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Richmond Personal Injury Lawyer / Richmond Personal Injury

Richmond Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury law allows individuals who have suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence or intentional misconduct to seek compensation for the harm done to them. Personal injury law is an often challenging area of law, but it is extremely satisfying as an attorney to be able to help people in need obtain justice and compensation when they have been hurt by the negligence or fault of another and could not achieve a full and fair recovery without professional legal assistance.

The attorneys at Latham & Martin are well-versed in this area, each with over a decade of legal experience dedicated to assisting clients in recovering maximum compensation injuries. If you or a loved one has been harmed by the negligence of another in Richmond or surrounding communities, including Henrico, Hanover, Chesterfield, Petersburg, Hopewell, and Colonial Heights, reach out to Latham & Martin for a free consultation with an experienced and dedicated Richmond personal injury lawyer.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Virginia personal injury law covers physical, emotional, or psychological harm that an individual may suffer due to another’s wrongdoing. This can include instances such as car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and more. The fundamental goal is to provide the victim with fair compensation to cover the associated losses.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Personal injury law differs from state to state, with each state deciding when to hold parties accountable for injuries caused by their negligence or misconduct, how long the injury victim has to file a claim, how much compensation can be recovered, etc. Each state has its own rules deciding these matters and while many state laws are similar, there are significant differences in certain areas.

One such area deals with “contributory negligence,” also called “comparative negligence” or “comparative fault.” This topic answers the question of what to do if both parties are considered partly to blame for the accident. While most states allocate fault between the parties in a number of different ways, Virginia is one of only five jurisdictions that take the strictest approach, known as pure contributory negligence. Read on for an explanation of contributory negligence and how it plays out in a Virginia car accident, slip and fall, or other injury involving negligence. If you’ve been injured and the at-fault party is claiming contributory negligence on your part, getting skilled and knowledgeable legal help is crucial. In the City of Richmond and throughout Central Virginia, and beyond, reach out to Latham & Martin for a free consultation with an experienced and dedicated Richmond personal injury attorney.

In most states, contributory negligence is known as “comparative negligence” and is defined in terms of how fault is allocated between the parties. The percentage of fault assigned to the victim determines whether the victim can pursue a claim for damages and how much they can receive. In Virginia, however, the doctrine of contributory negligence operates on a pure basis, meaning that if a plaintiff is found even 1% at fault for their injuries, they will be completely barred from recovering any damages at all. This strict rule applies to any type of personal injury in Virginia, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and defective product injuries.

Examples of Contributory Negligence in Car Accidents

  • Distracted Driving: If one driver makes an unsafe lane change while the other driver was reading a text, both might be considered negligent.
  • Running a Red Light: If a driver runs a red light but the other driver was speeding, both parties might share fault.

Examples of Contributory Negligence in Motorcycle, Pedestrian, or Bicycle Accidents

  • Motorcycle Lane Splitting: If a motorcyclist is lane-splitting or white-lining in a way that’s considered reckless, they could be seen as partly responsible.
  • Jaywalking: A pedestrian crossing the street against a traffic signal or outside a crosswalk may be considered partly at fault if the pedestrian gets hit by a speeding, distracted or otherwise negligent driver.
  • Bicycle without Proper Lights: Riding a bicycle without proper lighting or reflectors might be thought to contribute to an accident.

Examples of Contributory Negligence in Slip and Fall, Dog Bite, or Defective Product Injuries

  • Ignoring Warning Signs: In a slip and fall case, if the victim ignored clear warning signs, they might be considered partly responsible.
  • Provoking a Dog: If a person provokes a dog leading to a bite, contributory negligence might apply.
  • Misusing a Product: If a consumer misuses a product against the manufacturer’s instructions and is injured, contributory negligence may be invoked.

Richmond Personal Injury Lawyers Fighting for Your Rights

At Latham & Martin, our experienced legal team understands the complexities of contributory negligence and is prepared to investigate and build a strong case to defeat this defense. Through meticulous examination of evidence, witness testimonies, and expert analysis, we strive to demonstrate that our clients were not at fault and to hold the responsible party accountable. This is a critical step that can make or break a case; skilled and knowledgeable representation is a must.

Our dedication to our clients throughout Richmond, Virginia, ensures that we will fight relentlessly to protect their rights and secure the compensation they deserve. If the insurance company says you were partly to blame, don’t just take their word for it. Call Latham & Martin for advice about your options to pursue a claim.

How a Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

The party responsible for causing the injury, be it a negligent driver, nursing home owner, doctor or hospital, property owner, or some other party, is not always ready to admit their fault and offer a full and fair amount of compensation. Too often, their insurance company will deny liability, put the blame on the victim, dispute the injury, or try to settle the case for less than what it is worth. This is unfair to the victim and leaves them without the financial assistance they need and deserve when injured through no fault of their own. A plaintiff’s personal injury attorney is uniquely qualified to advocate on your behalf.

A plaintiff’s personal injury attorney plays a vital role in the recovery process. They can aid in:

  • Negotiation with Insurance Companies: They negotiate with the defendant’s insurance company to secure a fair settlement.
  • Going to Trial: If a reasonable settlement is not possible, the attorney may take the case to trial to pursue appropriate compensation.

Proving the Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

The plaintiff’s lawyer in Virginia must prove certain elements to establish a personal injury claim:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that duty.
  3. Causation: The breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  4. Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result.

Difficulties can arise at any step. If any one of these elements can’t be proven, the injury victim will not be able to achieve a full financial recovery or any recovery at all, in some cases.

Common Excuses and Defenses

Defendants and their insurance companies often attempt to avoid responsibility. Common excuses and defenses include:

  1. Comparative Negligence: Arguing that the plaintiff was partially at fault. Any fault on the part of the injury victim, however small, can defeat a claim for compensation under Virginia’s strict rule of pure contributory negligence
  2. Pre-Existing Conditions: Claiming the injuries were pre-existing and not related to the incident. If there was a pre-existing condition but the accident made it worse, the responsible party can still be held accountable for the additional damage. This can be difficult to prove without skilled legal assistance.
  3. Failure to Mitigate Damages: Stating that the plaintiff failed to minimize their injuries or losses, such as by failing to see a doctor promptly or follow the doctor’s orders.

Recoverable Damages in Virginia Personal Injury Claims

In a personal injury claim in Virginia, different categories of recoverable damages include:

  1. Economic Damages: These cover tangible losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: These address intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  3. Punitive Damages: Where the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future.

Contact Latham & Martin for Skilled and Knowledgeable Help With Your Richmond Personal Injury Claim

Personal injury law is intricate and requires detailed knowledge and experience. At Latham & Martin, our dedicated Richmond personal injury attorneys understand the complexities involved and are committed to helping our clients navigate through the challenges to recover the compensation they rightfully deserve. Whether through strategic negotiations or aggressive litigation, our team stands ready to provide the guidance and support you need. Call today to discuss your specific case and how we can assist you in your recovery journey.

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