One of the sad truths about humans is that they don’t always tell the truth. This is especially true when it comes to car accidents. Often times, a negligent driver is worried about being sued or getting caught up in the criminal justice system. Whatever their motive, it can pose serious threats to you, the victim, of their negligent driving.
You've not been involved in an accident, but you want to know what to do.
If you happened to be reading this article because you’re interested about what to do if you’re involved in an accident, my advice would be to make sure to document the facts at the time of the accident. You’ve likely got a smart phone, so use it. Take pictures of the accident scene. Talk to witnesses who saw the accident and get their statements and contact information.
You should also talk to the negligent driver to see if they will outright admit it was their fault. (Be aware though, if a person is going to lie about how the accident happened, they may lie about what they said to you as well).
If you think there’s video that may have captured the accident (perhaps the gas station next to the accident scene has cameras), try to get the video immediately before it gets destroyed (or have someone ask for you). And do your best to fully inform the police about what happened so they can complete their investigation (and, yes, they may get it wrong, but you can only do your best).
You've been hurt. Now you're worried about how to preserve your claim.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, and didn’t happen to do anything listed above (or not everything), just realize that it may indeed be a problem at trial. Unfortunately, Virginia applies the rule of contributory negligence. What that means is if a court were to find you even just 1% at fault for an accident, you lose.
And the standard of proof to win a case is preponderance of the evidence. That means more likely than not (unlike criminal cases, where the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt.) What that means is if a judge simply can’t tell who caused the accident or how it happened, you may very well lose at trial.
I don’t write this article to make you lose hope. I simply want people to understand that car accident cases can be very difficult, and the laws are often stacked up against victims. Therefore, do your best to preserve the evidence of your case so that if/when it goes to court, you are prepared to fight untruths that may be spoken against you.
You must also do your best to find the right attorney for you. In complicated cases, good lawyering can mean the difference between winning and losing. If you have anymore questions, feel free to call us at BenGlassLaw at (703) 584-7277.