Although most drivers try to be conscientious and responsible, accidents can and do still happen. If you were injured in an accident and the evidence says it was the other driver’s fault, you could be eligible to collect financial compensation. However, once the insurance company begins investigating, it occurs to you that you have a few minor collisions and some speeding tickets on your driving record and you begin to wonder if they will affect your claim. Unfortunately, yes, your driving record could impact your injury claim. Insurance carriers will do anything they can to avoid liability for an accident, including using your driving record against you by trying to establish a history of pre-existing injuries or negligent driving. Due to Virginia’s pure contributory negligence laws, If they succeed in doing so, you will be barred from recovering financial compensation. To achieve the best possible resolution in your injury claim, contact the experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation.
How Can an Insurance Company Use My Driving Record to Prove Fault?
Even if you have a subpar driving record, you are still eligible to bring a personal injury claim against a negligent driver. Despite this, insurance carriers frequently try to shift blame onto the victim because, in the end, it saves them money. As previously mentioned, Virginia follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. This means that if you are found to be 1% at fault for a car accident and the other driver is found to be 99% at fault, you will not be permitted to collect compensation.
Using this strict rule to their advantage, insurers will work very hard to show you contributed to the accident. One way they can achieve this is by using your history of negligent driving to strengthen their assertion that you must have been negligent in this accident as well. For instance, if you have two previous citations for running a stop light, they could use this fact to support their argument that you most likely ran a red light again. Bear in mind that they only have to convince the court that you were 1% to blame for the crash and they get off scot-free. A skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorney can help you dispute these and similar allegations of fault and ensure your right to recovery is protected.
How Can an Insurance Company Use My Driving Record to Prove Pre-Existing Injuries?
You may only recover damages for injuries resulting from your current accident. If your driving record includes accidents in which you were injured, insurance carriers could use this information to claim that your “new” injuries were actually pre-existing. If the insurer is able to successfully argue that your injuries were caused by a previous collision, you be unable to obtain compensation.
For instance, if you sustained back injuries in a car accident and then a year later you are involved in another accident that also results in back injuries, the insurance company could find out about the first back injury during their inspections of your driving record. They can then claim that your back injury was caused by the earlier accident and they are not liable.
Can a Good Driving Record Help My Injury Claim?
On the other hand, a good driving record could help your claim by acting as proof of your behavior behind the wheel and showing that it is unlikely that you were negligent. A qualified Virginia Beach car accident attorney will know how to use your driving history to advocate for you.
Talk to a Virginia Beach Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, and the insurance company is unfairly trying to undervalue or deny your claim using your driving record, the experienced Virginia Beach car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. We have been achieving successful outcomes in Virginia car accident cases since 1985, like the $1 million insurance settlement we secured for one of our clients after he was injured by a driver who failed to yield the right-of-way. To schedule your free, confidential case review, call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out the contact form on our website. Our offices are in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Hampton.