How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident in Virginia?

You and your lawyer can investigate and decide who was at fault in a car accident so you can file a claim with their insurance company. The insurance company will also determine fault for a car crash during the insurance claim. Sometimes, liability is clear. The evidence points to a specific person’s actions.

However, this type of case can be complicated, especially if a collision involves multiple vehicles and drivers. Determining fault requires thorough investigations to establish who should be liable for injuries.

The insurance company will speak to all parties, gather evidence, and consider various factors to decide whether its policyholder is at fault. They might watch the traffic camera footage, talk to eyewitnesses, and review the police report.

Evidence Commonly Used to Determine Fault

The insurance company can establish liability for a car crash by investigating and reviewing the evidence they find. The evidence they might obtain to determine who is at fault is listed below.

Police Report

The accident report provides all information about a car crash an officer discovers during their investigation. The report might contain details such as:

  • Type of damage to all vehicles
  • Description of events leading up to the accident
  • Determination of fault
  • Diagrams showing how the crash occurred
  • Types of injuries sustained
  • Traffic citations issued
  • Names of people who witnessed the collisions

The officer gives their opinion on who they believe is at fault for the accident. However, their determination isn’t necessarily fact. The insurer might disagree with the findings and review other evidence to establish liability.

Accident Scene Photos

The investigating officer, witnesses, or people involved in the accident might take pictures of the scene. Photographic evidence is valuable in car accident cases. It can show vehicle damage, debris on the road, each car’s final resting place, and other relevant information.

A video might also be available, showing each party’s behavior before the crash. Traffic camera footage can prove someone ran a red light or failed to yield the right of way at an intersection.

Statements from Witnesses

Eyewitness statements can support a person’s claims about a car crash. Two drivers involved in the accident might blame each other for what happened. Speaking to witnesses can prove or disprove each party’s version of events.

The insurance carrier can review statements made by witnesses to the investigating officer at the scene. They can also reach out to witnesses to discuss what they saw each driver doing moments before the collision.

The Importance of Contributory Negligence

Negligence is a critical part of proving fault in a car accident. Negligence occurs when one party fails to exercise reasonable care to avoid harming another. If you can show another driver is negligent in causing the crash, they should be liable for your injury. However, shared fault can ruin your chance of seeking compensation.

In Virginia, pure contributory negligence prohibits an accident victim from receiving compensation if they share any percentage of fault. Even one percent of liability prevents a financial recovery.

You should avoid admitting fault after a car crash, even if you think your actions somehow contributed. Assigning fault to multiple parties can damage the outcome of your case. For example, suppose a jury decides a drunk driver is 95 percent responsible but also assigns you five percent of the fault for texting while driving. In that case, you can’t hold the drunk driver liable even though driving under the influence is negligent behavior.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Today

Since 2011, Deering Hedrick has represented injured clients in Virginia Beach, VA. Our legal team will fight to try to reach a favorable result in your case. You can count on us to aggressively pursue the compensation and justice you deserve.

If you sustained injuries in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, call us at 757-383-6848 today for your free consultation.

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