Police suspect a driver who ran off the road, struck a tree and flipped their SUV in Norfolk, Virginia (VA), on the evening of June 18, 2021, was speeding in the moments before wrecking. The single-vehicle crash happened in the 8500 block of Chesapeake Boulevard at around 6:20 pm.
A total of four people were hurt in the crash. The driver was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital with what were reported to be life-threatening injuries. Three passengers also required treatment for injuries, but they did not appear to be danger of losing their lives.
- A Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Discusses the Connection Between Speeding and Crashing
- Deaths in Single-Vehicles Crashes Leave More Questions Than Answers
- What Multiple Victims of the Same Car Crash Should Know About Underinsured Motorist Coverage in Virginia
My Virginia Beach-based personal injury law firm colleagues and I hope everyone who was in the crashed SUV recovers fully. We also know that the passengers will have concerns over their rights and abilities to file and collect on claims to have their medical expenses paid, lost wages covered and pain and suffering compensated.
Passengers Can File Insurance Claims Against Drivers
A driver’s duty to operate safely and protect other people extends to passengers in their own vehicles. This is true even if a passenger is related to the driver.
Legally, each of the passengers who suffered injuries in this single-vehicle crash on Chesapeake Boulevard in Norfolk has the right to file an insurance claim. Collecting on any such claim would require presenting proof that the driver was at-fault for running off the road and striking the tree. Evidence collected by police will prove essential in this regard.
A complication may arise from the reality that more than one passenger could have legitimate personal injury claims. If all claims are deemed payable, the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability insurance will almost definitely be reached before each of the injured passengers receives full and fair compensation.
In such a situation, the passengers would need to invoke underinsured motorist provisions of their own car insurance policies. Virginia law requires all car insurance policies sold in the state to include this type of coverage. Filing an underinsured motorist claim amounts to suing one’s own insurance company, however. This makes seeking advice and representation from an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer a good idea.
A Reminder About the Dangers of Speeding
The speed limit along most of Chesapeake Boulevard in Norfolk is 35 miles per hour. News reports do not indicate how fast the SUV was traveling before it left the roadway, but exceeding 35 mph may not seem particularly risky when other surface roads in the area have higher speed limits.
Driver must constantly remind themselves that speed limits are set with safety in mind. Considerations that are taken include road design, the likelihood of encountering pedestrians and bike riders, and the number of businesses or homes into which vehicles will be turning. When someone does speed, they set the stage for crashes that can leave themselves and others injured or worse.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2018, speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities.”
NHTSA further notes that drivers who exceed posted speed limits or drive too fast for conditions are more like to lose control of their vehicles, more likely to crash and more likely to wind up hospitalized or dead, partly because crashing at higher speeds reduces the effectiveness of safety equipment.