Are you an accident victim? After a car accident, it is not uncommon for drivers and others involved to begin pointing fingers. After all, car crashes are costly, regardless of whether one expects insurance to pay for vehicle repairs, medical care, and other expenses. Determining fault in Virginia car accidents is a process defined by Virginia law with increasing Virginia car crash statistics. In some car accidents such as drunk driving accidents, criminal charges are a possibility beyond personal injury law. In some crashes, the drivers are both partially at fault for the accident or personal injury.
Determining fault and who should be compensated for losses, medical bills, property damage, or a personal injury after a car accident is up to the insurance companies or, ultimately, the court system if an accident claim dispute gets that far. At the Kendall Law Firm law offices, when we have the opportunity to speak to Virginia drivers, we counsel them never to accept blame or to blame anyone else after a car crash. Cooperate with the insurance company investigators and simply state the facts in response to the investigating officer’s questions.
If other motor vehicles caused the automobile accident that left you or a loved one of yours injured, your best move is to have an experienced Charlottesville car accident lawyer investigate the accident and gather evidence for a personal injury claim to show the other driver caused the crash and represent you in insurance claim dealings with the car insurance companies and their liability coverage.
High Standards for Proving Fault in Virginia Car Crashes
The objective of determining fault or liability for a car accident case is to make their car insurance pay for your losses, bodily injury, or property damage from the accident. Usually, they pay through an insurance adjuster and auto liability insurance.
The Virginia car accident laws state you must prove that another motorist bears full responsibility for the accident and your injuries to be compensated for medical expenses and more. Virginia follows a strict legal doctrine known as “pure contributory negligence” to determine whether anyone is eligible for damages after a car crash. The doctrine says that if you contributed in any way to your injuries, then you cannot obtain compensation from another party.
For rear-end collisions in Virginia, all drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one in front of them so that they can slow or stop quickly if necessary. Because of this, the driver in the rear will almost always be presumed to be the at-fault driver.
Because of Virginia’s very tough standard on negligence in an auto accident, you have a dual task in a car accident claim:
- Provide evidence to insurance companies that demonstrate the other party’s negligence and, therefore, responsibility for the crash, property damage, and your injuries such as a brain injury
- Persuade an insurer or a jury that you did not contribute to the accident
That is why it is essential to seek guidance from a knowledgeable Virginia car accident injury lawyer after a crash.
What Evidence is Needed to Prove Fault in Car Crashes in Virginia
There are multiple sources of evidence that may demonstrate liability for an auto accident. Some cases are straightforward, such as a parking lot accident or drunk driving accident with a DUI charge, and law enforcement test results showing a driver’s high blood-alcohol concentration. In most rear-end accidents, the accident itself is generally solid evidence that the driver in the rear failed to slow down and stop in time to avoid the collision.
In car accidents caused by common driver errors such as speeding, driving distracted, fatigued driving, or aggressive driving, the evidence of fault may not be as clear-cut. Unless someone steps up and admits his or her fault, the auto insurance adjusters or a Virginia jury may be left to decide the question of fault and whether to award compensation.
Most Northern Virginia accident claims are resolved by insurance adjusters who will look at the police accident report and other evidence to assign fault. In this situation, having an experienced automobile accident attorney negotiating on your behalf with the insurance adjusters and presenting evidence to show that you did not bear any blame for the crash can make all the difference.
When our Virginia department investigates car accidents, the types of evidence we look for may include:
- Police report, which may include diagrams of the accident scene and other basic information
- Statements by drivers, passengers, and other witnesses
- Photos of the crash scene
- Vehicle damage
- Debris at the crash scene
- Vehicles’ “black box” event data recorder (EDR) readouts
- Driver cell phone records, which may indicate distracted driving
- Security or red-light camera footage
- Social media comments by a driver or passenger regarding an accident
- Roadway or roadside conditions that may have contributed to the crash
- Vehicle or vehicle parts recalls or failure reports (may indicate product liability)
With sufficient evidence, a trained investigator can piece together how a car accident happened. However, some evidence degrades over time, such as skid marks at the crash scene, and some evidence may be destroyed, such as video footage that is recorded over or a totaled vehicle that will be disposed of as scrap eventually.
In a car crash investigation, it is important to act quickly to gather and preserve evidence. You will need a court order to obtain some evidence, such as another driver’s phone records or the content of their vehicle’s data records, which will include such information as the speed at the time of the collision, braking (or lack thereof), steering angle, distance traveled, time on the road, and other information, depending on the model of the vehicle.
In complex cases, a car accident attorney sometimes hires crash reconstruction specialists who apply forensic techniques and principles of engineering and physics to determine how an accident occurred. These firms can provide narrative reports with diagrams and, in court, testimony accompanied by presentations that create quite a convincing show for juries while addressing comparative negligence.
An investigation might turn up evidence that might be used against you. It would be your attorney’s task to assess that information and determine how to counter it and keep it from undermining your claim.
Contact Our Virginia Car Accident Law Firm Today
Our car accident lawyers have helped thousands of people involved in car accidents across Virginia obtain compensation for their injuries and other losses. We act promptly to investigate car accidents and gather evidence that proves fault and supports solid claims for compensation. In addition to determining who should be held liable for an accident, our car accident lawyer assesses the full extent of our clients’ accident-related losses and expenses and demand full compensation from insurers.
If you have been injured in a car accident someone else caused in Charlottesville, Winchester, Harrisonburg, Staunton or anywhere in the Shenandoah Valley, take advantage of the Kendall Law Firm’s offer of a free case evaluation. We are a family law firm that will give you a straightforward assessment of your legal options and what damages you may be entitled to claim. If we can move forward with your case, we’ll investigate your accident, prepare and submit a claim, and press hard for maximum payment for you. You will not owe any legal fee unless we recover compensation for you.
We’re online or just a phone call away. Contact us today.