Car accidents in Virginia: Stats and remedies for victims

Car accidents continue to be a leading cause of death - and they are on the rise in Virginia.

Car accidents remain the leading cause of death for young adults and one of the top five causes for all other age groups. Even with technological advances, car accidents continue to pose a serious problem that we have yet to overcome.

What are common causes of car accidents?

The United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated common causes of car accidents. According to their research, the vast majority of driver caused accidents were the result of recognition errors. These errors included an inattentive or distracted driver. Another top cause was a poor driving decision, such as operating the vehicle in an aggressive manner or driving too fast. The third most common error attributed to the driver was performance errors. An example would involve driver overcompensation.

The data also found that a wet or slick surface from things such as the presence of snow or ice on the roadways was the most common roadway obstruction that contributed to an auto crash. This type of condition was responsible for 12.2 percent of accidents.

What does the data tell us about car accidents in Virginia?

Unfortunately, car accidents are on the rise in the commonwealth. The most recent data from Virginia's Highway Safety Office reports car accident fatalities have increased by 7.57 percent and the number of injuries has increased by 2.6 percent. The number of accidents has also gone up. The data from 2015 shows an increase of almost five percent from 2014 to 2015. This translates to 125,800 accidents reported in 2015.

What remedies are available to victims of car accidents in Virginia?

Victims generally have two avenues for relief: criminal and civil remedies. Relief through the criminal system is available in the event the driver broke the law. An example would involve a violation of traffic laws broke traffic laws by speeding, driving while distracted or driving while intoxicated at the time of the accident. Criminal penalties can result in monetary fines to the state and potential imprisonment. This can serve to punish the offender while also deterring others from similar mistakes.

Civil penalties can provide monetary awards for victims. These awards may be available through a personal injury lawsuit. These suits allow victims to hold the responsible party accountable for wrongdoing. A successful case can lead to compensation to help cover the costs that result from the accident. This can include hospital and other medical bills as well as lost wages and the cost to replace a totaled vehicle. Victims of these accidents are wise to contact an attorney to discuss their options.