A personal injury can take place anywhere and can have a long-term impact on your life. You may experience physical pain, emotional distress, expensive medical bills, lost income from missing work, property damage, permanent injuries, and more difficulties.
However, obtaining compensation for these losses could be challenging, especially with Virginia’s contributory negligence laws. If you can’t show that the other party is 100 percent at fault for your injuries, you will be barred from recovering anything.
How can you fight for your rights to recover your damages?
Get Help From a Fairfax Personal Injury Attorney Today
Although many states allow injured parties to recover some damages even if they are partially at fault, Virginia has strict contributory negligence statutes. If you are found to be even 1 percent responsible for your accident or injury, the insurance company can justify denying your claim entirely.
For this reason, it’s essential that you seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer who will immediately go to work gathering evidence to prove the other party’s culpability.
Attorney Ali Awad and the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm are always available for a free consultation about your personal injury situation. If you want to move forward with our help, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle your case, so you never need to worry about upfront costs.
Please contact us today to learn more about the options in your case.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Contributory Negligence Rule?
There are a few exceptions, but they will not apply to every personal injury situation:
If you are hurt on a common carrier, like a bus or train, because the carrier fails to adhere to a safety rule, contributory negligence will not bar you from recovery.
There is also an exception called the Last Clear Chance doctrine. If the plaintiff (the injured party) placed themselves in peril (contributory negligence), and the defendant saw or should have seen this danger and could have avoided the accident, the defendant could still be liable. For instance, if you were going a few miles over the speed limit but the other driver ran a red light, you may both be negligent. But if the other driver saw you and had enough time to stop but didn’t, you might still be able to recover some of your damages.
The biggest problem with the Last Clear Chance argument is that it can be hard to prove. Your lawyer will search for any additional evidence that might help.
Still, in many cases, there simply isn’t enough evidence to successfully argue the defendant had the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident.
Does That Mean There Is No Way to Recover Damages if You Were Even Slightly Negligent?
First, we’d advise you to talk to an attorney to be sure you were negligent. If an insurance company has denied your claim based on contributory negligence, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right.
Sometimes, the insurance adjuster may have based this decision on limited or confusing evidence. An investigation might show that you actually weren’t negligent at all.
We also meet people who think they were at fault because they made some minor error, but after examining the evidence, we learn that their misstep didn’t contribute to the accident. For this reason, we recommend that you do not admit fault at the scene of an accident or tell anyone other than your lawyer if you think you were at fault.
Talk to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident or injury (preferably before speaking with the insurance company).
If you were also negligent, you will not be able to recover from the other party or their insurance carrier. However, depending on the situation, there may be other ways for you to recover, most commonly from your own insurance coverage.
How Can You Recover Damages From Your Own Car Accident Policy?
In car accident cases where contributory negligence prevents recovery from another driver, we will usually turn to the injured person’s own car insurance to see what type of coverage they have. If you have policies like Medical Payments (MedPay) and Collision, these will pay for some of your damages regardless of fault.
MedPay will cover your medical bills after a car accident, no matter who was at fault, and it also applies to your passengers if they suffer injuries. Additionally, you can use MedPay if you are hit by a car as a pedestrian or bicyclist.
This coverage is optional in Virginia, but it’s well worth the investment if you have a high deductible on your health insurance or some of your treatments aren’t covered. Because it is not always possible to prove another driver is 100 percent at fault, we recommend it for anyone driving in Virginia.
Collision coverage provides similar protection for your vehicle. It will pay for your repair or replacement costs after an accident, with no need to prove who was responsible.
Does Virginia Have Strict Liability In Dog Bite Cases?
Some states use a strict liability statute in which dog owners are generally liable for bites or other injuries their dogs cause. In these strict liability states, an injured person doesn’t have to prove the owner was negligent or that the dog had a history of biting to seek compensation.
Virginia uses a modified version of the “one bite” rule, in which dog owners are only strictly liable if they knew or should have known their dog might be dangerous. An owner who is not strictly liable could still be liable if there is evidence that they were negligent.
If your case goes to court, it may be up to a judge or jury to decide if the owner should have expected their dog to be dangerous. Usually, if we find evidence the dog has bitten, attacked, or injured someone in the past, we can make a strong argument that the owner should have known the animal was dangerous.
Virginia also allows dog bite victims to sue for negligence per se, which means the owner is considered negligent if they disobeyed a law created for public safety. In dog bite cases, this usually means the owner allowed their dog to roam freely in violation of a local leash law.
Fairfax County requires dogs to be leashed when not on the owner’s property, with a few exceptions for dog parks, obedience training classes, service dogs that can’t wear a harness due to the owner’s disability, etc.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
Sometimes. If you were bitten by a dog on someone else’s property, their homeowner’s insurance may cover the dog bite.
That said, the policy language might have specific restrictions for certain breeds or other situations, and dog bites are not always covered. If insurance doesn’t cover your injuries, we may be able to bring a claim against the dog owner.
Who Is at Fault for a Boat Accident in Virginia?
Virginia has numerous lakes and rivers and 132 miles of coastline bordering one side of the state. Boating is a popular activity, especially in the summer months, but with the enjoyment of boating and water activities comes the risk of accidents.
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) reports the state had 87 boating accidents in 2022, resulting in 39 injuries and 17 fatalities. They also collected the following statistics about the fatalities and injuries:
Alcohol use was involved in 23 percent of fatal injuries. If you’re going to drink on the water, be sure to arrange a designated driver for your boat.
About 29 percent of fatalities involved paddlecraft.
94 percent of people who were fatally injured weren’t wearing life jackets. These are essential safety devices that can protect you from drowning in situations where you are injured or unconscious and can’t stay afloat on your own. Always wear a life jacket when you go boating.
The most common type of incident associated with injuries was a collision with other vessels. However, capsizing and falling overboard were the most frequent reasons for fatalities. Collisions with fixed objects, waterskier mishaps, and being struck by a propellor or propulsion unit were also prevalent causes of injury.
Operation of the vessel, passenger behavior, environmental factors, and unknown reasons were the most common “contributing factors” noted on boat accident reports for incidents involving injuries or fatalities. When vessel operation is a factor, the most prevalent problem is failing to keep a proper lookout, followed by failing to maintain a safe distance.
Identifying the at-fault party in a boat accident can be challenging. As you might guess from the above statistics, a boat operator is often at fault.
If, however, you were in a collision with two vessels, which operator was to blame? Things get more complicated if you were operating one of the boats because contributory negligence could prevent you from recovering (if you were negligent).
There are also some situations where a passenger may have been negligent. There are also other parties who could be liable for a boat accident, including:
The boat’s owner. Frequently, the owner operates the boat, but not always. If the owner allowed an unqualified person to drive the boat, for instance, they might be at fault. Or, if the owner failed to perform regular maintenance and the accident occurred due to a malfunction, they could also be to blame.
A third party, such as a mechanic or service provider whose error led to a malfunction that caused the accident. We’ll work to show how the mechanic’s error caused the collision.
A passenger. In some cases, a passenger may knock another person overboard through horseplay or other careless behavior. Less commonly, the passenger tries to take control of the boat and causes an accident. Frequently, the passenger in question is intoxicated in these situations.
How Does Joint Liability Work in Boat Accidents in Virginia?
As with car accidents, contributory negligence rules will bar you from recovery if you contributed to the accident in any way (even through your actions as a passenger). But as you might have gathered from the above list, there could be multiple other parties who contributed to the collision, even if you had no culpability.
For instance, let’s say you’re on your friend Bob’s boat one weekend. Bob gets tired of driving the boat after a while and asks his cousin Joe to take over, assuming Joe is also an experienced boater.
In reality, Joe has only driven a boat a few times, years ago, and he has not taken the now-required safety course for boat operators in Virginia. Joe misjudges a maneuver and crashes the boat into a bridge, causing you to suffer broken bones and a head injury.
Is Joe at fault for operating the boat carelessly? Yes.
But Bob is also at fault for failing to verify that Joe was qualified to drive the boat.
Under Virginia law, either Joe or Bob could be found liable for 100 percent of the damages in this accident. Whoever is responsible for the damages could sue the other party, not for their own damages, but for the other party’s share of damages paid out to victims.
For instance, you could sue Bob for 100 percent of your damages, and Bob could sue Joe for some percentage of what he owes you.
However, it’s unlikely that Joe has any insurance coverage that would pay his share of the damages. Bob may be unable to recover anything if Joe doesn’t have the money, but you could still recover from Bob, who may have a liability insurance policy on his boat.
There is one more complication to consider: whether Bob’s insurance policy will cover the accident. Some boat insurance policies will only cover damage caused by people named in the policy, such as the owner and their family members.
If Bob has this type of policy and Joe was not named in the policy, the insurance company may have a legitimate reason not to cover your damages. We could still try to recover directly from Bob in this situation, and Bob could try to recover from Joe.
As you can see, nothing is simple about sorting out fault and liability in a boating accident. Because joint liability can be complex in these cases, and a contributory negligence argument could derail your claim, it’s crucial to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury.
We’ll review the boat accident report, speak with witnesses, search for video or photo evidence, and work to build a strong case.
What Happens When You Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
If you were injured on another party’s property because of their negligence, you may be able to seek restitution from the property owner or their insurance carrier. In private homes, a homeowner’s insurance policy could cover your damages.
If your injury occurred at a business, they most likely have a business liability policy that would cover your accident.
In either case, it’s necessary to show that the owner’s negligence was the cause of your injuries and you did not contribute in any way. Often, the insurance company will fight your claim, and one of the most prevalent reasons is that the adjuster believes you were negligent in some way.
For example, say you slipped and fell at a sporting goods store. You noticed a puddle where you fell and assumed it caused you to slip, but when you try to file an insurance claim, the store manager says that you were running or horsing around, and that’s why you fell.
Even if you took pictures of the puddle (which we recommend in these situations), the store could still claim you had some contributory negligence.
In a situation like this, your attorney would work to gather as much evidence as possible to demonstrate you were not negligent. We’ll talk to witnesses, look for security camera video, and seek any other way to confirm that you were not running or behaving inappropriately.
However, it will still be necessary to show that the store is at fault. The fact that there was a puddle doesn’t necessarily prove negligence.
We will also need to find evidence that the store’s staff knew—or should have known—the puddle existed, and they had an opportunity to clean it up. This may mean talking to employees to learn how the puddle happened, when they first became aware of it, etc.
Alternatively, we might use video evidence to determine how long the floor had been wet. If the puddle only appeared a few minutes before you fell, the store probably wasn’t negligent, but if it had been there for several hours, the manager might have been negligent for failing to check the aisles regularly and address problems like the puddle.
What Is Negligent Security?
This is a type of premises liability typically occurring in businesses that are open to the public, like stores, parks, or hotels. Aside from taking reasonable steps to protect customers from hazards, businesses also have a responsibility to provide security so customers are relatively safe from crime and other dangers.
Whether or not the company has taken “reasonable” steps to discourage crime depends on the situation. A mall that only has one security guard for the whole building may be negligent because one guard can’t reasonably deal with all potential issues in a mall simultaneously.
A convenience store that has been robbed twice in the past year might be negligent if management failed to add a security system, cameras, or other measures to deter future robberies.
However, security doesn’t just help to prevent crimes; sometimes, security efforts include crowd control and preventing accidental injuries. For instance, stores and other businesses often host events that bring in a large crowd—an exclusive new item everyone wants, a book signing by a celebrity, a Black Friday sale, etc.
The store has a duty to anticipate crowds and make plans to manage them. Insufficient security in these situations can lead to a customer being knocked down, shoved, trampled, or otherwise injured as the crowd surges forward.
Of course, it’s hard to know what kind of security a business has or whether it was adequate at the time of your injury. For this reason, we recommend talking to a personal injury lawyer if you’ve experienced an injury in a public place like a store or hotel.
Our investigative staff will learn more about the business, its standard security practices, and its history—for instance, we can search public records to learn if similar crimes have occurred on the premises before your injury.
We might also talk to witnesses to learn more about the company’s security efforts and whether these were improved after previous incidents. If we find out that the business did not meet reasonable security standards for the situation, we may be able to seek compensation from their liability insurance.
Where Can You Get Help From a Fairfax Personal Injury Law Firm?
Recovering compensation from an at-fault party or their insurance carrier is often challenging, and contributory negligence laws in Virginia can make it even more difficult to obtain the settlement you deserve. If you’ve been injured due to another party’s negligence, please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation.
We’ll review the details of your accident or injury, answer your questions, and explain the options for pursuing compensation. There is no obligation, and if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it.
Attorney Ali Awad founded the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm only a few short years ago and has since turned it into one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country. He and his team have over twenty years of combined experience and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation with a 99.5 percent success rate.
When he’s not negotiating with insurance companies or fighting for clients in the courtroom, Mr. Awad offers down-to-earth legal advice to more than a million followers on social media. Work with him today when you call (833) 254-2923.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.