Determining Fault in a Virginia Weather-Related Car Accident

In some cases, victims of a weather-related Virginia car accident may believe that the accident was inevitable because of reasons beyond anyone’s control. However, this is rarely the case. In most situations, there was some negligent conduct that caused or contributed to the accident. These cases present many challenges because the victim and driver who caused the accident may not know who or what was responsible for the collision.

Drivers must always act responsibly and ensure that they operate their vehicles safely. During inclement weather, motorists should take additional precautions to ensure their safety and that of their passengers, other drivers, and bystanders. The failure to engage in safe driving can result in devastating accidents and serious injuries.

For example, a recent news report described a harrowing accident involving eight tractor-trailers and three passenger vehicles. Virginia law enforcement explained that the accident occurred on the northbound side of Interstate 81. The collision caused a pile-up and diesel fuel spillage. An initial investigation attributes the accident to icy road conditions. Following the accident, highway workers removed the debris and treated the highway.

This case illustrates the difficulty in establishing liability after a Virginia weather-related car accident. Fault inquiries are primarily based on the evidentiary review of all the circumstances surrounding the collision. Fact-finders evaluate whether the drivers were operating their vehicles safely, according to the current weather conditions. Among other things, safe operation includes:

  • Reducing speed, slow maneuvers;
  • Using safety and hazard lights; and
  • Clearing vehicles from snow and ice.

Further, in some cases, such as the accident above, road conditions may have played a part in the crash. However, dangerous road conditions do not eliminate a parties’ responsibility to drive safely.

Accurately determining fault and effectively presenting evidence is critical in Virginia car accident cases because of the state’s strict contributory negligence laws. In Virginia, a person cannot recover if they bear any responsibility for the accident. This means that if a victim were even 1% responsible for the accident, they would not recover any damages from the defendant.

Damages in a Virginia car accident case often include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are actual monetary losses that a person incurs because of the accident. This includes medical bills, lost wages or benefits, loss of earning ability, and out-of-pocket costs. Non-economic damages are losses that, while equally as damaging, are harder to quantify, including damages related to emotional distress, loss of consortium, and overall pain and suffering.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Virginia Accident?

If you or someone you know suffered serious injuries or died in a Virginia car accident because of another’s negligence, the attorneys at Robinson Law, PLLC can help. Our firm handles Virginia motor vehicle accidents, premises liability cases, defective product claims, medical malpractice, and wrongful death lawsuits. We understand that these accidents require a significant amount of medical, psychological, and emotional healing. Our attorneys provide clients with dedicated and individualized representation so that they can focus on their recovery. We have recovered substantial amounts of compensation for our clients. Contact our office at 703-649-4500, to schedule a free initial consultation with a Virginia accident attorney on our legal team.

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