How would having a poor driving record affect my car accident claim?

Police Officer Pulling Over a CarIf you have a bad driving record, you may hesitate to file a claim with the motorist’s insurance company—even if their insured were completely at fault in causing your auto collision. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you prove the driver’s negligence caused your wreck under Virginia law.

However, you must be prepared for the insurance adjuster to use your driving record against you in settlement negotiations. You also should retain an experienced car accident lawyer who understands the arguments they may make and can help refute them.

How the Insurance Company May Use Your Driving Record Against You

Getting one speeding or other traffic ticket in Norfolk or Virginia Beach does not mean you have a bad driving record. However, if you have multiple speeding tickets, reckless driving tickets, or accidents on your driving record, it may become an issue in your car accident case.

A driving record may give the insurance company ammunition to deny your claim or try to force you to accept less compensation in your settlement. Here are two ways they may attempt to use your bad driving record to dispute your claim:

  • Fault. The insurance company could argue that your poor driving record proves that you were entirely or partially at fault in causing this car accident. They often make this argument because Virginia follows a harsh contributory negligence law that prohibits drivers from obtaining any compensation if they are even one percent at fault. However, the bottom line is that the insurance company cannot prove you caused the collision based on your prior driving record.
  • Pre-existing condition. If you were involved in another car accident, the insurance company could also claim that your injury is a pre-existing injury that they are not liable to compensate you for. However, you are entitled to damages if the current collision aggravated a pre-existing injury under Virginia law.

Although the insurance adjuster may raise these or other disputes to deny your claim or try to reduce the compensation they must pay you, you may be able to defeat their arguments if you hire a skilled car accident attorney.