If you have been injured in an accident in Virginia, and if the at-fault driver was not charged by the police, you might be wondering whether you have a case against them. Rest assured – if the accident did really happen as a result of the driver’s negligence, you have a case against them – irrespective of whether they were issued a ticket or not. With the help of an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer, you can hold the at-fault driver accountable for their negligent driving and recover the damages you are owed.
What Does Virginia Personal Injury Law Say?
Under Virginia law, motorists who share the same road owe a duty of care towards each other. If they fail to exercise due care, they can be held financially accountable for any deaths, injuries, or property damage resulting from their actions. So, if you are injured by the negligent actions of a driver, you have the right to pursue legal action and seek monetary damages from them.
Now, let us come to the issue of the at-fault driver not being issued a ticket. Under Virginia law, it is not mandatory for police officers to issue a ticket for every single traffic violation. Depending on their understanding and interpretation of the violation that occurred, they might choose to issue a ticket or not.
Section 8.01-418 of the Virginia Code states that a traffic citation can be used as a proof of a driver’s negligence in a personal injury case only under the following circumstances.
- If the driver pleads guilty
- If the driver chooses to pre-pay the traffic citation
If, on the other hand, the driver contests the charges against them, the citation cannot be used as a proof of their negligence. The bottom line is that the charges against the at-fault driver in traffic court can be used to strengthen your personal injury case only if they plead guilty. Otherwise, the charges have no bearing on the outcome of your case.
Seeking Damages from the At-Fault Driver
Given below are three steps you can take to have the best chance of securing the monetary damages you deserve from the at-fault party.
Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene
Take pictures and videos of the injuries and property damage caused by the accident. The more pictures you take, the better are your chances of establishing the at-fault party’s negligence. Talk to potential witnesses and get their contact information, as their testimonies can be used to strengthen your claim against the at-fault party.
Get Medical Help
The amount of compensation you can demand from the at-fault driver depends largely on the severity of your injuries – which can be established only on the basis of the physician’s report and other medical records. So, it is very important to seek medical treatment for your injuries in a timely manner. Make sure you preserve all the prescriptions, receipts, test results, and medical reports, as they can be used by your Virginia personal injury attorney to maximize the value of your claim.
Do Not Say Anything about the Accident to Anyone
Do not say anything about the accident – how you think it happened, how badly you are injured, or whether you think you might have been partially at fault for the accident – to anyone – particularly the insurance adjuster who is assigned to your case.
Remember – Virginia follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence, under which you are ineligible to receive any compensation if you are found to be at fault for the accident – even to a small extent. So, do not say or post anything on social media that can be considered an admission of guilt or fault.
Get Legal Help
Thanks to the pure contributory negligence law, building a personal injury case in Virginia is harder compared to other states that follow a modified version of the law, under which you can receive compensation even if you are found to be at fault. So, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney who has an in-depth understanding of Virginia personal injury law and has the expertise and resources to build a strong case against the negligent driver and recover the monetary damages you deserve.
Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Virginia
The trial attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton, & Washburn have over 35 years of experience in handling personal injury claims and have recovered substantial damages – including several multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts – for our clients. We take pride in the fact that we regularly take up cases that are considered ‘unwinnable’ by many of our peers. We have the expertise, experience, and resources to take on insurance companies and recover the financial restitution you are owed.
Call us today at 800-752-0042 or contact us online for a free and 100% confidential consultation with one of our Virginia personal injury attorneys.