Understanding Automobile Accidents in Virginia Beach
Automobile accidents, unfortunately, are a common occurrence in any city landscape, and Virginia Beach is no exception. While the city’s authorities have put in action a range of preventive measures to battle the terrifying aftermath of such episodes, accidents and the legal complications they bring with them are not entirely avoidable.
Accident victims face a whirlwind of challenges – both physical and emotional. Adding to that distress is maneuvering through the complex fabric of laws and regulations surrounding personal injury and vehicle damage claims in Virginia Beach.
At The Law Office of B. Patrick Agnew PLLC, we understand the impact a car crash or a truck accident can leave on a person’s life. This article aims to provide easy to understand, and practical information to help you navigate through the legal maze you might find yourself in following an automobile accident in Virginia Beach.
Understanding Virginia’s Fault-Based System
As a driver in Virginia Beach, you must understand that Virginia follows a “fault” car insurance system. This means that the driver who caused the accident is held liable for any physical injury or property damage. Victims have multiple options to proceed with, including:
- Filing a claim with their own insurer if they have coverage
- Initiating a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver
For substantiating information, Free Legal Answers Virginia provides detailed legal resources for auto accident claims.
Navigating Within the Statute of Limitations
A key factor to bear in mind is the timeline to file a lawsuit for any car accident in Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia imposes a strict statute of limitations – a time frame within which a lawsuit must be filed.
For personal injury, this limit is two years from the date of the accident, while for any property damage, the limit is five years from the date of the accident. It’s crucial to act in a timely manner to ensure that you don’t forfeit your rights to legal recourse.
Proving Negligence in Virginia Beach Auto Accidents
Negligence – the failure to uphold a reasonable standard of care, thus causing harm to others – is the baseline for most claims emerging from auto accidents in Virginia Beach. To recover damages, you must demonstrate:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- There was a breach of this duty
- This breach caused the accident
- The plaintiff suffered injuries or damages
Grasping the Concept of “Contributory Negligence”
Virginia’s approach to negligence is unique as it adheres to the draconian “contributory negligence” doctrine. Under this rule, you’re barred from recovering damages if you’re found to be even 1% at fault for the accident.
While the doctrine significantly complicates claims, an experienced personal injury attorney, like B. Patrick Agnew, can help overcome the harsh repercussions of this rule.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
It’s crucial to remember that insurance companies are inclined towards protecting their own interests. They tend to limit the compensation considering several factors, including your degree of fault in the accident.
It’s advisable to contact a lawyer before providing any statement to an insurance company. A lawyer will ensure that you’re not unintentionally admitting fault or minimizing your injuries.
Conclusion: Seeking Legal Assistance
The aftermath of an auto accident in Virginia Beach can be overwhelming and exhausting. However, understanding the legal backdrop can help you navigate the process better.
Remember – you’re not in this journey alone. With the right legal counsel at your side, you can focus on your healing while your attorney battles the legal complexities for you. B. Patrick Agnew and his legal team are always ready to lend a listening ear and a guiding hand to car accident victims.