Determining liability after a car crash—meaning who is responsible for the injuries that occurred—is essential to effectively bring a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. While some cases are clear-cut, there are instances where the injured person—the plaintiff—may share some blame for the accident as well. If the plaintiff is found even partially at fault for the accident, this impacts the potential damages award they may receive. Because of this, it is critical to know how Virginia treats plaintiffs who are found partially at fault for the accident.
Recently in Suffolk, a ten-vehicle crash caused all southbound lanes to be closed for an afternoon. According to police, the incident occurred around 2:00pm, and it took over two hours to clear the roads. While there still is no information about potential injuries of people involved in the crash, the accident caused major delays and the backup was at least two miles long.
States differ in how they assess liability depending on the plaintiff’s potential fault in the accident. The question of how much—if any—the plaintiff is responsible for their own injuries is decided by the jury. After hearing all of the evidence at trial, the jury will determine how much they believe the plaintiff is at fault. The percentage the jury decides upon—along with the state the case is being brought in—impacts how much the plaintiff can financially recover from the lawsuit.
There are two negligence laws governing how much money a plaintiff can receive if they are found partially to blame for the accident. Most states follow comparative negligence law; this means the total damage award is reduced based on the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault. For example, if the jury decided to award the plaintiff $100,000 in damages—but they also found him 25 percent at fault for the accident—the plaintiff’s total award would be reduced to $75,000.
However, Virginia follows the law of contributory negligence, not comparative negligence. In a contributory negligence state, plaintiffs are wholly unable to recover if they are at all responsible for the accident. It does not matter whether the plaintiff was one percent or fifty percentage responsible for the incident; in this case, the plaintiff will be unable to recover any damages at all.
While Virginia’s contributory negligence laws make it more difficult for plaintiffs to financially recover, experienced personal injury attorneys are equipped to find evidence and argue the plaintiff was not at fault. Therefore, individuals thinking of bringing a personal injury lawsuit in Virginia should contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible who can help pursue the case.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you loved has suffered serious injuries in a Virginia car accident, contact the Schupak Law Firm. Attorney Sidney Schupak has decades of experience representing victims in their fight to get the compensation they deserve. To learn more about the Schupak Law Firm, and to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, give us a call today at 240-833-3914.