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What happens if you were partially at fault for a car crash?

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2021 | Personal Injury

If you are involved in a car crash in Virginia and believe that you are partially at fault, it’s wise not to say anything to anyone about that. It is not your job to assign fault in a collision. Instead, wait for the accident reconstruction team, police and insurance companies to come up with who they believe is at fault.

Virginia is an at-fault state. Fault is extremely important in crash cases. However, Virginia does not recognize comparative fault. If both drivers have contributed to the crash, such as if they were both on their phones at the time of the collision, then neither may be able to collect compensation against the other.

How does contributory negligence work in Virginia?

In Virginia, negligence is based on a reasonable person standard. The court wants to look at what a reasonable person would do in any given situation. If a party knew that something was dangerous and didn’t exercise caution, then they might be accused of being contributorily negligent. If so, they may not be able to seek a recovery.

For example, in this case, the two drivers who were on their phones both knew that the phones were distractions. If one driver looked down to answer a text message while the other read an email, they were both not exercising caution and were both at fault for the collision.

Who determines fault in your collision?

It is up to you to prove that the other party owes you compensation for their negligence. However, if you believe that something you did may have played a role in the crash, that isn’t something that you should necessarily bring up. Even if you think you had nothing to do with the cause of the crash, simply saying you’re sorry could make the police or others question if you contributed to the collision.

If a police report or discussion with an insurance provider makes it look like you were negligent or made a mistake, then it may make it much harder for you to collect compensation from the other party based on the potential that you were also at fault.