Virginia Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits

This page will look at auto accident lawsuits in Virginia and their settlement value. Our injury lawyers will explain the basic laws in Virginia relating to car accidents, and we look at examples of jury payouts and settlement amounts in recent accident cases.


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About Car Accidents in Virginia

Virginia has a population of 8.6 million, which makes it the 12th most populous state in the U.S. Nearly 40% of Virginia’s population lives in the northern Virginia region outside of Washington, DC. Northern Virginia is notorious for having some of the worst traffic and most overburdened roads and highways in the country.

In 2022, 1,005 fatalities occurred in vehicle accidents on Virginia’s roadways. 59,000 people suffered significant physical injuries in Virginia auto accidents in 2022, which is an average of 162 auto accident injuries every day. Fairfax County had the most accidents (11,571) and the most accident fatalities (66) of any County in the state. Prince William County was a distant second in terms of number of accidents (6,025), and Henrico County was second in accident fatalities (32).

Auto Accident Laws in Virginia

Auto accidents in Virginia are covered by unique state laws. These laws include traffic rules and vehicle registration and insurance regulations (bot of which are statutory laws), and tort law for accident liability. Below is a very brief outline of some of the key points of Virginia car accident law.

At-Fault Rule in Virginia Accidents

Although many states have adopted so-called “no-fault” rules for car accident liability and insurance coverage, Virginia continues to be a pure “at-fault” state when it comes to determining auto accident liability. This means that when an auto accident occurs, one driver is determined to be “at-fault” for the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance will always have primary responsibility for covering the damages. Drivers only get coverage by their own insurance if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. This makes the determination of fault in an accident very important in Virginia, even for minor damages.

2-Year Statute of Limitations for Virginia Car Accident Cases

Virginia has a 2-year statute of limitations that applies to all auto accident personal injury lawsuits. Va. Code § 8.01-243. For cases involving injuries only, the 2-year period begins to run on the date the accident occurs. For auto accident claims involving death, the 2-years begins to run from the date of death. Accident claims involving property damage only are subject to a longer 5-year statute of limitations in Virginia.

Contributory Negligence

Virginia is among the small minority of states that continue to follow the traditional rule of contributory negligence in auto accidents and other tort cases involving mutual degrees of fault. This rule basically says that a plaintiff cannot recover damages for an auto accident unless the other driver is found to be 100% at fault for the accident.

For example, let’s say Jack and Jill are involved in a car accident and Jack sued Jill for injuries he suffered as a result of the collision. The case goes to trial, and the jury finds that Jill was 95% at fault for causing the accident and Jack was only 5% at fault. Under Virginia’s contributory negligence rule, Jack would be barred from recovering any damages.

Damages Available in Virginia Auto Accident Cases

If you are physically injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, Virginia law entitles you to get financial compensation in the form of “damages.” Damages in Virginia can be awarded for certain types or categories of losses resulting from the accident. The categories of damages available in Virginia auto accident cases include:

  • Past Medical Expenses
  • Future Medical Expenses
  • Past Lost Income / Wages
  • Future Lost Income / Wages
  • Mental Pain and Suffering

Settlement Value of Virginia Auto Accident Lawsuits

The settlement value of a Virginia car accident injury case is based on various factors. The nature and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries are always the most significant factors driving the settlement amount of a Virginia car accident lawsuit. More serious injuries involve more medical expenses and pain and suffering, which equates to a higher settlement payout.

The chart below shows the average settlement value range of Virginia car accident cases based on the severity level of the plaintiff’s injuries.  Keep in mind our definition of minor is still a fairly serious accident.  We are not talking about whiplash and four weeks of physical therapy, even in the “minor” injury category.

LEVEL I  (minor) $21,000 – $42,000
LEVEL II  (moderate) $59,000 – $160,000
LEVEL III  (severe) $198,000 – $525,000


Virginia Car Accident Settlements and Verdicts

Below are recent verdicts and reported settlements from Virginia car accident lawsuits. These cases are provided for informational purposes only, to give examples of the types of injuries and associated legal damages awarded in Virginia auto accident cases.

  • $500,000 Settlement (Richmond 2024): A motorist involved in an auto accident received a settlement after suffering a mild traumatic brain injury. Although the collision was described as not severe, the plaintiff subsequently experienced persistent symptoms, including headaches, vision problems, irritability, and concentration difficulties, which affected his professional life as a banker. These symptoms persisted for nearly two years, with some improvement over time but occasional headaches and fatigue continued. The settlement, totaling $500,000, was reached with $300,000 paid by the defendant’s insurance and $200,000 by the plaintiff’s underinsured motorist (UIM) carrier, as no other coverage was available. This case reminds us why calculating settlement amounts using a multiplier of medical bills is foolish – the man had only $22,000 in medical bills.
  • $7,000,000 Settlement (Richmond 2024): A man is tragically killed after his vehicle was T-boned by a tractor-trailer in suburban Richmond. He had entered an intersection after his light turned green while the tractor-trailer ran a red light that had been active for nearly eight seconds. How did the family’s truck accident lawyer prove that? The impact was recorded by an on-board camera showing the tractor-trailer’s failure to slow down or brake in time. The decedent was pronounced dead in the ICU later that evening, survived by his wife and a 10-year-old son. Sadly, the son has since been treated for severe PTSD and other emotional disturbances following his tragic loss. The $7 million settlement amount was reached during a mediation.
  • $2,500,000 Verdict (Gainesville 2024):  A lawsuit resulted in a $2.5 million jury award for a plaintiff who was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on an icy roadway on Interstate 66 West near Gainesville. The plaintiff sustained severe injuries, including fractures to his face, shoulder, ribs, and hip. The lawsuit alleged that the tractor-trailer driver was negligently speeding in icy conditions. Despite claims from the defense of comparative negligence, the Prince William County jury sided with the plaintiff, awarding damages for extensive past and anticipated future medical treatments, as well as for past and future pain and suffering. The plaintiff had undergone significant medical treatment, including surgeries and physical therapy, and was expected to require further surgeries.
  • $1,300,000 Settlement (Norfolk 2024): A vehicle swerved into the plaintiff’s lane, causing him to crash and sustain critical injuries, including an open compound fracture of the right femur, a pelvic fracture, and a metatarsal fracture, among others. The settlement addressed past medical expenses of approximately $340,000 and anticipated future medical costs of around $300,000.  Why only $1.3 million?  This was all the insurance coverage that was available.
  • $105,216 Verdict (E.D Va. 2023): The plaintiff said she was involved in an intersection collision with a vehicle operated by the defendant, who was traveling in the rain at a significant speed with his headlights off after sunset. The plaintiff reported injuries, including a concussion with chronic migraine headaches, dizziness, and vomiting, as well as damage to her bladder control device, resulting in frequent urination and bloating. The plaintiff was diagnosed with pelvic and uterovaginal prolapse and the re-emergence of an overactive bladder.
  • $50,000 Settlement (Norfolk 2022): The plaintiff, a minor, was a passenger in a vehicle when the vehicle slid sideways into a curb, causing it to flip and land on its roof. The plaintiff suffered unspecified personal injuries in the accident and filed suit against the driver and owner of the vehicle.
  • $460,000 Verdict (Prince William County 2022): A 44-year-old male allegedly suffered a torn right meniscus when he was rear-ended while at a stop light near Fredericksburg. He underwent surgery for the injury and claimed that it was permanent. A jury in Prince William County awarded $460,000 in damages.
  • $1,000,000 Verdict (E.D. Va. 2022): The plaintiff said he had stopped his vehicle for a light when he was rear-ended by a flatbed trailer operated by the defendant as part of his employment with defendant LLAB Trucking Inc. According to the plaintiff, the trailer was in poor condition, and the impact on his vehicle caused a chain reaction accident involving approximately nine vehicles. He sued both the driver and the trucking company for unspecified injuries.
  • $750,000 Verdict (W.D. Va. 2022): The plaintiff, an adult male, said he was driving a vehicle north in the left-hand lane of the interstate, with the defendant driving a vehicle in the same direction in the adjacent lane. The plaintiff said the defendant made a sudden lane change, causing his vehicle to jack-knife, strike the defendant’s vehicle and roll into the median. The defendant’s vehicle was owned by codefendant S&M Moving and Storage. The plaintiff sought damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • $100,000 Settlement (Norfolk 2022): An adult male died as the result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident when he was a passenger in a car that was violently rear-ended by the defendant when it suddenly stopped to avoid hitting animals crossing the road. He suffered a brain injury in the collision which he died from several days later.

Contact a Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer

Call 800-553-8082 if you are looking to maximize the settlement amount of your Virginia car accident case, or contact us online.


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