Virginia Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury law in Virginia attempts to cover all areas and types of injuries suffered by individuals. Some of the most common areas are automobile accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, and product liability, among others. Whether or not you are entitled to compensation may depend on the type of accident that caused the injury.
When a person is injured from another person's negligence, the injured party may file suit against the offending party. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if it is found that a defendant was negligent and that such negligence was a cause of your injury. Personal injury cases depends on liability, damages, and whether or not you can collect from the negligent party or parties. It is important to note that Virginia follows the doctrine of contributory negligence, whereby the negligence of the claimant completely bars recovery.
Virginia Car Accident Liability
Virginia operates on a "fault" system, which determines liability based on a showing that one party was at fault because of negligence, which caused the accident. In other words, if the other driver is to blame for the accident, you can collect damages, and vice versa.
Generally, people who operate motor vehicles must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. Failure to use reasonable care is the basis for most car accident lawsuits. In these cases, proof of fault is often contested and requires an investigation. A driver may also be liable for an accident caused by intentional or reckless conduct. A reckless driver is one who drives unsafely, with willful disregard for the probability that the driving may cause an accident.
Virginia Car Insurance Laws
The other driver's insurance company is the liability carrier and may pay you for your out-of-pocket damages and pain and suffering. The mandatory minimum liability coverage in Virginia is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for personal injury, and $20,000 for property damage. If the person who caused your injury has automobile liability insurance, an insurance adjuster will gather the pertinent records including medical records, medical bills, wage loss verification and the like in an effort to verify your damages.
If you do not receive an acceptable offer from the insurance company, you can file a lawsuit. Lawsuits are generally filed when negotiations fail. If you file a lawsuit against a negligent driver, your attorney will need to prove that the other party was negligent and that the other party's negligence caused injuries that resulted in compensable damages. Don't let an insurance company rush you into a settlement before you can adequately evaluate the extent of your damages.
If you are in a car accident with an uninsured driver who is at fault, the uninsured motorist provisions of your own policy may apply. This coverage would also apply if you were hit by a "hit and run" driver. This insurance acts just like the insurance the uninsured driver should have had. Under-insured motorist coverage picks up where the liability coverage of the other driver leaves off. If your personal injuries exceed the amount of the other driver's liability insurance, your under-insured motorist insurance covers the excess damages under current law.
Virginia Premises Liability
If you were injured at someone else's home or a Virginia commercial establishment, the person or entity responsible for the premises may be found liable. This can cover a variety of situations including slip and falls, dog bites, assaults, among others. The person liable for your damages is the party in control of the property. That party is responsible for the care, maintenance and inspection of the property. For example, an owner may not be the responsible party if he or she has leased the property to another party who actually has control over the premises.
The responsible party must pay for damages if the injured party proves that (1) the condition of the property was dangerous; (2) the owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition; and (3) the owner had a reasonable opportunity to correct or warn of the condition, which was not reasonably open and obvious to the injured party at the time of the accident.
In general, it is the duty of an owner to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of the premises. He must warn a visitor of any dangerous conditions that are known, or should be known to him, if the conditions are not likely to be perceived by the visitor and to repair the conditions within a reasonable time frame.
Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
As you can see, a personal injury attorney may be critical to your claim. If you've been injured by the careless actions of another person, you should consider hiring a local attorney as soon as possible after the incident. It's important to speak to a lawyer familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction. Fortunately, you can contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney to evaluate your claim.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
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- Who Is Responsible When A Person Is Injured?
- How Do I Decide If I Need To Hire An Attorney?
- How Much Will An Attorney Cost?
- How Long Do I Have To Hire An Attorney?
- How Will My Claim Be Processed?
- What Damages Can I Recover?
- How Can I Determine How Much My Claim Is Worth?