Determining Fault in a Virginia Car Accident

Showing who is at fault in a Virginia car accident is not always an easy task. It often depends on the circumstances.

For instance, when a car crash occurs in a densely populated area, and numerous people witness the crash, the injury victim bringing a car accident lawsuit will be well-positioned to establish a case for compensation.

However, when the crash occurs on an isolated road or where there are no eyewitnesses, proving what occurred and who should be held responsible will be much more difficult to prove.

A resourceful and experienced Virginia car accident lawyer will attempt to uncover as many witnesses and items of evidence as possible in your case so as to support your version of events.

The law firm of Marks & Harrison employs a team of investigators whose duties include getting quickly to the scene to investigate the cause of an accident and identifying and locating important witnesses and items of evidence.

Evidence in Car Accidents

These elements include:

The other driver owed you a duty to drive in a reasonable and careful manner.

The other driver engaged in behavior that violated this duty.

The other driver’s careless behavior caused you to suffer injuries.

You have suffered actual injuries that merit compensation.

This evidence may include:

Your testimony and/or the testimony of other occupants in the car

The testimony of eyewitnesses to the crash

Statements of fault or admissions made by any other person or driver

Photographs you or law enforcement officers took of the crash scene

Safety reports or evaluations of the other car(s) involved that were completed before and/or after the crash and that opine on the vehicle’s roadworthiness

The breath or blood alcohol concentration of the other driver(s)

Hospital blood tests or other blood or urine tests that show that the other driver had one or more drugs in his or her system

Cell phone records from the other drivers, showing when calls were placed and/or texts made.
Additionally, a report may be prepared by a consultant, engineer or other expert. The expert will base this report on:

In the report, the expert will render an informed opinion about the cause of the car crash. The expert may also prepare a video or computer animation to illustrate the results to the judge or jury.

Determining Fault in Car Crash Situations

Witness testimony (including your testimony and that of any passengers or eyewitnesses) is some of the most powerful evidence in a Virginia car accident claim.

However, a skilled car accident lawyer will know how to use other available evidence to help corroborate your testimony and that of other witnesses.

This may include:

In a rear-end accident 
Photographs of the car’s final resting position after the accident and any diagrams created which can help prove your case. Your attorney will also likely subpoena the other party’s phone records to see if he or she was talking or texting at the time of the accident and was distracted.

In a head-on collision 
The negligent party (or responsible party) is the one that crossed into the other party’s lane of travel. Cell phone records can help show whether the other driver was distracted and carelessly slipped into your lane of travel. Blood tests taken from the other driver may show the presence of alcohol or drugs that would have impaired the driver’s ability to focus and maintain a single lane of traffic. Photographs and diagrams can be used by accident reconstruction experts as well.

In a sideswipe crash 
A car that is traveling parallel with you in an adjacent lane can cause a sideswipe or side-impact collision if he or she leaves his or her lane of travel. Distracted driving or impaired driving are common reasons why a car would leave its lane of travel and cross into your own. In a head-on collision, the cell phone records of the other driver will be important and the driver’s results from any blood, breath or urine tests that are used to detect the presence of alcohol and/or drugs.

In a backing out accident 
Photographs of the damage to your vehicle and the other car can be used to establish where each vehicle was struck. The “onboard computers” found in most modern cars keep track of vehicle speed, whether brakes are applied and other important details about each car’s movements in the moments just before a crash. This can help establish that your vehicle was stationary while the other car was in motion.

Contact Marks & Harrison for Experienced and Resourceful Help Today

At Marks & Harrison, we know that your Virginia car accident lawsuit is only as strong as the investigation that goes into it. That is why our firm maintains its own investigators who are able to quickly investigate your car crash before important evidence is lost.

Our law firm maintains professional relationships with a variety of consultants who lend us their expertise and knowledge in car accident cases where fault may be difficult to show.

Marks & Harrison is able to build your case quickly and effectively and then present it to the insurance company or in court in a powerful and persuasive manner, giving you the best opportunity for success in your case.

Contact our office today or reach us through our website to discuss your case with us.

Bryan L. Meadows is the Managing Attorney of Marks & Harrison's Fredericksburg office, where he concentrates his practice in the area of personal injury law. A graduate of Christopher Newport University and the Penn State University School of Law, Bryan served as the Managing Attorney of GEICO's Staff Counsel in Roanoke prior to joining Marks & Harrison. He is licensed to practice in Virginia state courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia. Additionally, Bryan has served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of Virginia and as President of the Salem/Roanoke County Bar Association.