Is Virginia A No Fault State For Car Accidents?

Hillsville Personal Injury Lawyer - The Jackson Law Group

Traffic collisions happen every day. Even if you do everything right, you could still end up in a serious crash. According to the latest data from the Virginia Highway Safety Office (VHSO), there were 105,600 car accidents reported statewide in 2020. In Carroll County, there were 453 reported crashes. Another 514 accidents were reported in Wythe County.

You may be wondering: Does Virginia use a no-fault system for car accidents? The answer is ‘no’—Virginia is an ‘at-fault’ auto accident jurisdiction. Further, as Virginia uses a harsh contributory negligence standard, a fault is especially important. Here, our Hillsville car accident attorneys provide an overview of what you need to know about motor vehicle crashes and faults in Virginia.

Virginia Is An ‘At-Fault’ Car Accident State

Virginia is not a ‘no-fault’ state for auto accidents. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the party deemed ‘at-fault’ for a car crash is legally liable for the resulting damages. In most cases, the at-fault party will be a driver. Indeed, studies show that drivers are responsible for approximately 95 percent of all traffic collisions reported nationwide. Though, other parties, including vehicle manufacturers and highway construction companies, may also be found at fault.

Fault Is Based On Negligence

In Virginia, a fault is based on the legal theory of negligence. A driver (or other parties) is negligent when they fail to take due care. In practice, negligence takes many different forms. Some common examples of negligence include:

Blowing through stop signs;
Running red lights;
Unsafe lane changes;
Tailgating another person;
Distracted driving;
Inattentive driving;
and Drunk driving.

A driver whose negligence caused a crash is at-fault for that accident. They are responsible for the resulting damages. As an example, if you were hit by a distracted driver, you can hold them liable for the full extent of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Understanding Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Doctrine

Most U.S. states use an ‘at-fault’ standard for car accidents. In this way, Virginia is not an outlier. However, Virginia is one of only four remaining states that still use the harsh ‘contributory negligence’ doctrine for car accidents. Simply defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, contributory negligence is a common law doctrine that holds that if “a person was injured in part due to his/her own negligence” then they are “not entitled to collect any damages.” To understand how the contributory negligence system works, imagine that you were injured in a traffic accident in Carroll County, Virginia. The other driver was speeding and talking on the phone at the time of the crash. They are found at fault for 90 percent of the accident. However, investigators determine that your failure to signal a lane change was 10 percent of the reason why the accident occurred. Under Virginia’s harsh contributory negligence system, you would be denied the opportunity to recover compensation from the at-fault driver.

All Serious Car Accidents Require A Comprehensive Investigation

To summarize, Virginia is an ‘at-fault’ motor vehicle accident state that operates under the harsh contributory negligence legal doctrine. In practice, this means that fault is very important in any car accident case. If you or your loved one was involved in a serious crash in Virginia, it is imperative that an immediate investigation happens.

You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. Your attorney will make sure that your collision is comprehensively investigated and that all relevant evidence is secured. With all documents, records, evidence, and information on your side, you will be in the very best position to pursue the full financial support you need to pay your bills and cover your costs.

Do not fall behind the insurance company in the legal claims process. Insurers waste no time in building a defense and they may try to pin part of the blame for the accident on you or your family members.

Call Our Virginia Auto Accident Injury Attorneys For A Free Consultation

At The Jackson Law Group, our Virginia car accident lawyers fight aggressively to get justice and full financial compensation for injured victims and their loved ones. If you have questions about fault, liability, and car crashes, we have answers. For a no-cost, no obligation review and evaluation of your case, please do not delay: Contact us right away for help. With offices in Hillsville and Wytheville, our personal injury lawyers are well-positioned to serve communities throughout the whole region, including in Carroll County, Wythe County, Smyth County, Bland County, Montgomery County, Tazewell County, and Franklin County.