Speeding is becoming so commonplace on our roads that we do not give it much thought when we see someone driving above the speed limit. However, this dangerous habit is proving to be one of the topmost causes of traffic accidents, accounting for a quarter of all traffic deaths on the road.
Car collisions can be horrifying and devastating, bringing in a lot of uncertainties and suffering in their wake. If you are a victim of a car crash, you face the overwhelming prospect to financially manage medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs, apart from recovering from your injuries.
To seek and recover the rightful compensation for your injuries and other damages, you may need to file an insurance claim or even a lawsuit in court. If you were partially at fault in the accident, especially because you were speeding, you may be concerned about liability. Let us discuss some points to help you understand how speeding may impact your personal injury compensation case.
Impact of Speeding on the Value of a Personal Injury Claim
In a fault state like Virginia, the law needs to determine and assign negligence and liability for each accident. Speeding becomes a crucial factor to identify the negligent and at-fault party in the collision.
Virginia is also one of the few states which follow the contributory negligence policy. Under this policy, the law proposes that one must be totally not at fault in order to seek compensation. The plaintiff, if found responsible for the accident even in the smallest proportion, may not be able to recover any compensation from the defendant.
While it may seem unfair to some people, as there would often be at least some contribution from each party in causing the accident, such is the car accident claim policy under the Virginia law. Being involved in an accident, you must hire an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney to evaluate if the insurer or the other driver might use the contributory negligence defense.
Consideration of liability with regard to speeding as one of the factors in a motor vehicle accident case is critical to seek compensation, and more importantly, to determine the compensation you may be able to secure.
Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence
While most of the at-fault states follow a comparative negligence policy, Virginia is one of the very few states which practice contributory negligence.
Comparative negligence takes into account the damage caused by each of the involved parties, calculates the proportion of responsibility for each of them, and then permits each party to seek and recover compensation on a pro-rata basis.
For example, if one of the drivers involved in the accident fails to yield, and the other driver was going above the speed limit, both of them would share fault. The driver with the lesser proportion of fault can seek to recover damages, but the percentage of fault assigned to them will reduce the compensation they can recover.
Contributory negligence policy proposes that only the party without any fault in causing the accident can recover compensation. This policy bars an individual from securing damages for an accident if they are responsible even to the smallest extent, for that accident.
For example, suppose you were in a car accident with a drunk driver and suffered serious injuries, but were found to have flouted one of the basic traffic rules. Although the drunk driver who hit you was responsible to a larger degree, the contributory negligence theory in Virginia may bar you from recovering damages on the basis of your improper actions.
How Does Speeding Affect Your Chances to Recover Compensation?
Picture yourself driving through an empty intersection, going above the speed limit, and another car races past the red signal to smash into the side of your vehicle, seemingly out of nowhere. Who is at fault here?
It may come as a shock to you that in Virginia, the law may reject your personal injury compensation claim even if the other driver was blatantly negligent. You driving over the speed limit may hamper your chances of recovery under the contributory negligence rule, if the court determines that you were at fault in some measure.
Choose a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney in Virginia
Determination of liability and the laws of contributory negligence in car accident cases in Virginia can prove to be complicated and somewhat disconcerting for most people, especially without qualified legal representation by an attorney adept in this area of practice.
Because Virginia car accident law varies based on the specific circumstances of a case, it is important to hire an experienced attorney who will work to protect your legal interests. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a speeding driver, or yourself were partly at fault for being over the speed limit, contact the legal team at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to find out what type of damages you can recover.
Our skilled and experienced personal injury attorneys have been advocating for clients injured in car accidents since 1985 and will pursue a strong legal strategy to achieve the best possible outcome considering the circumstances of your case. Call us today at 800-752-0042 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys for a free case evaluation.
An experienced personal injury attorney with dual licensure in Virginia and North Carolina, Eric Washburn received a B.B.A. in Finance from James Madison University—initially worked in the information technology field before obtaining his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Once an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Danville, Va., Eric has been recognized by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in Virginia since 2014.