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Causes of Car Accidents in Virginia
There are several common causes of car accidents in Virginia, including speeding, distracted driving (e.g., texting while driving), and alcohol impairment.
Causes of Car Accidents in Virginia
According to the United States Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for individuals under the age of 35. In 2012, more than 33,500 people were killed in traffic collisions in the United States. The DOT estimates that the total economic toll of these crashes is in excess of $230 billion each year. The astounding fact is that the vast majority of these incidents were in some way preventable. Reckless and careless driving behaviors (common with teen drivers) are the main cause for collisions:
Drunk or drugged drivers
Speeding Distracted driving Driving drowsy
Failure to adhere to traffic control devices and signs (e.g., failure to yield)
Following too closely
Improper signaling and passing
Vehicle malfunction Reckless driving
Poor roadway conditions and maintenance
While inclement weather and unforeseen health conditions may play an unavoidable role in a fraction of traffic accidents, the majority of crashes could be avoided with proper attention, adherence to traffic laws, and proper roadway and vehicle maintenance.
Drunk and Drugged Driving in Virginia
The Commonwealth harshly penalizes those found driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Understanding the threat that these impaired drivers pose to others on the roadway has led the state to treat driving under the influence (DUI) as a criminal offense. If convicted, even a first-time offender may find himself or herself with a criminal record, license suspension, fines, incarceration, and other penalties. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reports that in 2012 nearly 9,000 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred in the state, causing injury to more than 5,800 people and killing almost 230. Virginians between the ages of 21 and 35 were most likely to drive while impaired, and males are more than twice as likely as females to drive while under the influence. The risk that an impaired driver takes when getting behind the wheel of a car not only affects him or her, personally, but every other driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist, and other person he or she passes along the roadway. This kind of reckless behavior leaves an impaired driver responsible for the damages caused by his or her actions. Our Virginia auto accident lawyers believe that this responsibility extends beyond the criminal court system and into the world of civil justice, where such individuals can be held to answer for the harms and suffering they have wrought, and where the message will be clear that driving under the influence is not and will not be tolerated.
The posted speed limit for a given stretch of roadway is determined based on a number of factors, including sight distance, roadway curvature, area zoning, roadway width, the number of traffic lanes, and more. This designated speed is given for ideal roadway conditions. When anything less than ideal conditions are present, the set speed and anything above it can become quite dangerous. In Virginia, a speeding ticket can result in fines, demerit points against the driver’s record, and other penalties. If the speed is considered especially excessive, a driver may be criminally charged with reckless driving. Upon conviction, this may result in not only fines and demerit points, but incarceration for up to 12 months, a license suspension of up to 6 months, and a criminal record. The criteria necessary for speeding to result in a reckless driving charge are given:
Driving in excess of 80 miles per hour, regardless of the posted speed limit
Driving at or in excess of 20 miles per hour above the posted speed limit
Driving at a speed considered unreasonable “under the circumstances and traffic conditions at the time”, regardless of the posted speed limit
Driving at a speed considered a danger the life, limb, and property of others
Speed-related crashes in Virginia in 2012 resulted in more than 14,000 injuries and over 300 deaths. Surprisingly, the vast majority of these crashes occurred under clear weather conditions, and well over half occurred during daylight hours. Speeding, even just a few miles over the speed limit, can wreak havoc on the life of the driver, his or her passengers, and others on the roadway. Drivers who choose to speed assume a great deal of liability for any damages or injuries caused by their actions. Your Virginia auto accident attorney can explain how the other drivers’ speeding may play a role in
Deadly Facts on Distracted Drivers
Drive Smart Virginia (DSV) is a not-for-profit organization that strives to increase awareness and provoke behavioral changes in order to increase the state’s roadway safety. The goal of DSV is to reduce the frequency of traffic accidents which result in injury and death. The organization reports that approximately 80 percent of car crashes in Virginia are related to some form of distracted driving. The statistics indicate that a driver talking on his or her phone is 40 percent less focused on the roadway, and when using the phone to text, peruse social media, or search the internet, that driver is 23 times more likely to crash than a driver with proper focus on the roadway. As a Virginia auto accident lawyer can tell you, cell phone usage is not the only distraction that increases the risk of a traffic collision. Anyone, anything, or any activity which diverts the driver’s attention from the road and surrounding environment is a dangerous distraction. Teen drivers are among one of several groups of drivers who fall prey to this problem. Listed here are a few common driving distractions:
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents ?
There are many causes of car accidents in Virginia. To learn more about the most common types and what to do if you were a victim of one, click here.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Virginia?
The most common types of car accidents in Virginia are speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and driving under the influence. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by any of these or any other types of negligence, you may be eligible to file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit to recover medical care costs, lost wages, “pain and suffering” and inconvenience, and more.
The Leading Causes of Traffic Accidents in Virginia
The Virginia Highway Safety Office compiles statistics about some of the most common causes of car accidents in the commonwealth. While the statistics vary from year to year, the leading causes tracked by this agency include:
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Speeding is the top cause of traffic accidents in Virginia and a top cause nationwide. In Virginia in 2018, the VA Highway Safety Office reported that 19.6% of all traffic accidents were attributed to speeding, and it likely played a contributing factor in many more. This means that a motorist breaking the speed limit or driving too fast for the current road conditions caused almost a fifth of all Virginia accidents in 2018.
Distracted driving was the primary cause of 18.5% of all Virginia traffic accidents in 2018. Distracted driving is difficult to prove, so these numbers are likely underreported. The VA Highway Safety Office reported the top distractions included:
The driver did not have their eyes on the road
The driver was looking at a roadside incident
The driver was using a cell phone or texting
Driving Under the Influence
Drunk driving is a major cause of traffic accidents and a leading cause of fatality accidents in Virginia. In 2018, the VA Highway Safety Office reports that drunk drivers were responsible for 5.4% of all traffic accidents statewide. However, 33.9% of all traffic fatalities occurred as a result of an alcohol-related accident.
Related: Should I Hire an Attorney in Virginia or Let the Insurance Company Handle My Car Accident Claims?
Other Common Causes of Traffic Accidents
While speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving are all significant concerns for the general public and law enforcement alike, there are also numerous other common causes of traffic accidents. These include:
Following Too Closely and Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents are all too common in Virginia. Following too closely, cutting off other drivers, and distractions can all play a role. While most people consider rear-end accidents relatively minor, the resulting injuries can be serious, even at low speeds.
Failure to Yield and Side-Impact Accidents
Failure to yield includes actions such as running red lights and stop signs or turning left in front of oncoming traffic. This often leads to side-impact accidents, which can be very dangerous for the occupants of the T-boned vehicle. Most vehicles offer less protection in this type of accident.
Fatigued Driving and Falling Asleep at the Wheel
Falling asleep behind the wheel can cause an accident, but so can being fatigued. A drowsy driver’s reaction times slow dramatically. This may mean they cannot hit their brakes quickly enough to avoid a rear-end accident or take other evasive action to avoid other types of accidents.
Defective Vehicles and Vehicle Parts
In some cases, an accident occurs, and there is no motorist at fault. Instead, a defect with the car or a key component causes the accident. Problems with suspension, steering, braking, and other major systems can quickly cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. A defective tire that fails can also cause an accident.
It is possible to pursue legal action against the car manufacturer or the manufacturer of the defective part in this type of case.
Related: Is Virginia A No-Fault State For Car Accidents?
Learn More About Your Rights If You Were the Victim of a Virginia Car Accident
Northern Virginia injury attorney Jim Parrish used to represent the insurance companies, but now he uses the information he learned from inside the insurance industry to help victims of the most common types of car accidents in Virginia like you. He can help you understand your rights after a Virginia car accident, protect those rights, and take action to help you recover compensation based on the facts of your case.
Let the team from the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC review your case for free. We will identify the cause and all potentially liable parties, then build a strong case on your behalf.
Related: How do Virginia Cell Phone Laws Affect Car Accident Injury Cases?
Talk to a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer About Your Case
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia car accident, the team from the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC can help. We offer complimentary consultations for accident victims, and you never pay attorney’s fees unless we recover a payout for you.
Call (571) 229-1800 today to get started. You may have a limited time to act under VA § 8.01-243.
Is Virginia A No
The answer is no. Virginia is an at-fault state. Further, as Virginia uses a harsh contributory negligence standard, fault is especially important.
Is Virginia A No Fault State For Car Accidents?
By Administrator | Jul 1, 2021 | Personal Injury
Traffic collisions happen every day. Even if you do everything right, you could still end up in a serious crash. According to the latest data from the Virginia Highway Safety Office (VHSO), there were 105,600 car accidents reported statewide in 2020. In Carroll County, there were 453 reported crashes. Another 514 accidents were reported in Wythe County.
You may be wondering: Does Virginia use a no-fault system for car accidents? The answer is ‘no’—Virginia is an ‘at-fault’ auto accident jurisdiction. Further, as Virginia uses a harsh contributory negligence standard, a fault is especially important. Here, our Hillsville car accident attorneys provide an overview of what you need to know about motor vehicle crashes and faults in Virginia.
Virginia Is An ‘At-Fault’ Car Accident State
Virginia is not a ‘no-fault’ state for auto accidents. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the party deemed ‘at-fault’ for a car crash is legally liable for the resulting damages. In most cases, the at-fault party will be a driver. Indeed, studies show that drivers are responsible for approximately 95 percent of all traffic collisions reported nationwide. Though, other parties, including vehicle manufacturers and highway construction companies, may also be found at fault.
Fault Is Based On Negligence
In Virginia, a fault is based on the legal theory of negligence. A driver (or other parties) is negligent when they fail to take due care. In practice, negligence takes many different forms. Some common examples of negligence include:
Blowing through stop signs;
Running red lights;
Unsafe lane changes;
Tailgating another person;
and Drunk driving.
A driver whose negligence caused a crash is at-fault for that accident. They are responsible for the resulting damages. As an example, if you were hit by a distracted driver, you can hold them liable for the full extent of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Understanding Virginia’s Contributory Negligence Doctrine
Most U.S. states use an ‘at-fault’ standard for car accidents. In this way, Virginia is not an outlier. However, Virginia is one of only four remaining states that still use the harsh ‘contributory negligence’ doctrine for car accidents. Simply defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, contributory negligence is a common law doctrine that holds that if “a person was injured in part due to his/her own negligence” then they are “not entitled to collect any damages.” To understand how the contributory negligence system works, imagine that you were injured in a traffic accident in Carroll County, Virginia. The other driver was speeding and talking on the phone at the time of the crash. They are found at fault for 90 percent of the accident. However, investigators determine that your failure to signal a lane change was 10 percent of the reason why the accident occurred. Under Virginia’s harsh contributory negligence system, you would be denied the opportunity to recover compensation from the at-fault driver.
All Serious Car Accidents Require A Comprehensive Investigation
To summarize, Virginia is an ‘at-fault’ motor vehicle accident state that operates under the harsh contributory negligence legal doctrine. In practice, this means that fault is very important in any car accident case. If you or your loved one was involved in a serious crash in Virginia, it is imperative that an immediate investigation happens.
You should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. Your attorney will make sure that your collision is comprehensively investigated and that all relevant evidence is secured. With all documents, records, evidence, and information on your side, you will be in the very best position to pursue the full financial support you need to pay your bills and cover your costs.
Do not fall behind the insurance company in the legal claims process. Insurers waste no time in building a defense and they may try to pin part of the blame for the accident on you or your family members.
Call Our Virginia Auto Accident Injury Attorneys For A Free Consultation
At The Jackson Law Group, our Virginia car accident lawyers fight aggressively to get justice and full financial compensation for injured victims and their loved ones. If you have questions about fault, liability, and car crashes, we have answers. For a no-cost, no obligation review and evaluation of your case, please do not delay: Contact us right away for help. With offices in Hillsville and Wytheville, our personal injury lawyers are well-positioned to serve communities throughout the whole region, including in Carroll County, Wythe County, Smyth County, Bland County, Montgomery County, Tazewell County, and Franklin County.