In Virginia, can a jury find a driver negligent for operating a motor vehicle at an excessive speed, if the driver was traveling at a speed less than the speed limit?

Driver negligent

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

Yes. In Virginia, operating a motor vehicle in excess of the posted speed limit is considered negligence as a matter of law. However, Virginia law also considers a driver to be negligent if he or she operates his or her vehicle at a speed that is excessive under the existing circumstances, even if the driver’s speed is less than the posted speed limit.

An example of a driver operating his or her vehicle at a speed excessive for the existing circumstances might involve a driver going 50 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone during heavy fog. The driver in this hypothetical scenario could be considered negligent for operating his or her vehicle at such a high rate of speed, despite the fact that he or she was traveling under the speed limit, because heavy fog limits visibility and requires heightened precaution. A jury hearing a personal injury case arising out of this hypothetical scenario could conclude that traveling 50 miles per hour in heavy fog was excessive under the circumstances, meaning the hypothetical driver could be held liable for injuries sustained by persons injured in a car accident with the hypothetical driver. Additionally, if the hypothetical driver wanted to make his or her own injury claim against another negligent driver, the hypothetical driver could have his or her injury claim barred by the doctrine of contributory negligence, if the jury were to determine that the hypothetical driver’s excessive speed under the circumstances contributed to the accident that led to the hypothetical driver’s injuries. Click here to learn more about the contributory negligence doctrine in Virginia.

Questions of excessive speed under the existing circumstances are specific to the facts of the individual personal injury case, and we encourage you to contact one of our personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach.  Such experienced personal injury lawyers can assess whether the circumstances of the accident required drivers to operate their vehicles at a speed below the posted speed limit and whether there is a basis for a defendant to raise a contributory negligence defense. As in all personal injury cases, personal injury 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.

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about auto accidents, personal injury and more.

Follow us on Facebook.

Personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach serving all of Hampton Roads.