Virginia is one of a small number of states that still have a rule in personal injury cases that is referred to as contributory negligence. This rule often can serve to exclude what would otherwise be a valid personal injury claim from seeing the light of day in Virginia’s courts if the personal injury claimant is somehow determined to be at fault in causing his or her injuries. However, the rule need not serve as an impediment to your claim if you are represented by an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney who knows how to argue to a jury and present evidence that you were the victim of someone else’s negligence and that person’s negligence caused your injuries, not your own negligence. In addition, it is also important to keep in mind that this rule does not come into play until the jury returns its verdict, which is a fairly rare occurrence given that many defendants and their insurers rarely like to roll the dice and go to trial on personal injury cases, so the rule often does not affect the vast majority of Virginia personal injury cases, which settle before trial.
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Rule
Like many states, the jury in a Virginia personal injury case is given a verdict form that lists all of the potential contributors to a person’s injuries on it. After both sides have presented their cases and the lawyers have finished their closing arguments, the case then goes to the jury. Based on the evidence received, the testimony the jury heard and the arguments made by counsel, the jury then assigns a proportion of fault to each party. If the jury finds that a personal injury claimant who has filed a lawsuit has any responsibility, even 1%, in causing his or her injuries, then the injured person cannot recover any of their damages associated with the incident in which they injured. This can be a strict law but, as discussed below, it often does not operate as harshly in reality as it may seem.
An Experienced Virginia Personal Injury Can Overcome This Bar
Although may seem a high bar to overcome, our experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers know how to put on proper proof in front of a jury and make the arguments to convince the jury that an accident which may have multiple causes was not your fault, even 1%. Despite this fact, overcoming this hurdle also does not prevent you from filing a lawsuit or even filing a claim with the insurance company of the party that had primary responsibility for injuring you. Given that most cases settle well short of a full-blown trial, it is therefore important not to be dissuaded from pursuing your personal injury claim because of a fear of what this rule might mean for your claim. Not only are experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys adept at avoiding the application of this rule to their client’s cases, but most cases often settle well before trial.
Contact the Experienced Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman if You or Someone You Love Has Been Injured in Virginia
Given the importance of accurately and most effectively presenting the evidence, information and arguments that you did not have any role whatsoever in causing your injuries suffered in a Virginia personal injury claim to the jury to avoid application of Virginia’s contributory negligence rule, having an experienced attorney to represent you in connection with your Virginia personal injury claim is an absolute must. Our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in compensation for our clients who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys also understand how to minimize the role that our client’s own actions may have had in causing his or her injuries so that Virginia’s often harsh contributory negligence rule does not serve to bar our clients’ personal injury claims.
If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, then please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation regarding your particular situation.