Under Virginia law, when a victim is injured in a car accident caused by the negligent actions of another party, that victim is entitled to pursue legal action against that party in order to obtain financial compensation for the losses their injuries have caused them to sustain. Some of these losses include medical expenses, loss of income from being unable to work during recovery, permanent disability due to the injuries, loss of life enjoyment, mental anguish, and more.
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In order to be successful in a claim, the victim – usually through their car accident attorney – needs to prove that the accident was not their fault, but the fault of the other party. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, an attorney may introduce the testimony of an accident reconstruction specialist who can prove how the accident occurred and who the at-fault party is based on the evidence.
There are some car accidents that the fault is obvious, and it is almost impossible for the insurance company to dispute the findings. For instance, in a rear-end crash, the driver in the back is almost always found to be liable for the crash. The legal theory is that the driver should have been paying attention and not following so closely and therefore would have had enough time to stop.
But the majority of other types of crashes are not so clear-cut. There are many crashes where there is a question of who had the right of way when the crash occurred, were there any traffic violations that caused the crash, or who are all responsible parties in a multi-vehicle crash.
It is questions like these that crash reconstruction experts can help prove which driver was at fault for the accident. In serious crashes, law enforcement will bring their own crash investigation team in to examine all the evidence, recreate the crash, and make that determination. Their goal is to determine whether or not a criminal act was committed by either driver that caused the crash.
A Virginia accident attorney may also feel that hiring an independent accident reconstruction expert will be helpful to your case. A reconstruction expert will examine all of the physical evidence, such as skid marks, damage to vehicles, and where each vehicle ended up after the impact. If there is a vehicle event data recorder (all vehicles manufactured after September 2014 have one), the investigator will use the information contained there – degrees of steering, brake usage, accelerator usage, and engine RPMs – to also determine what happened.
The conclusions of the accident reconstruction expert can be used by a Virginia injury attorney as evidence when negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. If there is not settlement agreed upon and the case goes to trial, the technician’s report can be introduced as evidence, as well as the direct testimony of the expert.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Attorney
Car crash victims often suffer from injuries which require a long-term recovery process. This often involves high medical expenses, as well as lost wages from work, and pain and suffering. And it is not uncommon for victims to suffer life-long damage from these injuries.
Insurance companies will often try to pressure car crash victims to settle their claims quickly and for much less than what the victim deserves. That is why it is critical to contact a skilled Virginia personal injury attorney immediately following a collision for advice and direction. For more information, download our free guide to car crash injuries in Virginia.
After graduating cum laude from law school at the University of Richmond, Seth practiced personal injury law out of Roanoke, Virginia and in Hampton, Virginia before joining Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp where he represents personal injury clients in both state and federal courts. In 2016, he was named as a Virginia “Rising Star” lawyer by Super Lawyer’s magazine, an honor bestowed upon only 2.5% of attorneys in the state.