If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s recklessness, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your losses, such as your medical bills and lost wages. To win your claim, however, you must prove that the other party was negligent, meaning they acted in a way that was irresponsible and caused harm.
In addition, every state has negligence doctrines in place which determine when and how much compensation an accident victim, or plaintiff, can recover if they were partially at fault for the accident.
The Commonwealth of Virginia uses a particularly strict legal doctrine known as pure contributory negligence. This rule essentially means that a plaintiff will be barred from recovering any compensation if they are found to be in any way responsible for the crash.
Given this harsh rule, it’s crucial that you turn to an experienced attorney who has the skills and resources to gather evidence and build a solid case on your behalf.
Do you have questions about seeking compensation after an injury? Call the Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer at Barney Injury Law at (757) 965-7200 or use our contact form to request a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
In most injury claims, the accident victim, or plaintiff, must prove that the defendant was negligent to establish that they were at fault for the accident that injured the plaintiff.
Virginia is one of only a few states that applies the law of pure contributory negligence. Under this law, if the plaintiff has any responsibility for the accident that results in injury, they cannot recover any compensation. Said another way, this means you must have had 0% responsibility in the accident that hurt you, while the other party must be 100% responsible for the accident.
Most states have moved away from contributory negligence to the comparative fault rule. Comparative fault allows the judge to rule in favor of the plaintiff even if they share a percentage of the fault for the accident. The judge can balance the financial award based on the percent of fault each party has in the accident. In other words, if you were found to be 30 percent at fault for the accident that injured you, you could recover 70 percent of the compensation available.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, however, you must show that you are free from fault to recover the compensation you need. In a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover compensation to cover:
- Medical expenses
- Missed wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Property damage
- Mental trauma and mental health treatment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of life enjoyment
The Other Party Was At Fault. What Happens Now?
It is crucial to seek help from a Virginia personal injury attorney as soon as possible after you’re injured in an accident. An attorney can help you determine if you have a case under Virginia law and if you meet the standards set for contributory negligence.
When they start working on your case, one of the first things your law firm will do is launch an investigation into the accident that injured you. The accident investigators will gather information from the scene of the accident, interview eyewitnesses, secure video footage from security cams, hire expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction experts, gather medical records, and any other information that may be needed to help prove fault in your case.
After gathering evidence and documentation of your injuries and treatment, your attorney will prepare a letter for the responsible party’s insurance company demonstrating how their client was negligent and injured you. Then, your attorneys will negotiate assertively and strategically for the full and fair compensation you need.
If a settlement is not reached, your Virginia personal injury attorney will be fully prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf. Virginia law states a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of your injury, so your attorney will work to ensure that the deadline is met.
How Barney Injury Law Can Help
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for your treatment and other expenses. With more than a decade of experience representing those who’ve been hurt in our community, Scott R. Barney, Esq., has the skills and resources necessary to make a difference for you.
Throughout your case, you will receive personalized, one-on-one attention, and we’ll work tirelessly to meet your needs. Don’t wait until it is too late to get the answers and justice you deserve. Contact the Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer at Barney Injury Law today for a free consultation by calling (757) 965-7200 or by filling out our contact form.