Motor vehicle accidents happen far too often, and statistics reported by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles are proof: Traffic Crash Facts reveals that there were 6,741 in Virginia Beach City in 2017, 25 of which were fatal. Another 3,416 suffered injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. These victims suffer devastating losses as they try to recover, and entire families are affected by such tragedies.
Most auto accidents are the result of careless, irresponsible driving by other motorists. In the practice of law, the concept is termed negligence. To recover compensation, you must show that the responsible driver breached the duty to exercise reasonable care and that you were hurt as a result. Examples of negligence in car crashes include:
In most auto accident claims, you do not directly sue the other motorist. You will file a claim with the insurance company that provides the driver with liability coverage. Insurers are notoriously stingy when processing claims, as they do not make money by paying out large sums to victims. The claims adjuster may blame you for the accident or contest the severity of your injuries. If you cannot reach an agreement to settle your claim with the insurance company, you may need to resort to litigation.
Whether through an insurance claim or in court, there are two types of compensation available in an auto crash case.
Even if you can prove the elements of a claim for negligence, there are legal issues that could affect your rights. For one, Virginia has a statute of limitations for car accident cases. You need to sue in court within two years after the incident, or you cannot recover any compensation for your losses.
In addition, Virginia follows a harsh rule called contributory negligence. If you were also negligent in causing the motor vehicle collision, you are barred from obtaining any amount of monetary damages. It does not matter if you were less at fault; contributory negligence principles bar your recovery.
If you were injured in an auto crash and want to know more about your rights under Virginia law, please call Hampton Injury Law to set up a consultation. A Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can answer your questions and tell you more about how the process works.
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