In Virginia, if a driver, having the right-of-way at an intersection, is exceeding the posted speed limit, does that driver still have the right-of-way?

Car Accident Lawyers VA Beach VA

The below information was written by our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.

No. According to Virginia statutory law and case law, a driver traveling at an unlawful speed forfeits any right-of-way he or she might have otherwise had. In such situations, the speeding driver does not transfer his or her right-of-way to the other driver. Instead, each driver is required to use ordinary care for his or her own safety.

The Virginia Code establishes the right-of-way for drivers approaching different kinds of intersections. For instance, at circular intersections, vehicles already in the circle have the right-of-way over vehicles approaching and entering the circle, unless otherwise directed by traffic control devices. When a driver operating his or her vehicle in a circular intersection exceeds the posted speed limit, that driver no longer has the right-of-way. If an accident occurs involving that speeding vehicle and another vehicle, the court will consider the speeding vehicle’s right-of-way forfeited and will look at the conduct of both drivers involved when determining who was responsible for the accident. Under such circumstances, the court will consider a variety of factors in determining fault, such as the speed of the vehicles, the lookout of the drivers, traffic conditions, road conditions, etc.

If a person driving a speeding vehicle is injured in a car accident, the injured person could be barred from recovery, even if the injured person had the right-of-way. This is because the speeding driver may be considered to be contributorily negligent for exceeding the posted speed limit. The judge hearing such a case would instruct the jury that the injured person’s unlawful speed forfeited his or her right-of-way, and if the jury concluded that the injured person’s unlawful speed was a proximate cause of the accident, then the injured person would be barred from recovery under the contributory negligence doctrine. To learn more about contributory negligence in Virginia, click here.

Questions of right-of-way and contributory negligence are specific to the facts of the individual personal injury case, and we encourage you to consult one of our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach regarding same.  We can assess whether the injured person had the right-of-way, whether that right-of-way was forfeited, and whether there is a legitimate basis for a defendant in the potential personal injury lawsuit to make a contributory negligence defense. In cases where a contributory negligence defense may be applicable, our personal injury lawyers can assess whether there are any exceptions to the contributory negligence doctrine that may apply, such as the last clear chance doctrine, proximate causation, etc. As in all personal injury cases, our lawyers can also advise the injured person as to the value of the injury claim, can guide the injured person through the process of making a claim with the applicable insurance company or companies, and can represent the injured person in the litigation of the personal injury claim, if a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary.

Waiting can hurt your case. To find out how our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach can help you, please contact us at (757) 486-2700.

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