There are many instances when someone’s negligence can lead to a civil lawsuit. For example, someone could be a negligent driver involved in a car accident, a negligent pet owner whose dog attacked a neighborhood child or a negligent doctor who didn’t prescribe the right medication.

In Virginia, the term negligence means that someone did not exercise the right degree of care that is expected in a specific situation. So, how does someone prove negligence in court?

You must define what a “reasonable person” would or wouldn’t do in the situation that you were injured in or suffered a loss from. In Virginia, though, if you as an injured party contributed to your injuries in some way, then you don’t have a case. This very harsh rule is still on the law books in the state. The other person who was negligent must be found to be 100 percent responsible for the accident or you can’t collect monetary damages.

When someone is at-fault for the accident you were injured in, though, you may make claims for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death (if the deceased was a relative), funeral expenses and more. Personal injury attorneys show civil courts how you have suffered because of the other person’s actions. They present evidence of the person’s liability, such as police and accident reports and may call upon expert witnesses to testify as to the cause and effects of the accident.

An experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with additional information on how such cases proceed through court as well as who should be held liable in your case.

Source: FindLaw, “Virginia Negligence Laws,” accessed Oct. 30, 2015