for instance, by braking or swerving – the driver can still be held liable even though the plaintiff (injured driver bringing the legal complaint) was partially at fault.
Your car accident lawyer’s role is to thoroughly investigate your case to determine who was at fault and whether any facts may be asserted to argue that you were at fault. In fact, the full story of what occurred in your crash won’t be known until this investigation is complete. This is why Geoff McDonald & Associates advises clients to never provide a statement to an insurance company until speaking with an attorney first.
Contact a Richmond Car Accident Attorney for a Review of Your Case
At Geoff McDonald & Associates, our goal is to seek all compensation available to you for your losses. We will work aggressively to protect your rights – just as we have done for car accident victims and their families in Richmond and across Virginia for more than 20 years.
To learn more about how we can help, including our No Fee Guarantee®, contact us online or call us today at (804) 888-8888. Our initial consultations are always free.