Virginia is just like any other state in the US when it comes to car accidents. There are predetermined guidelines for determining who’s at fault and who should receive compensation. Because situations involving car accidents can become complicated, it is recommended that you consult with a personal injury lawyer before proceeding with a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
In the state of Virginia, you have just two years to file a personal injury claim for car accidents. You have just five years to file a claim for property damages. It is important to keep in mind that the amount of time you have to file these claims starts ticking away from the very moment the accident happens.
Auto Insurance is not the Same
It is vital to understand that the time limit for auto insurance policies is not the same as filing a personal injury or property damage claim. Your auto insurance provider will have a time limited listed on your policy regarding how long you have to file a claim with them. In most cases, you are required to notify your insurance provider immediately after having an accident.
Insurance Claims Take Time
The unfortunate truth is that the process of investigating any insurance claim and then working out the settlement are both going to take some time. You want to get started as soon as possible because that two year time limit is going to go by faster than you might think.
Going to court would be the next step after working out a deal with the insurance provider has begun. Typically, individuals to court because your insurance provider is not willing to come to an agreement for compensation for damages that the accident caused. By not wasting any time talking to your insurance provider, you will be able to use the information you collected to support your case.
The only situation where the two and five year time limits do not apply is if the car accident involved an individual who was employed by the government. When this happens, the government is responsible for filing all of the claims and seeing that everyone involved gets their money. An example of this type of accident would include being hit by a city bus as fault would lie with the bus driver, a government employee.
“Contributory Negligence” rule
If you get in an accident in the state of Virginia, it is important for you to understand the “contributory negligence” rule. This rule states that if it is determined that you are even slightly to blame for the accident, you could lose some of the money (or all of the money) that you were originally entitled to receive.
Virginia is actually one of the few states that honors the contributory fault law. This just means that if they decide that you were even slightly at fault for the accident, you are going to lose the recovery damages. As a Virginia driver, you are only at fault and eligible to receive compensation for the accident if it can be proven that the other driver was 100 percent to blame for the accident.
Determining contributory negligence can be difficult and can greatly affect the outcome of your case. In order to get the best results for your case, it is recommended that you consult with a personal injury lawyer.
Multiple People Involved
The only exception to contributory negligence can be when there are multiple people involved in the accident. This means that if you and at least two other drivers were involved in the accident, the damages will be split up between you and the other drivers. In this situation it would need to be proven that the other two drivers were to blame for the accident and not you.
This is one of the sternest laws when it comes to vehicular accidents and it is a law most people do not know about it (unless they’ve always lived in Virginia). Most of the other states are more lenient on awarding compensation for an accident regardless of who caused the accident.
Although common, car accidents should be taken seriously. Individuals involved in a car accident may be physically injured, be responsible for expensive medical bills and may even have to take time off of work.
Have You Been Involved In A Car Accident In Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been hurt in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your free case consultation.