The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported over 65,000 car accident injuries in 2019. You’re entitled to compensation if your accident resulted in injury or material damages. Laws in Virginia differ from other states, so knowing how the fault and statute of limitations impact your claim can help you win the maximum compensation in a car accident lawsuit.

Three Critical Virginia Car Accident Laws

While Virginia car accident lawyers are essential, knowing the laws can help you after a wreck. Understand the three primary laws that can influence your accident report and potential financial compensation.

At-Fault Claims

Many states use no-fault insurance for car accidents in Virginia. These laws mean that drivers file injury claims with their insurance companies after a wreck, even if the other person was at fault. You can claim the other driver is at fault if the accident is severe.

Virginia, however, is a “fault” state. In Virginia, you can say the other driver caused an accident. You can also file a lawsuit against them, taking them to court for higher compensation than the insurance payout would deliver.

Contributory Negligence Law

Contributory negligence law means both drivers play a part in the accident. The other car might have hit yours, but if you were speeding or looking at your phone, the courts would rule that you also share the blame for the accident.

Since Virginia follows the contributory negligence law, you legally can’t get financial compensation if you’re also at fault for a wreck. This ruling can also influence how your insurance pays out for your claim.

While it might worry you to think you played a part in an accident, you shouldn’t let it prevent you from bringing a lawsuit against the other driver. Contact a lawyer to present your case so they can suggest the right approach to your claim.

Statute of Limitations

When considering at-fault claims and contributory negligence law, you should also consider the statute of limitations. Virginia puts a time limit on accidents, so you can only bring a driver to court within a specific duration.

There are several different statutes of limitation in Virginia. They vary depending on the claim. If you have an injury from a car accident, you have two years to file a lawsuit against the other driver. For vehicle damage, you can file a lawsuit within five years.

Car accidents that result in someone’s death have a two-year statute of limitations. The time begins after the death, so if someone succumbs to injuries from a car wreck a month after the accident, you have two years from that day to file a lawsuit.

If you try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline, the other driver can ask the court to dismiss the case without any legal resolution. Always keep track of relevant deadlines so you can get the maximum compensation.

This statute of limitations only applies to bringing a lawsuit against the driver. There’s no official statute of limitations regarding your insurance claim, though most companies ask you to do so within a few weeks.

Reporting Car Accidents in Virginia

Virginia law states that you need to report any accident that results in injury, death, or vehicle and property damage. If you’re involved in a car wreck, ensure you disclose it promptly.

  • Call the state or local police or 911.
  • Give the dispatcher your name, address, driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, and accident location.
  • Tell them details about any injuries or deaths from the accident.

Exchange personal information with the other driver, including insurance coverage and your phone number or email address. You’ll need to contact your insurance company to file a claim.


Understanding Virginia laws can help you file a lawsuit regarding your car accident before you run out of time. The at-fault and contributory negligence laws can help you get the compensation you deserve. Hire a Virginia accident attorney to simplify the process.