How Does Fault Contribute to a Virginia Car Accident Claim?

By Peter DePaolis

Getting assessed with even some of the fault for a car accident in Virginia could destroy your legal right to pursue any financial compensation for your losses in an injury claim. If the police report says that you are partly at fault, Virginia law could bar you from recovering money damages. Because of this harsh consequence, you never want to admit fault after a collision in our state.

A Virginia personal injury attorney can negotiate your possible level of negligence and handle your personal injury claim. Let’s go a little more in depth about how fault can contribute to a Virginia car accident claim. 

Virginia Law on Contributory Fault in Car Accidents

Nearly every state adopted the comparative fault rule, rather than the contributory fault rule, long ago. The comparative fault means that you can still recover some of your losses if the other party was more at fault than you were in causing the collision. For example, if the other driver was 90% at fault and you were 10% at fault, you could still recover 90% of your financial losses. The other 10% of your damages would not be recoverable from the other driver because of your 10% of the total fault.

Contributory fault, however, is an old legal concept that prohibits an injured person from receiving any money from the other party if the injured person contributed even one percent of the negligence that caused the accident that injured them. In our scenario, if your negligence was only 10% of the total fault in causing the accident and the other driver was 90% responsible, the other driver would not have to pay you any money for your injuries or other losses.

This extreme result makes it all the more important never to tell the police officer, the other driver, or anyone else, even if you thought you might have caused the accident. You will want to be especially diligent about staying entirely off of social media until after your case gets resolved. 

Even then, you never want to make an admission of fault in a car accident in Virginia. Also, if you did not get injured, but someone else claims to have an injury, like the other driver, you do not want to admit any blame. 

Claims adjusters are known for asking people to give recorded statements, under the excuse that doing so will give them the opportunity to tell their side of the story. In reality, a recorded statement will give the claims adjuster a reason to assess you with fault that could make you liable to pay the damages of other parties involved in the accident and preclude you from receiving compensation for your injuries. 

Types of Damages

Losses from a car accident could involve a substantial amount of money. What looked like a minor fender bender could create thousands of dollars in car repair bills and additional money in medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Prepare for an astronomically high amount to be at stake in your claim from the collision. 

Having that mindset will motivate you to be particularly diligent about not giving anyone the information they could use against you. With our strict contributory negligence rule in Virginia, you could protect your financial interests by letting a Virginia personal injury lawyer do the talking for you and tackle the issue of fault.

We are happy to offer a free initial consultation with no obligation. Reach out to our office today, we gladly offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.