Factors That Can Influence A Car Accident Injury Claim in Virginia

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due to another’s negligence, the following is information on the various factors that can influence an injury claim. For more information or to learn how you car accident claim could be impacted, call and schedule a consultation with a Virginia car accident lawyer today.

How Can Texting While Driving Impact An Injury Claim?

Texting while driving impacts an injury case by making it easier for the plaintiff to establish liability. This is due to the fact that if the defendant is texting while driving, then it is relatively easy to establish that they weren’t paying attention to the road. This is very helpful in an injury case because the driver has a duty to operate their vehicle in a safe manner, and texting while driving breaches that duty thereby making the distracted driver liable for damages if they hit another vehicle. 

Overall this typically makes the case much simpler as the insurance typically doesn’t have a strong defense in these types of cases and is therefore is less likely to go to trial. 

How a DUI or Drunk Driver Can Impact An Injury Claim

Similar to cases where the defendant was texting at the time of the accident, if the defendant was driving drunk and caused an accident, it is easier to establish liability. Additionally, there is the potential for punitive damages which can drive the settlement value to be significantly higher. 

With that said, however, punitive damages are difficult to obtain as the Virginia Code Section 8.01-44.5 states you have to prove the following:

  • That the defendant knew it was going to be dangerous for them to drive while impaired
  • That they were impaired
  • That the accident was caused by their impairment

Additionally, an injured person must be able to show that the defendant had a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher, which is almost double the legal limit, and that drinking was a proximate cause of the injuries.

If you are able to prove all of these factors then you have a good shot at getting punitive damages, which many times will scare insurance companies into paying fair compensation for damages in cases where they may otherwise try to fight tooth and nail to minimize their client’s claims.

What Effect Can Speeding Have on An Injury Claim?

Speeding is another factor that helps to prove liability for the defendant. Speed limits are set for a reason and oftentimes when speed is found to be a factor in an accidnet the driver will face reckless driving charges as well. Just as in DUI cases, a reckless driving charge makes it much easier to settle a case.

How Bad Weather Can Impact An Injury Claim

Unlike many other factors, bad weather can be much more difficult as many times as insurance’s investigation will say that no one was at fault because it was a weather-related accident. An example of this is where it is icy on the roads so someone is driving 10 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone. Now if another driver is also driving at 10 miles per hour but skids out and strikes the first vehicle from behind, the insurance company may be able to claim no fault if the driver was operating reasonably and exercising ordinary care, which essentially means exercising the care that a reasonable person would exercise under those same circumstances. 

In cases like these, it can be a lot more difficult to establish liability unless the second vehicle was following too closely or was speeding and skid on the ice.