Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law

Key elements of determining fault in a Virginia auto accident

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Many preventable auto accidents happen on a daily basis. For those who incur injuries due to another driver's negligence, filing a personal injury claim may aid them in receiving the compensation the law entitles them to.

In order to win a case, it is important to be aware of the process. There are a few key elements to know about in regard to determining fault in an auto accident in Virginia.


Having proper evidence is essential to any case. When deciding which evidence to present, it is important to keep in mind the purpose it serves. Some forms of evidence help to prove the negligence of the other driver. This includes any evidence that helps to set the scene, such as:

  • Accident reports
  • Photos
  • Witness statements

Additional evidence may aid in validating the award amount that the claimant seeks. For this portion of the claim, medical records and possible medical expert witnesses may be beneficial. A knowledgeable attorney may also be helpful in determining and presenting the evidence in a compelling manner.


In short, negligence occurs when a party owes a duty of care while performing a certain act, but does not exercise that duty and causes damage to another party. A common example of this is a drunk driving accident. By driving while drunk, the driver does not exercise safe driving practices, and causes an accident which leads to injuries to the other driver.

However, there are other types of car accidents where the other party may contribute to the accident. By definition, this is called contributory negligence. In such instances, the claimant loses any grounds for making a claim. This is different from comparative negligence, which decreases the award amount that claimants receive by their percentage of fault. Unfortunately, the state of Virginia has yet to adopt this updated policy.


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