In Virginia, you may not file a claim if you in any way contributed to your injuries.

Comparative Negligence vs Contributory Negligence

Comparative Negligence

Almost all states follow the comparative negligence system which allocates a percentage of fault between the individuals involved in the accident. With this type of system a defendant may prove that the plaintiff was partially at fault for the accident, relieving themselves of full liability.

  • “pure” comparative negligence
    • If a plaintiff was awarded $100,000 and the judge determined that the plaintiff was 10% at fault for their injury, they would receive $90,000. Damages are reduced to reflect the their contribution to the injury. This would also apply if the plaintiff were 80% responsible for their injury, and they would receive 20% of the damages.
  • “modified” comparative negligence
    • Most states that follow the comparative negligence system use this modified approach. If the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more responsible for the accident, they may not recover any damages at all.

Contributory Negligence
Virginia is one of the few states that still follow the contributory negligence system. The only other states are: Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington DC.

The contributory negligence system prohibits an accident victim from recovering any compensation if the defendant can prove the plaintiff contributed to the accident in any way at all.


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