Injury victims rely on personal injury lawyers to bring cases against responsible parties and help them pursue the money needed for the cost of care and recovery. But that process can be complicated by any number of factors. There may be a statute of limitation on claims and various types of defenses, not to mention the general rules on how injury attorneys can pursue settlements or take other parties to court.
One of the many issues is the idea of “contributory negligence.” In too many cases, Virginia courts have ruled that contributory negligence bars an injury victim from collecting compensation. Virginia is one of only a handful of states that hold on to the “pure contributory negligence” standard – which means that a wide variety of mitigating factors can cause an injury case to be effectively thrown out because of contributory negligence.
The idea behind contributory negligence is that if any injury victim played any part in the accident, or had any percentage of fault, he or she cannot recoup any money in a personal injury case. Some legal experts call this a “harsh” or “draconian” law that has kept Virginia victims from pursuing justice in various cases.
Understanding the Concept
A blanket application of contributory negligence does have a very depressing effect on personal injury compensation. All sorts of small contributory factors can be used to block these types of cases. For instance, suppose someone falls in an unsafe area, but it’s later discovered that he or she wasn’t wearing proper footwear. Or, there’s effective or faulty machinery that causes an accident, but the defense claims that the person operating it didn’t have the proper training.
One good example of where contributory negligence plays a role is in VA traffic accident law. Let’s say someone was rear-ended, but they weren’t wearing a seatbelt, so the at-fault driver’s lawyer wants to pursue a contributory negligence defense. In many instances, there’s a kind of “blame the victim” mentality where defense attorneys look for any way to clear their clients of any guilt or blame and, therefore, of any financial responsibility.
Injury victims rely on local Central VA lawyers to protect them from the kinds of challenges that reside in Virginia state law. In addition to getting a fair and impartial medical evaluation, talking to insurance companies, and anticipating legal hearings and other court dates, injury lawyers work to gather all the facts of the case and apply federal, state and local law, as well as case precedent, to the best interests of their clients. They also want to make sure that a shoddy or questionable defense doesn’t block their client from compensation.
We’re a Charlottesville Virginia Injury Law Firm, Ready to Help
Injured in Charlottesville, Virginia? If you have questions about contributory negligence or any other aspect of a Central VA injury case, call the injury attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. Let us help you bring a case through local Central Virginia courts. We can evaluate your legal options, and help you and your family pursue justice under the law.