Stay Home - Consult With Us From Your Living Room

Articles Posted in Car Accidents

In some cases, victims of a weather-related Virginia car accident may believe that the accident was inevitable because of reasons beyond anyone’s control. However, this is rarely the case. In most situations, there was some negligent conduct that caused or contributed to the accident. These cases present many challenges because the victim and driver who caused the accident may not know who or what was responsible for the collision.

Drivers must always act responsibly and ensure that they operate their vehicles safely. During inclement weather, motorists should take additional precautions to ensure their safety and that of their passengers, other drivers, and bystanders. The failure to engage in safe driving can result in devastating accidents and serious injuries.

For example, a recent news report described a harrowing accident involving eight tractor-trailers and three passenger vehicles. Virginia law enforcement explained that the accident occurred on the northbound side of Interstate 81. The collision caused a pile-up and diesel fuel spillage. An initial investigation attributes the accident to icy road conditions. Following the accident, highway workers removed the debris and treated the highway.

Virginia accident victims that suffer injuries due to another party’s negligence may be able to recover financial compensation from the person or people responsible for their injuries. These personal injury cases typically hinge on whether the plaintiff can establish that the other party was responsible for the accident, and to what degree each party’s fault contributed to the victim’s injuries.

Many personal injury cases stem from Virginia car accidents. The cases often involve speeding, driver impairment, and driver error. These deliberate actions may result in unintended consequences and result in a personal injury lawsuit. Unlike other states, Virginia plaintiffs have a higher burden to bear, because the state follows a contributory negligence model. Accident victims should understand this doctrine, which is one of the strictest in the country.

Virginia’s contributory negligence statute bars a victim’s recovery if they are at all responsible for their damages. The harsh rule bars recovery even if the victim is one percent at fault for the accident. Some common examples of contributory negligence may involve situations such as when:

Virginia personal injury cases often involve the use of expert witnesses to lend further credibility to how an accident took place or the extent of a party’s injuries. Sometimes, however, these expert witnesses could be biased or appear to have an interest in the case that could significantly alter the presentation of accurate facts during trial.

In a recent Supreme Court of Virginia opinion, the court had to consider whether evidence of an expert witness’s financial relationship with an insurance company was admissible. Following a car accident where the plaintiff was hit from behind by the defendant’s vehicle, the plaintiff experienced significant physical pain in addition to increased anxiety and depression. After the collision, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant for $150,000 in damages.

The defendant’s auto insurance company retained an attorney to represent her in the case, who hired an orthopedic surgeon to serve as an expert witness. This expert witness previously worked with the attorney on numerous occasions and had been paid by the defendant’s insurance company for his services even though they did not directly hire him. During the trial, the plaintiff moved to introduce evidence of the expert witness’s previous relationship with the defendant’s attorney and auto insurance company. The lower court denied the plaintiff’s request, arguing that there was no direct relationship between the expert and the insurance company, so she could only introduce evidence of the expert’s previous work testifying on behalf of the attorney’s clients.

Passing another car, truck, motorcycle, or bicyclist is a common and often necessary practice, and although traffic rules allow for legal passing in some situations, improper passing can lead to serious accidents with potentially fatal consequences. Those that have suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident because of a negligent driver may be able to recover damages for their losses.

Virginia drivers who wish to pass another vehicle must ensure that they are doing so safely and within traffic rules’ confines. Under Virginia Rule § 46.2-838, drivers overtaking another vehicle while proceeding in the same direction must pass at least two feet to the left of the driver they are passing. Further, drivers should not move to the right side until it is safe to do so. Drivers who want to pass a stationary vehicle displaying safety signals, must proceed with caution and maintain a safe speed for the traffic and highway conditions. Additionally, there are special rules for drivers who want to pass trash or recycling trucks. In these cases, drivers traveling on a four-lane highway, must yield the right-of-way by changing lanes into a lane not adjacent to the truck. Moreover, if it is unsafe to pass on a roadway with less than four lanes, drivers must decrease their speed to under 10 miles per hour of the posted speed limit, and pass at least two feet left of the refuse truck.

Individuals who fail to abide by the relevant passing rules may face criminal and civil charges, depending on the accident’s unique circumstances. Civil plaintiffs who want to recover against the at-fault driver must establish that the driver was negligent. In some cases, a plaintiff may present evidence of a traffic citation for improper passing to establish negligence. However, citations do not automatically impute liability on the other driver, and plaintiffs must compile and present enough evidence to meet their burden.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) reports that the country experiences nearly six million accidents every year. Harrowing statistics reveal that almost 5,000 of these accidents are related to inclement weather. Icy, slick, and slippery roads cause a significant number of serious Virginia car accidents. These conditions can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles, veer into other lanes and barriers, resulting in disastrous and potentially deadly consequences.

The majority of Virginia weather-related accidents result from heavy rainfall, fog, snow, or ice storms. As one would expect, these dangerous conditions tend to coincide with the winter months. Heavy rain, flooding, and strong winds can cause drivers to lose control, and their vehicle may be swept off the roadway. Motorists must avoid hydroplaning on flooded roads at all costs. Additionally, Driving through water may cause a vehicle to experience mechanical issues that can even cause an explosion. Although tall and large vehicles provide many protections to a driver, the inherent instability of a large vehicle compounded with strong winds may cause the drivers of large vehicles to overturn.

Similarly, icy conditions reduce the amount of friction between tires and the road. Under these conditions, drivers may need additional room and time to stop their vehicles safely. Drivers must adjust their driving to meet the road conditions; otherwise, they pose a serious risk to themselves and other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.

Driving is the most popular (and dangerous) form of transportation throughout the United States. While safety commissions and government entities exert significant time and energy into traffic safety education and accident prevention, accidents continue to occur at an alarming rate. Some Virginia car accidents may result in minor injuries and damages; however, many suffer serious injuries or death. Virginians who have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident should understand their rights and remedies.

Virginia law defines wrongful death as a death that results because of another’s wrongful act or neglect. The law provides that a plaintiff may proceed with a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party, if the circumstances of the victim’s death would have warranted a personal injury claim, if the victim did not die. Essentially, a wrongful death claim is akin to a personal injury lawsuit except that the victim is no longer alive. These types of lawsuits often arise after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, medical malpractice, or a similar situation where another’s negligence caused the victim’s death.

For example, recently, a Virginia news report described a harrowing car accident that occurred on Thanksgiving. Reports indicate that a pickup truck driver was heading west when he sped through a red light. He subsequently slammed into several vehicles, including an SUV, resulting in the death of two people. Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) data provides that the intersection has been the scene of 18 collisions; however, this was the first accident resulting in a fatality.

There are many physical, psychological, and environmental advantages from walking, jogging, running, and biking. However, there are also inherent risks associated with these activities. Despite the many benefits of these forms of travel, Virginia pedestrian safety is a serious concern. Pedestrian accidents often result in more serious damages because they do not have any protection from injuries if a vehicle strikes them. Although, lawmakers encourage pedestrian safety initiatives, the rate of Virginia pedestrian accidents resulting in fatalities continues to rise. This increase may be related to the prevalence of smartphones and larger passenger vehicles. Virginia pedestrian accidents often result in traumatic injuries with lasting consequences.

In Virginia, the leading cause of pedestrian accidents stems from a driver’s negligence. The most common forms of negligence or recklessness involve aggressive driving, failure to observe surroundings, distracted driving, driving while impaired, fatigued driving, failure to yield, running a traffic light, and speeding. Additionally, many of these accidents occur during low visibility times, such as the early morning or evening hours.

Furthermore, many Virginia pedestrian accidents are hit-and-runs, where the driver either does not realize they hit a pedestrian or purposely leaves the scene of an accident. Under the law, drivers must stop and provide “reasonable” assistance to an injury victim. Additionally, they must provide their contact information to the victim or law enforcement. The failure to follow these requirements may result in serious criminal penalties and increased personal injury damages.

When individuals are hurt in a Virginia car accident, they often assume that the other driver is the only person that they can hold legally responsible. However, accident victims should not automatically make this assumption because, in certain cases, the driver’s employer may be held liable for any injuries their employee caused. This is called the doctrine of respondeat superior. Respondeat superior allows a plaintiff to hold the employer of the responsible party liable if the accident occurred when the employee was performing tasks associated with the scope of their employment.

Recently in Virginia Beach, several people were injured after a crash involving a horse-drawn carriage and a vehicle. According to a local news report, Virginia Beach police responded to a crash involving a horse-drawn carriage and a dark grey Toyota Camry around 1 a.m. Evidently, the carriage was traveling southbound when it was hit from behind by the vehicle. Three people were injured, and one passenger suffered life-threatening injuries. The horse also sustained minor injuries.

In cases like the one above, both the carriage passengers, the carriage driver, and the car’s driver may be able to pursue legal claims. In the case of the vehicle’s driver, he has the possibility to file a legal claim against multiple parties: the carriage driver and potentially even the carriage company.

Virginia is one of the handfuls of states that maintain the archaic, strict, pure contributory negligence rule. Under this model, Virginia law prohibits injury victims from recovering after an accident if they maintain any responsibility for their injuries or damages. Unless the other party is 100% responsible for the accident, a Virginia accident victim cannot recover for their damages. There are certain exceptions to the statute, such as the common carrier exception and Virginia’s seat belt statute. Under the common carrier exception, an injury victim may be entitled to compensation against a bus company and bus driver, if those parties violated a safety code.

Barring a few exceptions, VA Code § 46.2- 1094 requires drivers and front-seat passengers over 18-years-old to wear seat belts while in a vehicle traveling on a public highway. The law imposes a civil fine on those that violate this statute. Defendants often attempt to use non-seat belt use as evidence of contributory negligence. However, VA Code § 46.2- 1094, specifically contravenes this argument. Although, Virginia’s strict contributory negligence laws would typically bar a victim from recovery if they violated a safety statute and contributed to their injuries, the statute expressly provides that a violation of the statute, “shall not constitute negligence, be considered in mitigation of damages of whatever nature, be admissible in evidence or be the subject of comment by counsel in any action for the recovery of damages arising out of the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle.”

Although the statute provides this exception to Virginia’s contributory negligence laws, it is crucial that motorists and passengers wear a seat belt. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that seat belt use can reduce an individual’s likelihood of serious injuries by close to 50%. However, Virginia residents continue to choose not to wear seat belts. This fact is startling when taken in combination with data that found that over half of the people involved in fatal Virginia traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt.

When a driver is not paying attention, there can be extreme consequences. If a distracted driver hits a pedestrian, this will often result in the pedestrian’s serious injury, or even death. When a person is killed in a pedestrian accident, their loved ones may bring a lawsuit against the driver. This claim is called a Virginia wrongful death lawsuit, and if the defendant is held liable, they may be required to provide the victim’s family monetary compensation.

According to a local news source, recently in Virginia Beach, a woman was killed after being hit by a car. The woman was crossing the street as she was struck by a car traveling southbound. A witness to the accident tried to help until medics arrived, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. According to a local news report, it is unclear whether the vehicle stayed at the scene or if the driver will be charged.

Under Virginia Code §8.01-50, a personal representative of a deceased person may bring an action for wrongful death if their death was caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another person. The statute also requires that the deceased individual would have been able to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party, had they not passed. Using the recent pedestrian accident as an example, the deceased’s loved ones would need to prove that the woman would not have died, but for the driver’s irresponsible behavior. If they can do so, they may have a successful wrongful death suit.

Contact Information