Determining Liability After a Car Accident
If you are injured in a car accident, the first question you may ask is, “who is going to pay my medical bills?” The truth is, it depends on how the state or jurisdiction the accident occurred in handles financial responsibility for accident-related losses.
At Coletrane & Messersmith, we provide dedicated representation for individuals who have been injured in auto accidents throughout Virginia. For over a decade, our lawyers have successfully fought for car accident victims to receive the compensation they need and deserve.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact our office at (757) 530-5273 to book a free consultation.
At-Fault vs. No-Fault Systems for Accidents
States can either use a fault-based system or a no-fault system when it comes to determining financial responsibility after an auto accident.
An at-fault system allows an injured party to pursue compensation from an at-fault driver or a liable third party. The injured party can file a claim for damages through the negligent party’s insurance company or may have to file a lawsuit for personal injury.
A no-fault system requires the injured party to go through their own insurance. Depending on the state, an injured party may be able to file a lawsuit for damages against a negligent party if their losses exceed the no-fault limits. A person’s right to sue in a no-fault state may be limited to serious injuries.
What Fault Standard Does Virginia Follow?
Virginia follows an at-fault system. If you are injured in a car accident in the state, you may file a claim for damages against the party who caused the accident.
To obtain a license plate or decals in the Commonwealth, an owner must prove that their vehicle has mandatory minimum insurance coverage. Liability insurance covers other people who are injured or killed due to an accident that you cause. It also provides coverage for another person’s property damage.
If you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another person, you can file a claim against their insurance policy for your losses.
Contributory Negligence in Virginia
Virginia is one of only a handful of states that follows a pure contributory negligence doctrine. Under this legal principle, if an injured party is found to be even partially to blame for their injuries, they are not entitled to collect damages. Your claim will be denied if your negligence contributed to the accident.
Insurance companies often use this doctrine to deny claims. They will claim that you were partially at-fault for the crash and are not entitled to compensation. In order to fight this harsh doctrine, you need skilled legal representation.
Why You Need an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Virginia
To recover compensation for your losses, you need an experienced legal team that knows how to stand up to insurance companies. A personal injury attorney can conduct an independent investigation to counter an insurance adjuster’s findings that your negligence contributed to the accident.
Without the help of a lawyer, you may end up settling your case for less than it is worth, or worse yet, having your claim denied altogether. An attorney can advocate for you and your right to recovery.
Hurt in a Virginia Car Accident? Contact Our Office Today.
If you were hurt in a car accident, do not wait; contact our office to discuss your case directly with an attorney. Call (757) 530-5273 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
The vast majority of car wrecks are caused by negligence or wrongdoing, but your claim can quickly be denied if the insurance company puts you even slightly at fault. Do not lose your right to compensation. Get started now.