As you make your way downtown, your favorite song plays on the radio, and you could not feel better both physically and emotionally. All of a sudden, though, another motorist enters your lane, and you have little time to move out of his way. As a result, the motorist strikes your car, leaving you with major injuries.
You later discover that the driver who caused your accident in Virginia was behaving negligently behind the wheel at the time. Fortunately, in this situation, it is within your rights to seek damages through the civil court system.
What are Virginia's laws regarding proving fault?
Receiving damages for the injuries you have suffered in your car crash is possible in Virginia, but the process is more challenging in Virginia compared with other states. For starters, you need to provide proof that another party caused your injuries. Next, you need to prove that he or she was completely responsible for the accident.
The reason for the second step is that Virginia adheres to the principle of contributory negligence, where you may receive monetary damages following an accident only if you did not contribute to the crash in any way. This standard is stricter than the principle of comparative negligence that many other states use, where the amount of damages you receive would be based on your level of fault in the accident.
Virginia laws regarding receiving damages
In Virginia, you can seek both non-economic and economic damages. The latter includes any expenses you have to pay as a result of the accident, including lost wages, automobile repairs and doctor visit bills, and health care co-pays. Meanwhile, non-economic damages include losing the ability to enjoy your life, pain/suffering and emotional distress.
Punitive damages might additionally be available in a case of egregious fault -- for example, if the person who caused your car accident was drinking and driving at the time.
Your rights following your injury-causing car crash
If another driver has injured you due to being careless on the road, you have the right to file a personal injury claim against this individual, seeking damages. In Virginia, you must file your claim within two years of the accident. An attorney can guide you through this process with the goal of helping you to recover the maximum amount of damages possible given the circumstances of your car wreck.