Understanding Virginia Car Accident Law

The state of Virginia is full of historic landmarks and home to some of the country’s most exciting history. Regardless of if you are planning on exploring the streets of Colonial America in Jamestown or you want to get a glimpse of the life of the first President of the U.S., Virginia is a fun state to live in, visit and explore. Unfortunately, due to the high rate of tourism and the high population, the roadways are often dangerous, which has led to hundreds of car accidents year after year. If you happen to be involved in a car accident, knowing Virginia’s laws can be beneficial.

Proving Fault in Car Accident Cases

It is not as easy to recover damages after a car accident in the state of Virginia as it is in other states. The first step is to prove that the other drive was “at fault” for the accident that occurred, which means they would be responsible for the injuries you suffered.

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Additionally, you have to prove that the other driver or person involved was 100 percent to blame. In Virginia, the contributory negligence rule applies – which states that you will only be able to recover damages if the court discovers that you were not, in any way, responsible for the accident you were involved in. This rule is much stricter than the comparative negligence law that exists in a number of other states.

Virginia Car Accident Compensation Laws

In the state of Virginia, the following laws and requirements are in place related to car accident damages:

Statute of Limitations

  • Virginia statute 8.01-243: Unless otherwise provided in this section or by other statute, every action for personal injuries, whatever the theory of recovery, and every action for damages resulting from fraud, shall be brought within two years after the cause of action accrues.
  • Virginia statute 8.01-243 B: Every action for injury to property, including actions by a parent or guardian of an infant against a tort-feasor for expenses of curing or attempting to cure such infant from the result of a personal injury or loss of services of such infant, shall be brought within five years after the cause of action accrues. An infant’s claim for medical expenses pursuant to subsection B of § 01-36 accruing on or after July 1, 2013, shall be governed by the applicable statute of limitations that applies to the infant’s cause of action.

Limits on Damages

  • Virginia statute § 8.01-38.1 places a cap of $350,000on punitive damages courts may award to punish wrongdoers. If a jury in Virginia exceeds the cap on punitive damages, judges are required to reduce the award to the maximum allowed by law.
  • $2,500 for any minor’s malicious or willful destruction of someone else’s property
  • Limits on any claims against the government

Types of Damages Recoverable after a Virginia Car Accident 

When trying to determine your total damages that you suffered in a car accident, you should remember that you can recover both non-economic and economic damages. Some of the types of economic recovery you can receive include any out-of-pocket expenses, such as lost wages, medical bills and car repairs. Non-economic damages including loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and pain and suffering.

In some situations, punitive damages may be able to be recovered as well. These are damages that have the sole purpose of punishing the person at fault, such as an intoxicated driver.

If you are ever involved in a car accident that was not your fault in the state of Virginia, then it is a good idea to hire a car accident attorney for help. You can learn more about car accident law in Virginia by contacting the insightful attorneys at Hilton & Somer, LLC by calling 703-782-8349.

Additional Reading

How a Trucking Accident is Different from a Car Accident?

5 Safety Tips to Avoid Accidents