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If you live in Virginia and you are involved in an accident, you can file a personal injury claim to recover compensation. This type of civil action allows you to hold an at-fault party liable for your losses and recover financial restitution for both economic and noneconomic losses.
However, Virginia maintains contributory negligence rules, which could make it very hard to bring forth a successful claim depending upon your circumstances. Here’s a look into what you need to know about contributory negligence in Virginia–
All states have negligence laws, which are laws that speak to how the negligence of the plaintiff in a civil action affects the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages. Most states allow for plaintiffs to recover damages, so long as their degree of fault was not more than the defendant’s. If a plaintiff did contribute to their injuries, most states just reduce the amount of compensation the plaintiff can recover from the defendant in proportion to their degree of fault.
The state of Virginia is one of the very few states in the nation that maintains pure contributory negligence laws. This means that if a plaintiff contributes to their injuries in even the slightest way, they cannot recover compensation.
The state’s contributory negligence laws favor the defendant in personal injury cases. Because you are responsible for proving the negligence of the defendant in order to seek compensation for your injuries, if the defendant can provide evidence that proves that you were even one percent to blame for your accident, then they have immunity from liability. For example, consider a situation in which a drunk driver hits your vehicle, causing you disabling injuries. While you may assume that the drunk driver should be liable for your injuries, if the driver can prove that you were distracted, speeding, using a cellphone, or otherwise negligent in any way at the time of the crash, and that this negligence contributed to your crash – even one percent – you are barred from recovery.
The only exception to contributory negligence laws is in accidents involving commercial carriers where the commercial carrier violates a safety regulation.
Because contributory negligence laws may bar you from seeking damages if you cannot prove that the defendant was 100 percent to blame for your injuries, it is essential that you hire a Virginia personal injury attorney who has experience in your specific case type, and knows how to gather the evidence necessary to prove the fault of the defendant.
At the office of Hampton Injury Law PLC, personal injury attorney Jan Hoen has been practicing civil law for nearly 30 years, and knows how to protect your right to compensation. If you are injured in Virginia and afraid that you will be unable to seek compensation for your injuries, call our law firm today for a completely free consultation where you can learn more, and our personal injury attorney can review your case.
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