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Contributory Negligence in Virginia: What You Need to Know

June 15, 2022 by The Parrish Law Firm

The state of Virginia apportions fault in any type of negligence-based accident in percentages. What you need to know about contributory negligence in Virginia is that having even a single percentage of fault or negligence assigned to you means you are barred from recovering any monetary damages at all.

This is where your case can benefit from a personal injury lawyer’s familiarity with state and local law. Your lawyer will collect evidence that proves you were not at fault and are therefore entitled to recover damages. He will also present your evidence to the at-fault party’s insurance representative during the negotiation process or prepare it for presentation in court if a settlement cannot be achieved.

Start by Understanding What Compensation Is Usually Recoverable in Virginia

In Virginia, you can recover the following damages if you were injured because of someone else’s negligence:

  • Current and anticipated medical care
  • Current and anticipated losses of income
  • “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
  • Mental and emotional trauma and distress

If a loved one did not survive an accident, Va. Code § 8.01-52 allows your family to recover the reasonable costs of their funeral and burial expenses and compensation for your sorrow and loss of companionship. In rare cases, you could also recover punitive damages for willful or wanton acts of negligence.

These damages are recoverable after a car or truck accident, slip and fall accident, medical malpractice, dog bite or attack, or any other negligence-based accident. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation during which you can explain your case and the lawyer will explain your possible financial compensation options.

Examples of Contributory Negligence

Here are some ways a personal injury defendant might claim you contributed to the accident:

  • You were hit by a distracted driver at a four-way intersection, but you did not come to a complete stop at your own stop sign
  • You slipped and fell on residential or commercial property, but were aware of a potential hazard like ice or debris and chose to ignore it
  • You were bitten or attacked by a neighbor’s dog, but were taunting or otherwise intentionally aggravating the animal

The personal injury lawyer who represents you will listen to your version of the events that led to your accident. If you do not bear any liability, your lawyer will explain how he plans to prove your lack of liability.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Prove You Were Not at Fault

Proving fault is critical to recovering monetary damages. Your lawyer can help you prove you did not contribute to the cause of the accident despite what the at-fault party has alleged.

Your lawyer will:

  • Conduct an independent investigation
  • Collect, organize, and submit evidence
  • Obtain and review your accident report

Your lawyer will listen to your version of the events that led to your accident and communicate with all relevant parties on your behalf. This includes witnesses, insurance company representatives, and law enforcement officers.

Evidence Your Lawyer Will Collect to Document Your Case

The majority of personal injury cases are settled out of court once compelling evidence of fault is presented to the at-fault party and their insurer.

Evidence that proves the cause and costs of your accident will include your:

  • Accident or incident report
  • Medical records and bills
  • Proof of lost income
  • Accident scene photos
  • Injury photos
  • Witness statements
  • Your own written statement

Your lawyer will handle evidence collection while you concentrate on recovering from your injuries.

Your Lawyer Will Ensure Your Case Adheres to the Statute of Limitations

Your ability to obtain compensation can be threatened by more than the state’s comparative negligence laws. If the statute of limitations applicable to your case expires, you could be left with no legal recourse to compel compensation.

In Virginia:

  • The personal injury statute of limitations is generally two years from the date your injuries occurred, according to Va. Code § 8.01-243
  • The wrongful death statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of a loved one’s demise, according to Va. Code § 8.01-244

The lawyer who handles your case will interpret and explain the relevant statute of limitations and any factors that might alter it. With sufficient notice from you, he will also ensure your case is filed on time.

Get a Free Review of Your Car Accident Case

Is an at-fault party in your personal injury case accusing you of full or partial responsibility for causing the accident? At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, our personal injury lawyer will explain everything you need to know about contributory negligence in Virginia. We will also explain the steps we take to ensure fault and liability are accurately assigned in your case.

Find out how hard we fight for fair compensation for you by calling one of our case review team members.

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