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Is Virginia a No-Fault State?

On average, car accidents occur every 4.3 minutes in Virginia. This statistic is more than just a number; it represents the countless lives impacted each day by these unexpected events.

Our personal injury lawyers at Montagna Law in Virginia have seen firsthand the confusion and distress that follow these accidents. Many of our clients come in overwhelmed, not just by their injuries or vehicle damage but also by the complex legal questions that arise.

We want you to know who is legally — and financially — responsible for the accident. So let’s provide clarity about how Virginia’s fault system affects car accident claims so that you can head back on the road to recovery with confidence.

Is Virginia a No-Fault State for Car Accidents?

infographic chart of car accident data in Virginia

No, Virginia is not a “no-fault state.” In a state with no-fault laws, you can recover damages after a car accident regardless of who was at fault. Your recovery comes from your own insurance company. Every driver in a no-fault state must have no-fault insurance coverage, often known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Car accident victims can only sue at-fault drivers in cases that involve particularly serious injuries.

Virginia is an at-fault state, meaning that you must seek damages from the at-fault party. As you can see from the data above, car accidents that happen in Virginia are primarily due to speeding and distracted driving. This is often an at-fault driver who caused an accident through their own negligence. It could also be an employer whose driver caused an accident while on the job.

Virginia uses the contributory negligence rule, which is the strictest negligence-based rule in personal injury cases. You must prove that the at-fault party was 100% at fault to recover damages. If you shared in the fault in any way, such as if you were distracted by your phone when the accident occurred, you cannot recover anything. This applies even if you were 1% at fault and another driver was 99% at fault.

Who Can I Sue After a Car Accident in Virginia?

car accident in Virginia

You can sue the at-fault driver after a Virginia car accident. In some cases, you may be able to sue their employer. You can submit a claim to the at-fault party’s auto or liability insurance company, but you do not sue the insurance company directly.

While a lawsuit must be against the at-fault party, their insurance company is usually the one who will have financial responsibility in the end. Auto insurance policies include liability coverage that pays damages to car accident victims when the insured is at fault. Aside from a few very wealthy individuals, most drivers do not have enough money to pay damages after a car crash.

Compensation that you may recover after an auto accident includes:

  • Medical bills and medical expenses;
  • Lost time from work;
  • Care plans;
  • Past and future wages; and
  • Non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

You can also ask for punitive damages in a lawsuit, but these are difficult to get in Virginia. They are only available in cases where the at-fault driver acted so heinously that a judge or jury wants to punish them.

Why Work With Montagna Law

The car accident attorneys at Montagna Law have decades of experience representing people who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others. They have obtained millions of dollars in compensation for their clients through settlements and awards. The law firm has achieved accolades from its peers, with honors like:

  • Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firms, Attorney and Practice Magazine;
  • Lawyers of Distinction, 2024; and
  • Top Ten Attorneys, 2024, National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys.

Testimonials

“Mr. Montagna is an amazing attorney. His legal expertise and dedication exceeded my expectations. Mr. Montagna provided clear and insightful guidance throughout the entire legal process. His professionalism and accessibility are unmatched in his field. He was very prompt if I had any questions and kept me informed at every stage. I would highly recommend Mr. Montagna to anyone in need of legal representation.“ — Tyler.

“I would recommend Sam to anyone. Very empathetic. She has a friendly staff on her team. Been working together 2 years and never felt rushed or that she didn’t have time. She is a good attorney, she cares and she tries for you. Fun and easy to talk to but turns into the beast you need to fight for you in court. Sam is wonderful.” — Kara L.

“I went to see Mr. Montagna about representing me in a court case. After the meeting, I knew I had made the right choice for a lawyer. I won my case thanks to his professionalism and knowledge of the law.” — K.

Hold the Right People Accountable For Your Accident

The knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorneys at Montagna Law represent car accident victims throughout the Hampton Roads area, helping them recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. To schedule a free consultation, please contact the law firm today at 877-622-8100 or through the online contact form.

Frequent Answered Questions

Do Drivers in Virginia Need to Carry Liability Insurance?

Yes, Virginia’s auto insurance requirements include liability coverage. This will pay damages for injuries when the insured is the at-fault driver in an accident. Drivers must carry minimum amounts of coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

Virginia allows drivers to pay a fee and register a vehicle as uninsured. This option will go away, however, under a new law that takes effect on July 1, 2024.

Is Virginia a PIP State?

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage allows you to recover damages through your own car insurance policy, no matter who was at fault in the accident. While PIP is mandatory in states with no-fault insurance laws, it is optional in Virginia.

Is Virginia a Tort State?

Virginia is a “tort state.” This has the same meaning as saying that Virginia is an at-fault state, as discussed in more detail above.

What Happens if the Person at Fault in an Accident Has No Insurance in Virginia?

Drivers in Virginia must have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you are involved in a car accident with a driver who does not have insurance, your coverage will pay for your damages. If the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage limits are less than your damages, your insurance company should pay the amount that their insurance does not cover.

In cases involving an uninsured motorist, there is usually no point in pursuing an injury claim against the at-fault driver. That driver is still legally liable for your injuries, but unless they are independently wealthy, they probably will not be able to pay for your damages. You would submit a claim to your own insurance company instead. You pay for uninsured coverage, so you might as well get the benefit of what you have been paying for.

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