Many people understand that negligent driving often causes car accidents. However, what qualifies as negligent driving may not be clear. Simply speaking, negligent driving in VA is a driving practice that either violates a traffic law or is unreasonable and dangerous. Whenever a negligent driver’s behavior causes an injury or damages someone else’s property, the law requires them to pay for the damage they cause.
If you were a victim in a car crash caused by negligent driving, you deserve payment for the physical injury, property damage, and emotional harm you suffered. The Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., can help you recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Carlton F. Bennett is an experienced, dedicated, and aggressive advocate for injury victims in Virginia with over 47 years of experience. Mr. Bennett gives one-on-one attention to each client to help ensure his representation is tailored to their unique needs.
What Is Negligence?
The legal definition of negligence is a breach of the duty of care owed to another person that results in damage. For drivers, what constitutes a duty is straightforward. All drivers owe others on the road the duty to safely operate their vehicles and follow the law. When they violate the law, they breach the duty they owe to others on the road. If this, in turn, causes an accident and resulting damages, it’s likely that the driver acted negligently.
Although this definition of negligence seems relatively easy, proving negligence in car accidents can be complex. Fortunately, our attorney has extensive knowledge of Virginia traffic laws and how to prove negligence. You can contact our office today so we can discuss your situation and explain what qualifies as negligent driving in your case.
Examples of Negligent Driving
An irresponsible driver can put you in harm’s way in countless ways. Common examples of car collisions include the following:
- Failing to obey the speed limit;
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Distracted driving; and
- Driving while sleepy.
Following other drivers too closely and changing lanes without properly signaling or checking blind spots can also be considered negligent driving. These activities can end in a crash causing disastrous results for other drivers and pedestrians. Additionally, an at-fault driver’s failure to properly respond to wet or icy conditions could be considered negligence.
Penalties for Negligent Driving
A negligent driver could be subject to civil liability, fines, and criminal penalties. You can play a significant role in holding a negligent driver accountable for their behavior through a civil lawsuit or claim.
A Civil Claim for Negligent Driving
If a negligent driver injures you, you can submit an insurance claim or file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for your damages. Compensation can include the following:
- Medical costs,
- Wage loss,
- Property damage or loss,
- Loss of earning capacity,
- Other out-of-pocket expenses; and
- Pain and suffering.
You may also be eligible to seek punitive damages if the driver engaged in particularly egregious conduct. Punitive damages are meant to punish the driver and deter similar conduct from others.
You might have to take your case to trial to recover all of the damages to which you may be entitled. Most cases, however, settle before trial by negotiating with the other driver or their insurance company.
Criminal Penalties and Fines
When a driver fails to comply with Virginia law and local driving regulations, the government can also prosecute them for their conduct. Breaking a traffic law may require the party to pay a fine. Thus, they might owe money to the government in addition to what they owe to the person they injured. Traffic fines for creating unsafe driving conditions could cost a driver hundreds to thousands of dollars per violation.
Serious or repeat offenders of traffic laws might also face license suspension. They can also face criminal liability, including jail time.
How to Prove Negligent Driving
You should collect evidence of what caused your crash and your resulting losses right away. Evidence that can help you prove the other driver’s negligence and your damages includes the following:
- Pictures of the accident scene,
- Witness testimony,
- Pictures of the damage to your car,
- Photos of the other driver’s car,
- Medical records, and
- Wage statements.
You might also need the help of police officers or accident reconstruction professionals to prove your case to the insurance company or in court. An experienced lawyer can help you collect evidence and find experts who can help support your claim.
Time Limit for Filing a Claim
In Virginia, you have two years to sue an at-fault driver for your accident-related damages in court. Given the significant disruption a collision can cause in your life, the two-year time limit for initiating a lawsuit can pass quickly.
You do not want to file your claim too soon. You need time to determine the extent of your injuries and other financial needs. You might need several months to a year of medical treatment and physical therapy. You may also need time for property damage evaluations.
This is why immediately speaking to a knowledgeable attorney about your case is important. An experienced lawyer can thoroughly investigate your claim and file your case before the deadline.
Contact the Law Firm of Carlton F. Bennett, P.L.L.C., Today
The principal attorney in our office, Carlton F. Bennett, has over four decades of experience representing personal injury victims in Virginia. Mr. Bennett is an aggressive and compassionate lawyer who pays special attention to each client’s unique needs. He has an aggressive approach to personal injury cases to help injury victims win the compensation they deserve.
Mr. Bennett also has an impressive track record. Our office has secured millions of dollars for clients, including Norfolk, Virginia’s largest jury verdict of $10.2 million. No case is too simple or complex for us because serious injuries are our business.
If you have been injured in a car accident, we are sorry for what you have endured and are here to help. You can schedule a free consultation with our office by calling 757-486-5454 or contacting us online.