Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Virginia law holds woman killed in crash responsible for death

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A recent case of a hit-and-run accident that killed a 60-year-old woman is the talk of many Virginia towns, because family members of the deceased have been denied compensation from the reckless driver who struck and killed the woman.

Compensation was denied on the basis of "pure contributory negligence," which states that any irresponsibility or negligence by the victim holds him or her equally responsible for his or her serious injuries or wrongful death.

Sources said that the fatal car accident, which happened during the early morning in Newport News, Virginia, fatally injured the resident, who was walking on the roadway. According to crash witnesses, the driver left the accident site after the crash and they also stated that the car's windshield wiper was missing and the front-end was damaged.

Furthermore, the 60-year-old woman allegedly was walking in the same lane as oncoming vehicles to avoid the slippery sidewalk covered with ice and snow. The legal representatives of the driver who struck the pedestrian contended that this is evidence of contributory negligence.

Virginia's pure contributory negligence law is often debated and continues to garner attention when compensation is denied in certain circumstances. Recommendations to implement the principle of comparative negligence are often made because under this principle, compensation is directly proportional to the degree of negligence applied to the victim and the accused.

Many Virginia legal professionals continue to voice their opposition to the pure contributory negligence rule, because it is unjust and impractical. Some strict applications of this rule also allow some faulty individuals to escape paying hefty amounts of compensation.

Loss of a loved one is an irreparable loss, but if a family is denied fair compensation for a wrongful death of a family member, pain and suffering increases exponentially. Legal help in such crucial matters would a wise decision because in the very least, compensation should be available to cover medical expenses and funeral costs.

Source: Daily Press, "60-year-old Hampton woman killed in Newport News hit-and-run," Ali Rockett, March 5, 2015

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