What Does ‘At Fault’ Mean in a Car Accident Case in Virginia?
In Virginia, car accident insurance laws employ a fault-based system, sometimes called a tort system. “At fault” in a car accident case in Virginia means that when a driver acts negligently or carelessly, and their actions cause an accident, they are financially responsible for any injuries or damages sustained by other parties.
In most cases, the at-fault driver will have an auto liability policy to payout to cover some or all these damages.
Understanding the Role of Negligence and Fault in a Virginia Car Accident Case
All drivers have a responsibility to follow traffic laws and drive in a way that does not cause undue harm to others or increase the likelihood of an accident. When a motorist acts carelessly, recklessly, or negligently, the chances of an accident occurring increase dramatically.
Proving negligence and liability require showing four things:
- The driver had a duty to do something or not do something.
- The driver failed to uphold this duty.
- This failure caused a traffic accident.
- Another party suffered injuries and economic damages.
For example, imagine a driver ran a red light and hit you. They had a duty to stop at the red light but failed to do so. As a direct result, they collided with your vehicle. You suffered injuries and had to go to the hospital. Under Virginia law, you have a right to take legal action against the at-fault driver to recover compensation for your expenses and losses.
How Accident Victims Can Hold the At-Fault Driver Responsible for Their Losses
There are generally two ways we may be able to recover compensation for you after another motorist causes a Virginia car accident. We can negotiate an out-of-court settlement, or we can litigate your case by filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Depending on the facts of your case and numerous other factors, one of these options may be a better bet than the other for you. In general, it is quicker and easier to negotiate an out-of-court settlement and save the money we would have to spend taking your case to trial. However, if we cannot get a just settlement from the insurance company, negotiating may not be the best route.
Sometimes we have to take a case to court because the insurer representing the at-fault party will not agree to a fair settlement offer.
We Can Handle the Complexities of Proving Fault and Liability
The question of who was at fault for your accident may seem like a relatively straightforward one: someone else hit you, so it seems that they should simply have to pay you for your losses.
Proving that someone caused your accident and that they are responsible for paying you are in fact two separate issues: one entails proving fault and the other entails proving liability. However, we can handle all of the complexity involved in this part of your case.
Consider the following situations where you may benefit from our help with proving fault and liability:
- There is limited evidence that the other person was at fault. For example, let’s say that the police officer who arrived at the scene of the crash did not cite the other driver for a traffic violation. We can gather additional evidence to prove that the other person caused your crash, such as evidence from eyewitnesses and traffic cameras.
- The person who hit you is different from the person who is responsible for paying you. The person who is at fault could be different from the party who is liable. So, while a truck driver may have caused the crash (and thus, they were at fault), the trucking company may be deemed liable – and therefore, responsible for paying you. We can navigate your case through these complexities.
Recoverable Damages in a Virginia Car Accident Case
When a personal injury lawyer Virginia from our team tries to hold an at-fault motorist responsible for the car accident they caused, what we are doing is pursuing compensation to cover your accident-related expenses and losses.
The damages you can recover in an injury case differ from case to case, but often include:
- Medical care costs and related expenses
- Ongoing and future care costs
- Lost wages and benefits
- Diminished earning capacity
- Miscellaneous costs and out-of-pocket expenses
- “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
- Wrongful death damages, when appropriate
Let the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Review Your Car Accident Case in Virginia
At the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, we take on many types of car accidents and injury cases in and around Manassas, VA. Because firm founder James R. Parrish used to represent the big insurance companies in car accident and personal injury cases, we know how the insurance companies work better than anyone.
We can use our information from inside the insurance industry to your advantage, countering any tactics the insurers use to try to reduce your payout. We can pursue compensation and help you hold the at-fault driver responsible for their actions.
Reach out to our team today and let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to discuss the facts of your accident and help you understand your legal options for holding the at-fault driver liable.
A Virginia Car Accident Attorney Can Fight for Your Compensation
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a car accident in Virginia, we may be able to help you hold the at-fault driver liable and recover a payout on your behalf. We offer no-cost consultations and can help you:
- Identify the at-fault motorist
- Understand your legal rights and options
- Prove negligence and liability
- Document your accident-related damages
- Pursue compensation based on the case we build
- Negotiate a settlement or litigate your case
- Ensure your case complies with important deadlines, such as the time limit on filing lawsuits per Code § 8.01-243
Speak to Us About Your Car Accident Injuries Today
Attorney Jim Parrish and the rest of the personal injury team at the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC fights for compensation on behalf of car accident victims in Manassas, Fairfax, or any of the surrounding Northern Virginia communities. Call us today for your free case evaluation with a member of our team.
Unsure about what to do after a car accident or have questions regarding your auto accident case that remain unanswered? Download our free Virginia Car Accident Guide eBook or give us a call at (571) 229-1800.