Introduction to Virginia Car Accident Lawsuits and Lawyers
Few states are as steeped in American history as Virginia. Residents of and visitors to Virginia alike know of the vast array of activities that await those looking for something unique to do. Those who like the beach can travel east to the Atlantic Ocean and spend time in Virginia Beach, Newport News, and other coastal towns. Head inland toward Richmond and colonial Williamsburg, and visitors can set foot in the same places where our country’s history was made. Aside from all of this are the variety of outdoor activities that can be pursued: climbing, hiking, and canoeing (for example). Not only this, but some large employers – including those who have contracts with the federal government – have their corporate headquarters in Virginia. All of this, coupled with the state’s 8 million-person population, makes Virginia a busy place to visit or in which to live. This means those traveling in Virginia by car need to be cautious and alert in order to avoid being involved in a car crash.
Virginia Car Accident Statistics
Fatal car accidents occur with some regularity on Virginia highways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 753 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Virginia in 2015. This is approximately two people every single day of the year last year. This number is higher than the previous two years as well: In 2013, 740 people died in traffic collisions and in 2014, the number of fatalities had dropped to 703. Virginia roadways, it seems, are becoming increasingly dangerous.
Statistics compiled by NHTSA also show that:
- Over 200 of the 753 fatalities occurred in traffic collisions in which at least one driver’s breath or blood alcohol level was over 0.08;
- Fairfax County, Chesterfield County, and Fauquier County (three of the more populous counties in the state) together accounted for about 10% of all traffic fatalities in 2015;
- As of 2015, Charlotte County has the state’s highest five-year fatality rate – 57.37 of every 100,000 people have died in traffic accidents every year for the past five years.
As wonderful and scenic as Virginia can be, it is important that those using Virginia’s roads are alert and aware of the likelihood of being involved in a Virginia collision. A car crash in any state can cause an injury victim to incur medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses and injuries. These can be quite expensive to address, which in turn can cause additional suffering and hardship for the injury victim and his or her family.
Virginia is a Fault-Based State
Unlike most other states, Virginia does not require motorists to have an auto insurance policy (if they choose not to, drivers must pay an uninsured motorist fee). Drivers in Virginia may purchase an insurance policy to provide compensation to injured individuals if the driver is determined to be at fault in causing a crash. Virginia is a “fault-based” state, meaning that individuals who are injured or suffer a loss because another driver acted in a careless manner can pursue claims for compensation against the at-fault driver and/or his or her insurance company. If the injured victim files a claim with his or her own insurance, that insurance company may pursue the at-fault driver for reimbursement.
Virginia is one of a handful of states that bars an injured plaintiff from recovering compensation if he or she contributed in any way to his or her injuries. This is a harsh doctrine and is known as the “pure contributory negligence” doctrine. For example, consider a car accident in which the other driver is purely at fault but the injury victim delays in seeking medical treatment. If it is determined that the injury victim’s decision to delay seeking treatment contributed to the severity of his or her injuries, the injury victim may be precluded from recovering any compensation at all.
Virginia Injury Victims Have Limited Time in Which to File a Lawsuit
To make matters worse for injury victims, Virginia’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is only two years. This means that injury victims do not have much time within with to file a lawsuit for compensation. Injury victims should assume that they only have two years from the date of the accident to initiate a lawsuit – filing a lawsuit after this deadline can result in the case being dismissed and the injury victim receiving no compensation at all.
Stern Law, PLLC Helps Injured Virginia Victims Recover Compensation
You should contact an experienced Virginia car crash lawyer like attorney Ken Stern of Stern Law, PLLC as soon as possible following a car accident. Attorney Stern has the knowledge and resources necessary to evaluate the strength of your case and file a lawsuit on your behalf within the short amount of time available to you. Stern Law, PLLC will work with you throughout the pendency of your case so that you are kept informed of the status of your case but can focus on your health and recover. Call Stern Law, PLLC today at (844) 808-7529.