Personal injury laws vary state by state. One rule in personal injury cases that varies from state to state is the rule that determines if the injured party contributed to the incident that caused the injury by some negligent act. Some states have what is known as a No Fault rule, others have a Comparable Negligence rule. Virginia is one of the few states that still use the Contributory Negligence rule.
Everyone has a duty to avoid injury and if you fail to protect your own safety, in the state of Virginia, you may be barred from recovering for your injuries. If you participate in any way in the event that caused your injuries, the person who you think was fully at fault for the accident may claim that you were negligent in a way that contributed to the accident, called contributory negligence. If you are found guilty of contributory negligence in causing the accident, you can be barred from making any recovery for your damages.
Your conduct is measured by the reasonable man test. You will be judged by what the reasonable man would do in the same circumstances. If you suddenly switch lanes and quickly pull in front of another vehicle while simultaneously slowing down, and your vehicle is rear-ended, will your conduct pass the reasonable man test? How will a jury view your actions? If in Virginia, and the jury decides you were guilty of contributory negligence, your case can end up with a favorable verdict for the defense.