How Virginia determines fault in a car accident

On Behalf of | Jul 2, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

In Virginia, determining fault in a car accident involves understanding the state’s strict contributory negligence laws. These laws can significantly impact the outcome of an accident claim, and it is helpful for all drivers to understand them.

Contributory negligence rule

Virginia follows the contributory negligence rule, meaning you cannot recover damages from the other party if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident. This rule makes it essential to prove that the other driver was entirely at fault to receive compensation.

Gathering evidence

To determine fault, gather comprehensive evidence from the accident scene. This includes photographs of vehicle damage, witness statements, and police reports. Clear and detailed evidence helps establish the sequence of events and identifies who was at fault.

Police reports

Police reports play a crucial role in determining fault. Officers document the accident scene, interview witnesses, and provide their assessment of who caused the accident. Insurance companies and courts often use these reports to help decide fault.

Witness statements

Witnesses provide an unbiased account of the accident. Their statements can support your version of events and help prove the other driver’s fault. Collect contact information from witnesses at the scene and ask them to provide a written statement if possible.

Traffic laws

Understanding and applying traffic laws is essential in determining fault. If one driver violates a traffic law, such as running a red light or speeding, authorities will likely find them at fault. Traffic citations issued at the scene can also indicate fault.

Navigating fault determination

Being thorough in collecting and presenting this information can significantly impact the outcome of your claim. Understanding how fault is determined helps you navigate the process and protect your rights.