Guide to Car Accidents in Richmond
Richmond Accident Statistics
- In 2017, Richmond had 5,487 automobile accidents with 21 fatalities and 2,649 injuries. With 143,769 licensed drivers in Richmond, there was a 0.15 death rate per 1000 drivers in Richmond.
- These accidents may involve two passenger vehicles; more than one passenger vehicles (such as pile-ups and crashes at intersections); a passenger vehicle and a commercial
truck such as a tractor-trailer; a car and another vehicle such as a bus, motorcycle, tractor, or farm equipment; a car and a pedestrian crossing a street; a car and a bicyclist, either on the road or sidewalk; a car and an animal, such as a deer or cow; or a car and a fixed object or structure such as a light pole or house.
Where Are Most Richmond Accidents?
- Driving in Richmond can be very dangerous with thousands of vehicle crashes happening every year. While the risk of an accident is always present anytime that you are driving, riding, or walking near a roadway, many of Richmond’s accidents occur on Chippenham Parkway, Interstate 64, Interstate 95, Interstate 85, Interstate 264, Interstate 195, Interstate 295, Broad Street, Virginia State Route 288, Powhite Parkway, and Hull Street.
- The most dangerous intersections in Richmond include the intersection of Midlothian Turnpike and Turner Road, Staples Mill Road and Dickens Road, Hull Street Road and Hey Road, and Cedar Fork Road and Creighton Road.
What Are The Causes of Richmond Car Accidents?
Richmond drivers have a duty to use ordinary care by keeping a proper lookout while driving, keeping the vehicle under control at all times, obeying all traffic signs and rules of the road, and driving at reasonable speeds under the existing conditions. Drivers who fail to meet these requirements and cause an automobile accident that injures others can be held financially responsible for any damages.
Anytime there is a car collision, serious injuries or death can happen. Many car accidents happen because of negligent driving. Common causes of car accidents in Richmond include distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, running red lights or stop signs, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving in poor weather conditions, falling asleep at the wheel, or driving at night.
- Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons that contribute to causing car accidents. Indeed, according to the Drive Smart Virginia highway safety organization, distracted driving contributes to almost 80 percent of all car crashes each year. Examples of distracted driving that may cause an accident are texting, using a cell phone, eating, drinking, smoking, personal grooming, adjusting the car radio, or using GPS.
- Another frequent example of distracted driving is when drivers are distracted by conditions on the road, such as to look at an accident scene, police activity, or other distractions that take their eyes away from the road in front of them.
- Distracted drivers are still responsible for any damages they may have caused to you or your property.
- Driving over the speed limit causes hundreds of car accidents every year. In fact, speeding is the leading factor in accidents across the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with almost 55 percent of crashes in the country being caused by speeding drivers. In 2017, 775 car crashes in Richmond were caused by speeding, including 2 fatalities and 392 injuries.
- If you were hit by a driver speeding over the limit or too fast for the weather conditions at the time of the accident, you may be able to recover your damages, with the help of the experienced car accident attorneys at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett.
- Reckless driving occurs when a driver is operating a vehicle in such a manner or at high speed such that the driver endangers other people.
- Examples of reckless driving include driving a certain amount over the speed limit, racing, road rage, running red lights or stop signs, failing to yield the right of way, or failing to give proper traffic signals when turning. Any of these behaviors can lead to a car accident and potentially cause serious injuries or damage.
- If you have been involved in a car accident as the result of a reckless driver, the experienced car accident lawyers at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett can make sure that you are able to recover the damages suffered because of the other driver’s reckless driving.
Running Red Lights
- Almost half of the fatal car crashes at intersections across the country are caused by a driver who ran a red light. Running a red light can cause serious injuries, property destruction, and death.
- Most people who run red lights do so because they are either in a rush to get to their destination or because they are distracted while driving and not paying attention to the traffic signals. Many of these red-light collisions are also caused by drivers who speed up when the light turns yellow and end up running the red light and colliding with another vehicle.
Running Stop Signs
- Running a stop sign often leads to the same dangerous consequences as running a red light. Drivers who run stop signs are also usually either distracted and not paying attention to the presence of a stop sign, or the driver is in such a rush to get to somewhere that he or she decides to run the stop sign and fails to yield the right of way to another driver.
- If another driver ran a stop sign and hit you, you must prove that driver was at fault, using such evidence as photographs, witness testimony, or police statements. Any nearby security cameras may also be able to provide useful footage.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Drinking
- In 2017, there were 244 automobile accidents in Richmond that were alcohol-related. These car crashes led to 169 injuries and 7 fatalities. For the state of Virginia itself, about 32% of all traffic fatalities result from alcohol-related collisions.
- A driver does not have to be over the legal limit to still be driving under the influence and may also be under the influence of more than just alcohol or illegal drugs. Driving while under the influence of over the counter or prescription medication is also illegal.
- If you have been the victim of a DUI driver, you should speak to one of the car accident attorneys at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett as soon as possible because you may be entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, rehabilitation bills, medications, and loss of future earnings as well as punitive damages for the other driver’s willful and wanton behavior of driving under the influence when the collision occurred.
Poor Weather Conditions
- Many car accidents are caused by drivers driving too fast for road or weather conditions. While they may be obeyed the posted speed limits, drivers may need to drive slower if the weather or road conditions require it, such as during storms, when roads are icy or slick, or if visibility is limited such as caused by fog.
Poor weather conditions that can create hazardous driving conditions include:
- Rain can cause slippery road conditions as well as create low-visibility conditions while rain is coming down or as steam comes up off the hot, wet pavement.
- When driving during winter weather conditions, snow can cause hazardous and slippery road conditions during the winter.
- Ice can also cause very slippery road conditions, as well as often being harder to spot than snow on the road. Bridges often ice quicker than the roads, and if you hit a patch of ice on the road, it can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
- Fog can cause low-visibility driving conditions.
Falling Asleep at the Wheel
- When drivers operate a vehicle while sleepy, their fatigue can impair their reflexes, causing them to not react quickly enough to driving conditions, to fail to observe traffic rules and regulations, or to fall asleep at the wheel and cause a car crash or other accident.
- Drivers who are fatigued or falling asleep at the wheel, may exhibit the same level of cognitive impairment as a person driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Sleepy drivers may fail to stop at stop signs or red lights, swerve into another lane or off the road, or into oncoming traffic causing head-on collisions.
- Drivers that are the most likely to fall asleep at the wheel and cause an automobile accident include business travelers, truck and other commercial drivers, employees working night shifts, or drivers who are taking certain prescription medications.
Driving at Night
- In general, more accidents occur during the night hours than during daytime, with Friday and Saturday nights being the deadliest times to be on the road across the country. In addition to the additional dangers that driving at night poses such as decreased visibility, the danger of other drivers driving under the influence of alcohol greatly increases. Indeed, across the nation, two out of every three accidents during Friday or Saturday nights involve a driver driving under the influence of alcohol.
- While more accidents and traffic fatalities occur at night, there is actually about sixty percent less traffic on the road at night. Many of the top causes of these traffic accidents that happen while driving at night include drowsiness, cell phone use, driving while alcohol-impaired, or otherwise distracted.
- If you must drive at night, be sure to keep any lights in your vehicle or on your dashboard at a low setting; keep your windshield, mirrors, and windows clean; limit any distractions; and be sure to allow enough distance between you and other vehicles to stop suddenly.
What Are Common Types of Car Accidents?
- Pickup trucks and SUVs are the most common vehicles involved in rollover accidents, more so than other passenger vehicles.
- Passengers involved in rollover accidents may suffer severe or catastrophic injuries such as being thrown out of the car, tossed around inside the car, or crushed by the roof of the vehicle. Common injuries from rollover accidents include head and brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, loss of limbs, cuts, and bruises. Many rollover accidents can also be fatal for one or more of the vehicle occupants.
- There are two types of rollover accidents: Tripped Rollovers and Untripped Rollovers. Tripped Rollover accidents are the most common, accounting for about 95 percent of rollover accidents. These accidents happen when some outside force triggers a rollover accident, such as when da car strikes a curb, guardrail, or another car and rolls over.
- Untripped rollovers are caused when a vehicle is top-heavy, such as with SUVs, large trucks, vans, or jeeps. An untripped rollover may occur when a driver loses control of the top-heavy vehicle on a wet or slick road or while swerving to miss another car, animal, or object.
- Speeding, distracted driving, texting and driving, or drug or alcohol use can all contribute to these rollover accidents. Even a safe driver can have a rollover accident if the vehicle’s design was flawed or had a manufacturing defect.
- If you have had a rollover accident, it is important that you hire an experienced car accident attorney to investigate how your accident occurred and who should be held responsible.
Single Car Accident
- While car accidents involving only a single care are typically assumed to be the driver’s fault, there may be other causes leading to the accident. Some examples of these other causes include a defective part on the vehicle such as caused by a manufacturing defect, poorly maintained roads and hazards such as potholes, or perhaps having to swerve to miss an animal or person in the road.
- It is important that you talk to a car accident attorney as soon as possible after your single car accident so that they may investigate any possible causes for your accident.
- Rear-end collisions can cause serious injuries, even from the common “fender-bender” accidents. These injuries often include serious neck and back injuries, including “whiplash” that may have long-term effects. Even more dangerous to vehicle occupants are high-speed rear-end car collisions. Even if the vehicles were moving slowly at the time of the collision, passengers can still suffer severe injuries.
- Rear-end collisions are the most common type of vehicle accidents, accounting for approximately 29 percent of all traffic crashes across the country every year.
- One of the most common injuries from rear-end collisions is “whiplash,” caused by the violent motion of a person’s neck snapping back-and-forth in a whip-like motion that can strain and tear muscles, nerves, and tendons in a person’s neck. Lingering, chronic pain following a rear-end collision is also common.
- Typically, the driver of the vehicle in front is often responsible for rear-end collisions, often by suddenly stopping or suddenly slowing down just before the impact, by switching lanes or turning at an intersection without using the appropriate traffic signals, or by failing to completely move the vehicle off the road after the vehicle has broken down.
- Common reasons that the rear driver may cause the rear-end collision are if the driver was distracted, tired, speeding, following too closely, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, causing the driver to plow into the vehicle in front of it.
- If you have been injured because of another driver’s negligence in causing a rear-end collision that hurt you, it is important that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer to help you recover damages for your medical bills and any other expenses and losses you have suffered because of the rear-end collision.
- Side-impact collisions or “side-swipe” collisions can cause serious injuries, especially if somebody is sitting on the side of the vehicle where collision occurs, with only the relatively thin vehicle door to provide any protection from the impact.
- Typically, side-impact collisions happen after one car drifted into another car’s lane, a car crosses into the oncoming lane of traffic, two cars side-swipe each other when both are turning, or when a driver intentionally runs another person off the road because of “road rage.”
- Side-impact collisions may also happen if a driver is merging into traffic and fails to see a vehicle coming up along the side or if the driver refuses to yield the right of way to another vehicle.
- Many injuries from side-impact collisions occur afterward because the collision caused one or both drivers to lose control of the vehicle and go off the road, hit another car, or hit an object such as a tree, streetlight, sign, or guardrail.
- Unfortunately, head-on collisions are often the deadliest vehicle collisions purely because of the laws of physics. The speed of both vehicles driving toward each other when they hit greatly increases the force of impact.
- According to a Transportation Research Board study, the majority of head-on crashes occur on rural, two-lane highways. Only a few of these head-on collisions actually involve drivers who are trying to pass another vehicle, but rather, head-on collisions usually involve drives who are driving around a curve or are going straight and unintentionally cross into the oncoming lane.
- Driver negligence is the leading cause of head-on collisions, including such examples of driver negligence as falling asleep at the wheel, speeding around a curve, disobeying traffic signs and symbols, distracted driving, talking or texting with a cell phone, going the wrong way on a one-way road, or swerving to miss something in the road.
- Severe injuries and death often result from head-on collisions because of the severe force caused by the impact. Typical injuries include severe brain injury, spinal cord damage, broken bones, cuts and bruises, internal bleeding, and other traumatic injuries.
- If you have been injured in a head-on collision with another vehicle, you need to hire a qualified car accident attorney who has experience handling severe personal injury and car accident cases.
- Intersections are always dangerous places with the risk of car accidents, accidents involving pedestrians, accidents involving bicyclists, or many other types of automobile accidents. In Richmond, some of the most dangerous intersections are 18th and Main Street, Broad Rock and Warwick, Broad and Harrison, Forest Hill and Chippenham, Cary and Boulevard, Cowardin and Bainbridge, Hull and Commerce, Hull and Elkhardt, Belvidere and Leigh, and Cowardin and Simms.
- Because of how dangerous a traffic intersection can be, with so many different dangers, it is important for drivers to do what they can to prevent an accident from happening. Drivers should focus on the road; staying aware of road conditions and other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians; and watching for oncoming traffic at intersections.
Accidents Involving Pedestrians
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way when crossing any highway or street within a clearly marked crosswalk or pedestrian crossing.
- If a pedestrian does have the right-of-way, Virginia law requires a driver to allow the pedestrian to cross the street safely and efficiently by either changing course, slowing down, or coming to a complete stop as necessary.
- However, pedestrians must also use ordinary care when crossing a street by looking out for oncoming vehicles, and it is illegal in Virginia for pedestrians to enter or cross any intersection while disregarding the oncoming traffic.
- There were 120 automobile accidents involving pedestrians in 2017 in Richmond.
- Eleven pedestrians were killed in Richmond last year, which was more than twice the number of pedestrians killed in 2016, despite the total number of pedestrian-involved automobile crashes decreasing in 2017. The 11 pedestrian deaths in 2017 was the most recorded in Richmond since at least 2010, when the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles started tracking the data statewide.
- The uptick in pedestrian deaths seems to be following a general trend seen nationally and in Virginia over the past several years: After decades of improving overall traffic death rates, pedestrian deaths continue to climb.
- Unfortunately, pedestrians have little protection when struck by a vehicle, and injuries sustained in auto-pedestrian accidents are typically very severe. Victims of these collisions often face long recovery periods, permanent disabilities, or even death.
Accidents Involving Bicycles
- In its 2015 rankings, The League of American Bicyclists rated Virginia as the 13th-most “bicyclist friendly” state in the country, taking into account legislation, enforcement of bike laws and other factors.
- In 2017, there were 670 automobile accidents involving bicycles in Virginia, or 0.5% of all traffic crashes. Of those, 623 bicycle riders were injured, and 13 bicycle riders were killed.
- Distracted or negligent drivers pose a serious threat to bicyclists in Richmond. During a five-year period, Richmond averaged approximately 69 automobile accidents involving bicycles per year with about 66 injuries and 1 death per year.
- Alcohol-related collisions account for more than one-third of bicyclist fatalities.
Accidents in an Uber, Lyft, or Ride-Share Service
- The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) published a guide in May 2015 for all ride-share services, including Uber, Lyft, and others. This guide describes the requirements that ride-share drivers must follow, such as insurance requirements, driver background checks, vehicle requirements, and registration of the drivers’ vehicles.
- Under Virginia law, drivers for ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft must carry proof insurance coverage under both the ride-share service’s insurance policy as well as under the driver’s personal automobile insurance policy covering the driver’s vehicle. The ride-share service is responsible for ensuring that its drivers comply with Virginia’s requirements and that the proof of coverage is made available to every passenger, even if only by displaying it through the ride-share service’s app.
- However, the type and limits of coverage vary depending upon whether the driver was currently engaged in a prearranged ride or was simply driving with the ride-sharing service’s app open but had not yet accepted a ride request from a fare-paying passenger.
- Virginia law requires ride-sharing services to provide a minimum of $1 million of motor vehicle liability coverage for death, bodily injury, and property damage. Virginia also requires ride-sharing services to provide uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage that applies from the moment a passenger enters its driver’s vehicle until the moment the passenger exists the vehicle with a minimum of $1 million in coverage as well. These minimums may be met by the ride-sharing service’s insurance coverage itself, the coverage maintained by a driver, or a combination of the insurance coverage maintained by the driver and the ride-sharing service.
- These insurance requirements are in effect from the moment the driver accepts a prearranged ride request on the ride-sharing service’s app until the driver completes the transaction on the app or until the prearranged ride is complete, whichever is later.
- Meanwhile, from the moment a driver logs onto a ride-sharing service’s app until the driver accepts a ride-request, as well as from the moment the driver completes the ride until the driver accepts another prearranged ride request, Virginia requires that the ride-sharing service provide motor vehicle liability coverage providing liability coverage of at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per incident for death and bodily injury and at least $25,000 for property damage.
- Because of the complex issues surrounding a vehicle accident with a ride-share driver, it is very important that you contact a Richmond accident attorney at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett, as soon as possible to help you navigate the thick web of insurance issues and relevant state laws that apply when dealing with a ride-share service such as Uber or Lyft.
Car Accidents & Insurance
Car Accidents with No Insurance
- In Virginia, an estimated 10 percent of drivers do not have auto insurance and are not required to do so if they choose instead to pay a $500 fee instead of purchasing car insurance.
- If you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver you can either file a claim with your insurance company, generally under any uninsured motorist coverage you may have, or you can personally take the uninsured driver to court for your damages. In addition, you should also make sure that your insurance company does not try to give you too little for your claim, and if you feel that your insurance company is not offering enough to cover your damages, you should consult with an experienced Richmond car accident attorney.
- If you personally have no car insurance and are involved in an accident, you can still recover from the other driver or the driver’s insurance if the other driver is at fault or liable for the accident. However, if you are at fault, you will still be personally liable for any damages, even though in Virginia you can simply pay a yearly Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee of $500 in lieu of purchasing auto insurance.
Car Accidents and Insurance Claims
- Your car accident attorney may be able to recover these damages from the other driver’s liability insurance coverage, your own uninsured driver’s insurance coverage that is part of your automobile insurance coverage, other relevant insurance policies, as well as from the other driver through a personal injury lawsuit.
- Unless a driver pays the $500 fee for not purchasing auto insurance in Virginia, the minimum coverage they should possess is $25,000 for the bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more people, and $20,000 for any property damage. If a person chooses to also purchase uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage, the minimum policy limits mirror those for the liability insurance.
- In most cases after a car accident, you will recover your damages by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and that driver’s insurance company should pay for any of your damages, up to the limits of that driver’s insurance policy’s coverage.
- If the other driver’s policy coverage is not enough to cover all of your damages, you can file a claim through your own underinsured policy with your insurance company, turn to any other applicable insurance coverage, file a claim against a third party that can be held responsible for the at-fault driver’s actions, such as the person’s employer if the driver was acting on his or her behalf at the time of the accident, or you can try to recover your damages from the driver’s personal assets.
What Should I Do After A Car Accident?
- If you have been in a car accident, the aftermath can be quite confusing and hectic. However, this is why it is very important to talk to Richmond car accident attorneys who can help you in dealing with insurance companies as well as considering your legal options regarding any future claims.
- You should first immediately seek medical attention, especially if you are in severe pain. Make sure to call the police and file a police report. Next, make sure to document the accident as much as possible by taking pictures of the vehicles, surroundings, injuries, and as much details as possible. Make sure to get the contact and insurance information from the other driver and contact information for all the passengers and witnesses. Call your insurance company and report your claim.
- After a car accident, you may be able to recover for any injuries you suffered in the car accident, as well as for any costs incurred, including medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages or future earnings, and damages for any pain and suffering or emotional distress you have suffered as a result of your automobile accident.
- Common car accident injuries include broken bones; fractures; back or spinal cord injuries such as paralysis; chest injuries such as broken ribs, internal bleeding; head or brain injuries such as concussions, migraines, or memory loss; whiplash from the neck strain caused by the force of the accident; and injuries such as sprains or strains to ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Lastly, victims of a car accident may also suffer from anxiety, depression, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- The experienced car accident and personal injury attorneys at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett can help you with your claim to recover damages and in calculating your expenses, including less tangible expenses such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
How to Be a Defensive Driver & Avoid Accidents
- Defensive driving can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in an automobile accident by teaching you a variety of tactics and strategies that will allow you to see any potential hazards more clearly and better understand how other drivers will act. In addition, by driving defensively, you will be also help other drivers better predict your actions and avoid any accidents.
Some important defensive driving techniques and strategies include:
- Wearing your seatbelt at all times in the vehicle and locking your car doors, to set the tone of safety being your top priority;
- Keeping your eyes moving while driving by checking your mirrors frequently and being aware of any road conditions ahead of you, as well as by watching for bicyclists, pedestrians, and animals;
- Avoiding aggressive or reckless drivers by turning off the road or slowing down to avoid having any contact with the other vehicle;
- Keeping your car at least three seconds or more behind any vehicle so that you stay a safe distance behind the other driver to avoid any potential rear-end collisions;
- Staying out of the left lane;
- Checking your blind spot before switching lanes;
- Never driving while sleepy or under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Avoiding any distractions while your driving such as texting or talking on your cell phone, personal grooming, eating, smoking, or adjusting the radio.
How A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
- Like every other state, Virginia has a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time you have to file your lawsuit for any injuries suffered as a result of a car accident. Virginia Code section 8.01-243 creates a statute of limitations of two years to file a lawsuit for any injury claims resulting from a car accident.
- The car accident attorneys at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett can help you recover expenses for any damages incurred as a result of your accident, such as:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of any doctor or hospital bills, rehabilitation, therapy, medications, and any other related expenses.
- Future medical expenses, such as any required lifelong medical treatment, necessary home modifications, or care.
- Property damage, such as the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
- Future earnings lost by missing work because of your injuries or recovery can also be recovered. You can also recover the loss of future earnings caused by any permanent injuries or impairment.
- Pain and suffering, or loss of enjoyment, resulting from your injuries from the car collision.
- Scars, disfigurement, or loss of limbs caused by the car accident.
- Punitive damages, paid to punish the negligent driver, especially if the driver was driving under the influence, driving recklessly, or violating any traffic laws at the time of the car accident.
- The Richmond car accident attorneys at Tronfeld, West, and Durrett can help you recover your damages and costs from any accident, and they will carefully examine and investigate your case, work with insurance companies on your behalf, and help you pursue full compensation for any of your injuries and other damages as a result of your car accident.