Unfortunately, even the most careful and educated drivers could be injured if others on the road drive dangerously. If you’ve been injured in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the Virginia car accident lawyers at Arrington Schelin for help right away. It’s crucial to begin an investigation into your crash as soon as possible to determine the cause and identify all possible sources of compensation.
For more than 40 years, our dedicated attorneys have represented accident victims and fought for the justice they deserve. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We’ll discuss the unique details of your wreck and explain your legal rights for recovering compensation.
What Are the Common Causes of Car Accidents in Virginia?
Some of the most common causes of Virginia car accidents include:
An intoxicated driver represents a serious hazard on the road. Alcohol intoxication can quickly impair a motorist’s ability to safely control their vehicle. It can:
- Slow reaction times
- Impair judgment and perception
- Lower inhibition
- Increase aggression
Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Distracted driving takes a motorist’s attention off the road and thereby impairs their reaction times.
Common examples of distracted driving include:
- Using a cellphone or other handheld electronic device
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming or applying makeup
- Reading a map
- Adjusting the car radio or climate controls
- Reaching around the passenger cabin
- Talking to fellow passengers
- Looking at signs or other sights outside the car
- Simply getting lost in thought — a phenomenon often called “highway hypnosis”
Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
Speeding, or driving too fast for road/weather/lighting conditions, is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Virginia. A speeding driver gives themselves less opportunity to react to situations on the road. In addition, speeding makes car accidents much more severe by increasing the forces involved.
Reckless driving involves a conscious disregard of the substantial risk that dangerous driving behaviors will lead to an accident. Examples of reckless driving behaviors include:
- Excessive speeding
- Weaving in and out of heavy traffic
Drowsy or fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving when it comes to the ability to safely operate a vehicle. Feeling tired or fatigued can impair a driver’s judgment and reaction times. It can also cause a driver to fall asleep behind the wheel or engage in microsleep, or repeated short bursts of unconsciousness. When a driver falls asleep or engages in microsleep, they no longer have active control over their vehicle, which could cause it to veer out of the lane, off the road, or into the path of oncoming traffic.
Failure to yield
Traffic laws dictate when a driver is required or expected to yield the right of way to another vehicle. When a driver fails to yield the right of way, they create a significant risk of an accident. Failures to yield frequently lead to:
- Left-turn accidents
- Rotary accidents
- Intersection accidents
- On- or off-ramp accidents
Unsafe lane changes
A driver makes an unsafe lane change when they change lanes without signaling and/or without checking their mirrors and blind spots. When a driver makes an unsafe lane change, they run the risk of colliding into another vehicle already in the lane.
Tailgating or following too closely
By following behind another vehicle too closely, a driver runs the risk that they cannot safely slow down or come to a stop if the vehicle in front of them brakes suddenly. Tailgating causes or contributes to most rear-end accidents. At an intersection or in gridlock traffic, tailgating can lead to a chain reaction of rear-end collisions.
Aggressive driving/road rage
When a motorist engages in aggressive driving or road rage, they put everyone on the road at risk — including themselves. In some cases, an aggressive driver may even intend to cause an accident. Common aggressive driving/road rage practices include:
- Brake checking (unnecessarily hitting the brakes when another vehicle is following closely)
- Swerving in and out of traffic
- Deliberate speeding
A driver traveling against traffic creates an obvious and often unavoidable hazard for other motorists. Wrong-way driving can happen on a one-way street or in the oncoming lanes of a two-way street.
Unfortunately, inexperienced drivers have some of the highest rates of car accidents. Inexperienced drivers may not yet be familiar with traffic laws and the rules of the road. They may lack safe-driving techniques, and they may become overwhelmed easily.
Poorly designed roads, or poor road conditions
Poor road conditions such as potholes, black ice, or debris can cause a driver to lose control of their car or collide with another vehicle while attempting to avoid a hazard on the road. Poorly designed roads interfere with drivers’ ability to safely operate their vehicles alongside other motorists on the road, increasing the risk of an accident.
Defective auto parts
Defectively designed or manufactured auto parts can lead to a mechanical failure while a car is moving, potentially causing an accident if the driver cannot safely bring their vehicle to a stop outside of the traffic lanes.
How We Prove Fault After a Car Accident
At Arrington Schelin, our Virginia car accident attorneys are ready to quickly go to work if you’ve been injured in a collision. We’ll start by investigating the accident, which will involve:
- Taking photos and videos of the accident scene, ideally as soon as possible after the crash
- Preserving traffic camera footage of the crash itself
- Photographing damage to the vehicles and arranging for an expert to conduct mechanical inspections, if necessary
- Interviewing eyewitnesses
- Reviewing police accident reports and interviewing responding officers
- Accessing vehicle electronic data recorder logs, when possible
- Working with accident reconstruction experts to determine exactly what happened
What You Need to Know About Contributory Negligence in Virginia
Before you pursue a car accident claim, you should know how Virginia’s contributory negligence rule may affect your legal rights and options. The contributory negligence rule states that an injured party cannot recover compensation for their injuries and losses if they bear any share of fault for causing the accident.
Even if you are determined to be only 1 percent at fault for the accident, the contributory negligence rule bars you from bringing a claim against the driver who is assigned the remaining 99 percent of the fault for the crash.
Insurance companies will use this strict rule against you by trying to pin a portion of the blame on you. It is crucial to have a knowledgeable Virginia car accident lawyer on your side who can build a strong case on your behalf.
How a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you have suffered serious injuries in a crash, a Virginia car accident lawyer from Arrington Schelin can help you pursue fair compensation for your losses by:
- Performing a thorough investigation of the accident, including taking photos and videos of the accident scene, inspecting the vehicles involved, reviewing any traffic/surveillance camera or dashcam footage, and talking to eyewitnesses
- Working with accident reconstruction experts and other professionals to determine how the accident occurred and how your injuries will affect you
- Identifying all potential sources of compensation, including your own insurance policy, if applicable
- Aggressively negotiating with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to try to reach a fair and full settlement in your favor
- Pursuing your claims in court if litigation represents the best option for getting you the full compensation you deserve
Reach out to Arrington Schelin today for a free initial consultation with a Virginia car accident lawyer. We charge no upfront fees and represent clients on a contingency-fee-basis. This means we only get paid when we successfully secure financial compensation on your behalf.
Don’t wait until it is too late to seek justice. Contact us by phone or online now.