Car Accident and Insurance Adjuster 

Shared Fault in Virginia Accidents

If you were involved in an accident in Virginia and believe someone else is at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for costs incurred as a result of the accident through a personal injury lawsuit, including medical costs and payment for time off work. However, many people are surprised when they begin to pursue a personal injury case that Virginia has a “contributory negligence” law, which can reduce or eliminate your ability to pursue recovery of damages after an accident.

Contributory Negligence Law in Virginia

Virginia is one of the few states with a “contributory negligence” law that stipulates if you share responsibility (“negligence” in legal terms) for any part of an accident, you are not entitled to seek compensation to recover your costs in a lawsuit.

Contributory negligence means you “contributed” in some part to the injuries you incurred. Many states have done away with these laws and instead have shared or comparative laws around negligence, but Virginia remains steadfast in sticking to contributory negligence, at least for now.

Determining Fault in a Virginia Accident

An experienced Virginia accident lawyer knows how to examine the circumstances of a case to determine who is at fault and what percentage of fault may be assigned. They understand the ins and outs of the law and how to demonstrate if another party was 100% negligent and is responsible for your accident. Under the law, when someone else is completely responsible for your injuries, you can seek compensation in the form of “damages” by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Damages in a lawsuit can be incredibly expensive and can even be projected into the future in cases where someone has been severely injured and left with debilitating, life-altering injuries. In a personal injury lawsuit, damages that your lawyer may try to recover can include:

  • Medical expenses. These include costs from the day of the incident, such as ambulance and emergency room care, as well as all other subsequent treatments by physicians, nurses, specialists, therapy appointments, medical equipment, and more.
  • Property. If damage was done to your property during the accident, such as a car or house, your lawyer will seek to recover the costs to repair or replace what was damaged.
  • Lost wages. This includes time missed from work due to the accident as well as any time missed due to the injury, such as surgery and recovery time, or time missed due to attending doctor or therapy visits.
  • Pain and suffering. These costs are aimed at helping you and your loved ones deal with the mental anguish and mental health effects from losses experienced because of the accident and can include loss of spousal privileges.

Protect Your Rights

The other person’s insurance company may try to shift some or even all of the blame for the accident onto you because if they can remove even 1% of the blame from the person they insure, they won’t have to pay out anything in a claim or pay damages from a lawsuit. You need someone who knows how insurance companies work and how to build an ironclad case when someone else is responsible for your injuries.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and believe someone else is responsible, you should contact an experienced Virginia personal injury lawyer as soon as you are reasonably able to discuss how to protect your rights and your innocence and to fight for the compensation that you deserve. 

Even if you aren’t sure whether or not you might be partially responsible, consulting with an attorney who has handled these types of cases before is essential. There may be circumstances you could not avoid that placed you in the situation that led to the accident or other factors outside of your control that contributed to the accident. 

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Working with Andrew and his team has been--without exception--one of the most pleasant, productive, and professional experiences of my adult life. I was seriously injured in an accident in July, 2018, in Virginia. I was driving a company vehicle that was registered in Maryland, for a company that was based in Wisconsin. And I live in New Jersey, where my personal vehicles are insured. The several jurisdictions involved presented a very unique case that demanded an experienced and nuanced strategy. I found Andrew Thomas (of Dulaney, Lauer, & Thomas) through some online research. And it is noteworthy that Andrew has worked the other side of the aisle--he used to work with insurance companies. Andrew took on my case with the assurance that he would work it with no less energy than he does each of his cases. At each turn, and with each question I had, Andrew and Paralegal Misty kept me informed, returned my calls, provided detailed explanations, and kept me feeling like I was in the loop and there was an eventual end to our journey. Nearly five years after the accident, we settled out of court for a significant sum in recognition of my personal injuries. The settlement was much more than I had expected. And without Andrew & Misty, I am sure the award would have been much less. If you are looking for professionalism, knowledge, dedication, answerability, responsiveness, integrity, and human-level communication from a personal injury attorney--look no further. You have found him. Thank you, Andrew and Misty. Gary Daley
I'm grateful for all your work . . . Roger V. (Remington, VA)