Frequently Asked Questions
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What types of boats are typically involved in Virginia boating accidents?
Most typically, powerboats such as cabin cruisers are involved in serious Virginia boating wrecks. Another frequent source of personal watercraft accidents involve jet skis, wave-runners and sea-doos. You can file a claim and pursue damages no matter what type of personal watercraft or powerboat was involved in your accident.
Can the driver of a boat who acts recklessly be held liable for causing the accident?
Yes, boating laws require safe operation of the boat and are designed to keep people safe. If the boat captain violates these laws, they could be held liable for any injuries or loss of life that results in an accident.
I recently rear-ended a car in Virginia Beach, Virginia that came to a sudden stop to make a right turn, but never put their blinkers on. Who is at fault?
A: The law in Virginia, written in the Virginia Model Jury Instructions states, "If the driver of a vehicle will affect the operation of another's vehicle by turning or stopping, then the driver has a duty to give a visible turn signal; and/or brake light continuously for a distance of at least [100; 50] feet."
The jury instructions are the law as would be given by a Virginia judge to a jury in a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. If the driver did not use a turn signal or break lights for at least 50 feet in speeds up to 35 miles per hour, or for 100 feet in speeds above 35 miles per hour, then that driver is negligent.
I commute everyday from Norfolk to my work and I often see disabled vehicles stopped on the highway. If the disabled vehicle was to cause an accident, would it be that driver's fault?
The law in Virginia, written in the Virginia Model Jury Instructions book states, "A driver whose vehicle is stopped on a roadway because he was involved in an emergency, an accident, or a mechanical breakdown must turn on the emergency flashing lights of his vehicle, if they can be operated, and remove his vehicle from the roadway to the shoulder as soon as possible."
The jury instructions are the law as would be given by a Virginia judge to a jury in a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. The vehicle must have some sort of indicator to other vehicles on the road that it is stopped, such as hazard lights if operational, and the owner must remove their vehicle from the roadway to the shoulder lane if possible. As long as they perform these duties they will likely not be considered negligent drivers.
My husband was driving down the interstate in Hampton, Virginia, when another car hit him as the car attempted to switch lanes. That is the other drivers fault right?
The Virginia Model Jury Instructions state, “The duty to keep a proper lookout requires a driver to use ordinary care to look in all directions for vehicles that would affect his driving, to see what a reasonable person would have seen, and to react as a reasonable person would have acted to avoid a collision under the circumstances.”
The jury instructions are the law as would be given by a Virginia judge to a jury in a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. The driver needs to make sure he uses his mirrors to look in all directions for vehicles around his car. The driver should always take the time to be aware of his surroundings and react accordingly to avoid a collision under any circumstance.
I was driving in Norfolk, Virginia, when a car that was speeding hit my car because the driver came up behind me too fast. The accident is automatically his fault right?
The Virginia Model Jury Instructions state, “The maximum speed limit at the time and place of the collision was (number of miles per hour) If the defendant was driving his vehicle faster than this limit, then he was negligent.
The jury instructions are the laws as would be given by a Virginia judge to a jury in a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. If the driver is driving over the marked speed limit and hits your car, he should be found liable for the car wreck.
My husband was seriously hurt in an accident and now owes thousands of dollars to the hospital and emergency room. As his wife, am I liable for those medical bills?
Virginia Code Sec. 8.01-220.2 states that each spouse is "jointly and severally" liable for all emergency medical care administered to the other spouse by a doctor who has a license to practice in Virginia or by a Virginia hospital. This includes all initial emergency and subsequent follow-up care that was provided on an inpatient basis while the husband and wife were living together.
This is one of many reasons it is so important to speak with a Virginia-based personal injury lawyer if you or a member of your family suffered a serious injury in an accident that was caused by another person or by a company's negligent actions. Racking up large medical bills following an accident is bad enough. It is even worse to have that financial burden passed on to your loved ones.
My teenage son was recently in a car accident in Chesapeake, Virginia and I was wondering, what are the basic rules of the road in Virginia for the driver who caused the accident?
The law in Virginia, written in the Virginia Model Jury Instructions book states, “The driver of the vehicle has a duty to use ordinary care:
1. To keep a proper lookout
2. To keep his vehicle under proper control
3. To operate his vehicle at a reasonable speed under the existing conditions”
The jury instructions are the law as would be given by a Virginia judge to a jury in a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. The driver of the vehicle has a duty to keep proper lookout when driving. He/she needs to see what there is to be seen. Every driver must keep their vehicle under control meaning they are not supposed to hit other cars. The third basic rule is to drive at a proper speed given traffic, the weather and other conditions.
I was recently rear-ended in Virginia Beach, Virginia by a truck that was tailgating my car. If you get hit from behind doesnt that mean the guy who did it is automatically supposed to pay?
The law in Virginia written in the Virginia Model Jury Instructions book states, “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another motor vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vehicles and the traffic upon, and condition of, the highway at the time.”
The jury instructions are the law as would be given by a Virginia judge to a jury in a Virginia personal injury lawsuit. All drivers must know they are not allowed to follow another motor vehicle more closely than a reasonable distance. If the driver was tailgating and following too closely, the accident is their fault. Usually unless there is some good excuse, the driver who runs into the back of your car is legally responsible.
My child was killed in a car crash in Virginia (VA). How long do I have to file a lawsuit for a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the wreck?
Generally, per Virginia Code Section 8.01-244, you have 2 years from the time of your child's death to bring a lawsuit. This assumes that no lawsuit regarding the same accident was filed while your child was still alive. The timetable gets a little more complex when a personal injury suit for the accident was filed in your son or daughter's name while he or she was still alive.
For more information about wrongful death claims in Virginia, consider reading through the following articles written by my firm’s experienced wrongful death attorneys:
- What damages may I claim in a wrongful death case?
- My wife was severely injured in a Virginia (VA) car wreck caused by a drunk driver, and she died from injury-related complications more than a year after the accident occurred. Can I still bring a wrongful death suit against the drunk driver?
- How are Virginia wrongful death claims handled in court?