Thursday, January 23, 2014

Can you recover money damages from a car accident - Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a term you may or may not have heard before.  It is a major factor in determining if you can recover damages from a car accident.

In Virginia, if you were 1% at fault for the accident, and the defendant (or other driver) was 99% at fault, you CANNOT recover money damages.  There's no doubt this rule may be harsh to some, but it is the law and it's what the courts have to follow in Virginia.

That means, if the defendant (or other driver) was driving 20+ mph over the speed limit, and you were driving 5 mph over the speed limit and a crash results, you MAY not be able to recover your damages from the other driver.  The reason I say MAY is that the law is not that you cannot recover if you were doing something improper, the law is that you cannot recover if you were 1% at fault.  That means, your speeding would have to be found as a partial cause of the accident for contributory negligence to kick in.

While it appears straight forward, contributory negligence can have loopholes and if you have been in a car accident, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible.  Also keep in mind, there are many other factors that come into play in a care accident case, contributory negligence is just one of those factors.  If you would like to talk to an attorney at Baudean Law, PLLC, call us at (804) 447-0146 or email us at