After two vehicles collided very early on a Sunday morning in Portsmouth, Virginia (VA), four woman went to the hospital with serious injuries. One of the people involved sustained life-threatening injuries.

According to news reports, Portsmouth police first received calls about the crash at 4:11 am on March 13, 2022. Emergency personnel responded to the 4000 block of Cedar Lane near the intersection with Greenbrook Drive. Other details were not shared with the public.

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Where the crash happened, Cedar Lane is divided into four lanes separated by a concrete median strip. A residential neighborhood sits on one side of Cedar Lane, and a convenience store sits on the other side. Possible scenarios for the wreck include one driver failing to yield right of way while turning, a driver backing out of a driveway without checking their blind spots, someone making an unsafe lane change, or a driver speeding or becoming distracted and causing a rear-end collision.

Whatever the reason for the crash, my Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I hope each of the women involved recovers from their injuries quickly and completely. We also know each of the women, particularly the passengers who were not driving, will have multiple questions about whether and how they can file insurance claims for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Determining Negligence and Fault Will Be Key

Drivers have legally enforceable duties to operate their vehicles safely, obey all applicable traffic laws and protect their passengers from injuries in crashes. A driver who fails to meet one or more these duties can be deemed negligent and, due to their negligence, responsible for settling personal injury claims. Carrying insurance makes it possible to pay claims.

“Negligence” has no exact definition under law, but a common understanding of the concept portrays legally actionable negligence “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” So, as noted above, examples of negligent actions by a driver that could have led to the crash on Cedar Lane in Portsmouth include failing to yield while turning and backing out into traffic.

Any findings along those lines will be recorded in the official police report on the crash. The drivers, passengers, family members of injured victims and lawyers representing the victims can request copies of the crash report. Information to share when requesting the report includes

  • The identity of the person submitting the request (e.g., driver, injured person);
  • The date and time of the crash;
  • The street and city or county where the crash occurred; and
  • A driver’s name.

Reading the crash report will be the first step toward determining fault and deciding which driver’s insurance company to file injury claims with. If it turns out that both drivers were negligent, injured passengers may have grounds for filing claims with both drivers’ insurance companies. Consulting with an experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyer will clarify the options.

EJL