A car crash can be a complicated affair. Many decisions and actions (or nonactions) took place leading up to the collision and it is not always easy to untangle the web of what happened. Still, if you were injured in a car crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may want to know if you can pursue a personal injury claim.
What is negligence?
Negligence occurs when one party does not exercise their duty of care. This duty of care involves the actions a reasonable person in the same situation would take (or not take).
When a party breaches this duty by failing to act with due care, and the breach causes an accident that injures or kills another person, the person injured or their loved ones in the case of a death may have grounds for pursuing a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence.
What if I was partially at fault?
Negligence is not always straight forward. Many motorists take risks on the road, for example, and do not always strictly follow traffic signs or signals. You may wonder if you can still pursue a personal injury claim if you were partially at fault for the accident.
Unfortunately, Virginia follows the laws of “pure contributory negligence.” In Virginia, if you contributed to your injury in any way, no matter how slight, you cannot pursue a personal injury lawsuit. It is a strict rule. The defendant must be 100% at fault for you to receive compensation in a personal injury case.
While other states recognize “comparative negligence,” which allows plaintiffs to pursue personal injury cases if they were partially at fault, Virginia is one of the few states that does not follow some version of this rule. So, if you want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you will want to make sure you were in no way at fault for the incident that led to your injuries.