A Basic Guide on Traffic Collision Laws

A Basic Guide on Traffic Collision Laws

To understand traffic collision laws, one must know what accidents are defined as traffic collisions. There are many common names for traffic collisions, such as car crashes, accidents, and motor vehicle collisions. This accident occurs when a car or other vehicle collides with a pedestrian, animal, another vehicle, and stationary obstructions such as buildings, poles, and trees. The United States has strict laws for traffic collisions, especially in Virginia, and it can cost you a lot of money to pay for such accidents. To not be falsely accused of a traffic collision, you can hire a knowledgeable traffic violation lawyer in Virginia to help you through the legal process.

With any law, having someone who knows how to guide you can be very helpful as you may be accused of something that was not in your control or even dropped by your insurance after a claim. And often times this occurs with motor vehicle collisions. Often times this occurs with motor vehicle collisions. You must be aware of several laws within Virginia, such as the two-year deadline, five-year time limit, and contributory negligence to claim damages. There are several sorts of traffic collisions. Head-on collisions, road departures, rear-end accidents, side collisions, and rollovers are all examples of collisions.

In 2013, 54 million individuals were injured in automobile accidents worldwide. Approximately 68,000 of these were youngsters under the age of five. This led to 1.4 million fatalities in 2013, increasing 1.1 million in 1990. Almost all high-income nations have to fall traffic-related death rates, whereas most low-income countries have growing traffic-related death rates. Middle-income nations had the highest rate of 20 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. While Africa has the greatest death rate (24.1 per 100,000 population), Europe has the lowest rate (10.3 per 100,000 inhabitants).

Virginias Statue of Limitations with Car Accidents

Statute of limitation is a strict time limit placed on you and your right to bring a lawsuit to a court. This does not only apply to car insurance claims or traffic collisions. This law applies to several other legal proceedings as well. All insurance companies, whether you or the driver that caused the traffic collision, are required to give notice of an incident to claim for damage within a reasonable time. This may mean you need to report the accident in days or weeks.

Within Virginia, there are three different statutes of limitations that apply to traffic collision laws. The first one is filing a lawsuit over car accident injures. If someone is injured in a car accident, whether it be a motorcyclist, bicyclist, passenger, driver, or even pedestrian, and they wish to file a lawsuit against the person who caused the accident, then the injury case should be filed under Virginia civil court system within two years of the accidents. This law is stated under the Code of Virginia Section 8.01-243.

The Second lawsuit with a statute of limitations is damage to a vehicle or other property caused by a car accident. The defendant needs to file this kind of case within five years of the casualties. Any later would not be accepted.

The third and final statute of limitations in traffic collisions applies to car accidents that have caused someone’s death. Their family or any other representative can file a lawsuit for wrongful death. The filing deadline is only two years, and the clock starts right after the victim’s death. This means that if the victim dies later than the date of the accident, only then does time for the two-year deadline begin.

You may wonder what happens if you file for a traffic collision lawsuit once the statute of limitations deadline passes? in this case, the defendant can ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court would grant them dismissal. This is why it is essential to know which statute of limitations applies to your situation.

You should always leave yourself enough time to file for a lawsuit, even if you feel confident that your issue will easily be resolved through a car insurance claim. Because the deadline mentioned in the statute of limitations will already have begun. If you face any issues during your claim, an experienced lawyer can help you gain compensation for your losses.

Contributory Negligence

In a certain scenario, you have been seriously injured in a car accident while in Virginia, and you take your case to court. The judge and jury will listen to all the evidence you put forward and decide whether the other driver was or wasn’t responsible for the accident. Maybe you are also partially responsible for the accident; what happens to your right to compensation?

Under the contributory negligence law, you cannot receive money for damages if you are the one who is found even slightly responsible for the accident. You cannot recover any damages from the driver, or anyone else you may feel was responsible. Only a handful of states follow this law, and the state of Virginia is one of them. Some of the other states follow the rule of comparative negligence in which the driver at fault can recover for damages so long as they are not responsible for more than fifty percent of the accident.

Not only does the contributory negligence rule bind Virginia’s judge and jury, but it will also be the guide for your car insurance claims adjuster when they are evaluating your case. A claim an adjuster makes their decision based on what will happen in court, so if you share a part of the blame for the accident, then negotiations for settlement will be difficult.

Even though this rule may seem unfair or challenging, do not let it discourage you from pursuing any actions to claim compensation. Instead, discuss with a Virginia lawyer about your situation, and they will guide you best.

When Must a Car Accident be Reported in Virginia?

Anyone in a motor vehicle collision must report it under the laws stated within the Code of Virginia Chapter 8. Section 46.2-894 law states that the driver of a motor vehicle must report an accident in the following cases:

  • When someone is injured or killed because of the accident
  • when the accident caused damages to another vehicle or someone’s property

The driver who caused the accident must report their name to the state police or any other law enforcement agency, vehicle registration number, address, and driver’s license number. These things can even be reported to:

  • The person who was struck or injured by the motor vehicle collision if they are capable of understanding the situation they are in.
  • The driver or other occupant of the vehicle that was struck
  • The owner of the damaged property.

Any person who fails to comply with these rules will be criminally liable, and the severity of not abiding by this rule depends on what type of accident occurred.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Virginia Known as A No-fault or Fault State?

The state of Virginia follows the fault-based system in its traffic collision laws. The financial responsibility is based on the fault-based system in which the car accident causes injuries, vehicle damages, lost income, etc. Thus the law states that the person who was at fault during the car accident is responsible for any and all harm that resulted from it.

Within the state of Virginia, a person who suffers from any injury or damages due to a motor vehicle accident can take three routes:

  • The first one is that they can file a claim from their insurance company, assuming that the loss they have suffered is covered under their policy. In this case, the injured person’s insurance company will ask for subrogation claims from the at-fault drivers’ insurance company.
  • The second route they can take is simply filing for a third-party claim directly to the at-fault drivers’ insurance company.
  • The third route they can take is filing for a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver within the court.

In states where the no-fault car insurance applies, the claimant will have the same range of options. After an accident occurs in a no-fault state, you will have to turn to your own car’s personal injury protection coverage. This is done through your insurance policy and the payment of medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses regardless of whoever is the cause of the accident. Only if your injuries are severe and out of the threshold set by the state will you be able to directly recover damages from the at-fault driver. But within the state of Virginia, drivers do not need to worry about this law as it does not apply to them.

What Happens If You Drive in Virginia Without Insurance?

Severe penalties are imposed on those who do not comply with the state’s insurance rules. If your insurance coverage terminates or gets canceled, then you must:

  • Pay the uninsured motor vehicle fee
  • Reinsure the vehicle
  • Give up the plates to the department of motor vehicles
  • Deactivate your license plates, but only temporarily.

If you are driving around uninsured, you have not paid a five-hundred-dollar fee to the department of motor vehicles; thus, your license and registration will get suspended. To get back your driving privileges, you will have to pay five hundred dollars and file for a form showing the insurance proof. You must then submit your forms to the department of motor vehicles within the next three years.

What Compensation Laws Are Present in Virginia for Car Accidents?

There are two types of compensation laws present within the state of Virginia for traffic collisions, these include:

Damage Types

In estimating your total damages suffered in a car accident, you must consider that you can get both economic and non-economic damages. The economic recovery of damages includes out-of-pocket expenses such as repairing your car, lost wages from not being able to show up to work on time, or medical bills. Non-economic recovery is more brutal to estimate since it includes pain, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, and suffering. Damages from a car accident include:

  • Disability
  • Doctor visits
  • Car repairs
  • Lost wages

Punitive damages are also available in some rare cases. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their wrongdoing, such as drunk driving.

Damage Caps

Most states impose a time limit on how long you can wait before filing for a claim; it’s no different in Virginia. In case of personal injury, the time limit is usually two years. However, five years is also seen in some situations, such as private property damages.

Virginia has multiple damage caps that limit the amount you can get paid for recoverable damages. If punitive damages are available in some instances, Virginia imposes a limit of 350,000 dollars. If a commonwealth employee is the cause of the accident, then Virginia limits the liability of the commonwealth employee to greater than 100,000 dollars. Lastly, if your motor vehicle was damaged willfully by a minor, you can only recover up to 2500 dollars from the minors’ parents.

Virginia protects against insurance companies that deny claims in bad faith. If your insurance company denies you a rental car while your car is being repaired, then the insurance company owes you more than 500 dollars or double the cost of a comparable rental car. If your insurance company denies it in bad faith, you can claim 3500 dollars.

How Can a Virginia Car Collision Lawyer Fight Your Case?

If you or someone you love has suffered from injuries in a car accident while in Virginia, you can get guidance from a traffic Collison lawyer, and they will help you recover damages. They will also help you:

  • Identify the person at fault
  • Give you an understanding of your legal rights
  • Prove liability and negligence
  • Negotiate a settlement
  • Litigate your case
  • Document accident-related damages


Lawyers have the utmost knowledge on legal subjects; thus, hiring one to fight your case for a traffic collision can help you significantly reduce the amount of compensation you owe someone or greatly increase the amount of compensation someone owes you. Traffic collision laws can be extremely tricky, especially depending on your state. The state of Virginia has great lawyers to help you through your legal proceedings and will guide you through the whole process.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top