Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
7/17/2019

Article 3. Injury to Person or Property.

§ 8.01-34. When contribution among wrongdoers enforced.

Contribution among wrongdoers may be enforced when the wrong results from negligence and involves no moral turpitude.

Code 1950, § 8-627; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-35. Damages for loss of income not diminished by reimbursement.

In any suit brought for personal injury or death, provable damages for loss of income due to such injury or death shall not be diminished because of reimbursement of income to the plaintiff or decedent from any other source, nor shall the fact of any such reimbursement be admitted into evidence.

Code 1950, § 8-628.3; 1974, c. 155; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-35.1. Effect of release or covenant not to sue in respect to liability and contribution.

A. When a release or a covenant not to sue is given in good faith to one of two or more persons liable for the same injury to a person or property, or the same wrongful death:

1. It shall not discharge any other person from liability for the injury, property damage or wrongful death unless its terms so provide; but any amount recovered against the other person or any one of them shall be reduced by any amount stipulated by the covenant or the release, or in the amount of the consideration paid for it, whichever is the greater. In determining the amount of consideration given for a covenant not to sue or release for a settlement which consists in whole or in part of future payment or payments, the court shall consider expert or other evidence as to the present value of the settlement consisting in whole or in part of future payment or payments. A release or covenant not to sue given pursuant to this section shall not be admitted into evidence in the trial of the matter but shall be considered by the court in determining the amount for which judgment shall be entered; and

2. It shall discharge the person to whom it is given from all liability for contribution to any other person liable for the same injury to person or property or the same wrongful death.

B. A person who enters into a release or covenant not to sue with a claimant is not entitled to recover by way of contribution from another person whose liability for the injury, property damage or wrongful death is not extinguished by the release or covenant not to sue, nor in respect to any amount paid by the person which is in excess of what was reasonable.

C. For the purposes of this section, a covenant not to sue shall include any "high-low" agreement whereby a party seeking damages for injury to a person or property, or for wrongful death, agrees to accept as full satisfaction for any judgment no more than one sum certain and the party or parties from whom the damages are sought agree to pay no less than another sum certain regardless of whether any judgment rendered at trial is higher or lower than the respective sums certain set forth in the agreement and whereby such party provides notice to all of the other parties of the terms of such "high-low" agreement immediately after such agreement is reached.

D. A release or covenant not to sue given pursuant to this section shall be subject to the provisions of §§ 8.01-55 and 8.01-424.

E. This section shall apply to all such covenants not to sue executed on or after July 1, 1979, and to all releases executed on or after July 1, 1980. This section shall also apply to all oral covenants not to sue and oral releases agreed to on or after July 1, 1989, provided that any cause of action affected thereby accrues on or after July 1, 1989. A release or covenant not to sue need not be in writing where parties to a pending action state in open court that they have agreed to enter into such release or covenant not to sue and have agreed further to subsequently memorialize the same in writing.

1979, c. 697; 1980, c. 411; 1982, c. 196; 1983, c. 181; 1985, c. 330; 1989, c. 681; 2000, c. 351; 2007, c. 443.

§ 8.01-36. Joinder of action of tort to infant with action for recovery of expenses incurred thereby and claim for recovery of expenses by infant.

A. Where there is pending any action by an infant plaintiff against a tort-feasor for a personal injury, where the cause of action accrued prior to July 1, 2013, any parent or guardian of such infant, who is entitled to recover from the same tort-feasor the expenses of curing or attempting to cure such infant from the result of such personal injury, may bring an action against such tort-feasor for such expenses, in the same court where such infant's case is pending, either in the action filed in behalf of the infant or in a separate action. If the claim for expenses be by separate action, upon motion of any party to either case, made to the court at least one week before the trial, both cases shall be tried together at the same time as parts of the same transaction. But separate verdicts when there is a jury trial shall be rendered, and the judgment shall distinctly separate the decision and judgment in the separate causes of action.

In the event of the cases being carried to the Supreme Court, which may be done if there be the jurisdictional amount in either case, they shall both be carried together as one case and record, but the Supreme Court shall clearly specify the decision in each case, separating them in the decision to the extent necessary to do justice among the parties.

B. For causes of action that accrue on or after July 1, 2013, the past and future expenses of curing or attempting to cure an infant of personal injuries proximately caused by a tort-feasor are damages recoverable by an infant in a cause of action against the tort-feasor and, if applicable to the infant's cause of action, are subject to the limitation on damages in § 8.01-581.15. Any parent or guardian of such infant who has paid for or is personally obligated to pay for past or future expenses to cure or attempt to cure the infant shall have a lien and right of reimbursement against any recovery by the infant up to the amount the parent or guardian has actually paid or is personally obligated to pay. The right to reimbursement of any parent or guardian shall accrue upon the first tender of funds of any recovery from a tort-feasor to the infant. Court approval of the infant settlement shall release party defendants from all claims for past or future expenses of curing or attempting to cure the infant.

Nothing in this section shall relieve a parent of the obligation to pay for the medical expenses of curing or attempting to cure the infant as such obligation exists under current law.

Code 1950, § 8-629; 1954, c. 333; 1973, c. 277; 2013, cc. 551, 689.

§ 8.01-37. Recovery of lost wages in action for injuries to emancipated infant.

In any suit for personal injuries brought on behalf of an emancipated infant, when such infant has sustained lost wages as a result of such injuries, he shall be entitled to recover such lost wages as a part of his damages. Where recovery is made hereunder or where recovery is attempted to be made and a decision on the merits adverse to said infant results, no other person may recover such lost wages.

Code 1950, § 8-629.1; 1970, c. 421; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-37.1. Claims for medical services provided by United States; proof of reasonable value.

Whenever any person sustains personal injuries caused by the alleged negligence of another, and a claim against any person alleged to be liable is created in favor of the United States under federal law (42 U.S.C. § 2651 et seq.) for the reasonable value of medical, surgical or dental care and treatment provided, the injured party may, on behalf of the United States, claim the reasonable value of the medical services provided as an element of damages in a civil action against the person alleged to be liable. It shall not be required that the United States intervene in the action or be made a party in order to establish its claim. A sworn written statement of the authorized representative of the department or agency providing such services prepared in accordance with the regulations promulgated pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2652 shall be admissible as evidence of the reasonable value of the care and treatment provided.

1984, c. 42; 1985, c. 205.

§ 8.01-38. Tort liability of hospitals.

Hospital as referred to in this section shall include any institution within the definition of hospital in § 32.1-123.

No hospital, as defined in this section, shall be immune from liability for negligence or any other tort on the ground that it is a charitable institution unless (i) such hospital renders exclusively charitable medical services for which service no bill for service is rendered to, nor any charge is ever made to the patient or (ii) the party alleging such negligence or other tort was accepted as a patient by such institution under an express written agreement executed by the hospital and delivered at the time of admission to the patient or the person admitting such patient providing that all medical services furnished such patient are to be supplied on a charitable basis without financial liability to the patient. However, notwithstanding the provisions of § 8.01-581.15 a hospital which is exempt from taxation pursuant to § 501(c) (3) of Title 26 of the United States Code (Internal Revenue Code of 1954) and which is insured against liability for negligence or other tort in an amount not less than $500,000 for each occurrence shall not be liable for damage in excess of the limits of such insurance, or in actions for medical malpractice pursuant to Chapter 21.1 (§ 8.01-581.1 et seq.) for damages in excess of the amount set forth in § 8.01-581.15.

Code 1950, § 8-629.2; 1974, c. 552; 1976, c. 765; 1977, c. 617; 1983, c. 496; 1986, cc. 389, 454; 2000, c. 464.

§ 8.01-38.1. Limitation on recovery of punitive damages.

In any action accruing on or after July 1, 1988, including an action for medical malpractice under Chapter 21.1 (§ 8.01-581.1 et seq.), the total amount awarded for punitive damages against all defendants found to be liable shall be determined by the trier of fact. In no event shall the total amount awarded for punitive damages exceed $350,000. The jury shall not be advised of the limitation prescribed by this section. However, if a jury returns a verdict for punitive damages in excess of the maximum amount specified in this section, the judge shall reduce the award and enter judgment for such damages in the maximum amount provided by this section.

1987, c. 255.

§ 8.01-39. Completion or acceptance of work not bar to action against independent contractor for personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property.

In any civil action in which it is alleged that personal injury, death by wrongful act or damage to property has resulted from the negligence of or breach of warranty by an independent contractor, it shall not be a defense by such contractor to such action that such contractor has completed such work or that such work has been accepted as satisfactory by the owner of the property upon which the work was done or by the person hiring such contractor.

Nothing contained herein shall be construed to limit, modify or otherwise affect the provisions of § 8.01-250.

Code 1950, § 8-629.3; 1974, c. 669; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-40. Unauthorized use of name or picture of any person; punitive damages; statute of limitations.

A. Any person whose name, portrait, or picture is used without having first obtained the written consent of such person, or if dead, of the surviving consort and if none, of the next of kin, or if a minor, the written consent of his or her parent or guardian, for advertising purposes or for the purposes of trade, such persons may maintain a suit in equity against the person, firm, or corporation so using such person's name, portrait, or picture to prevent and restrain the use thereof; and may also sue and recover damages for any injuries sustained by reason of such use. And if the defendant shall have knowingly used such person's name, portrait or picture in such manner as is forbidden or declared to be unlawful by this chapter, the jury, in its discretion, may award punitive damages.

B. No action shall be commenced under this section more than 20 years after the death of such person.

Code 1950, § 8-650; 1977, c. 617; 2015, c. 710.

§ 8.01-40.1. Action for injury resulting from violation of Computer Crimes Act; limitations.

Any person whose property or person is injured by reason of a violation of the provisions of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act (§ 18.2-152.1 et seq.) may sue and recover damages as provided in § 18.2-152.12. An action shall be commenced before the earlier of (i) five years after the last act in the course of conduct constituting a violation of the Computer Crimes Act or (ii) two years after the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the last act in the course of conduct constituting a violation of the Computer Crimes Act.

1985, c. 92.

§ 8.01-40.2. Unsolicited transmission of advertising materials by facsimile machine.

A. Any person aggrieved by the intentional electronic or telephonic transmission to a facsimile device of unsolicited advertising material may bring an action against the person responsible for the transmission to enjoin further violations and to recover the greater of (i) actual damages sustained, together with costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, or (ii) $500. Carriers or other companies which provide facsimile transmission services shall not be responsible for transmissions of unsolicited advertising materials by their customers. An action brought pursuant to this section shall be commenced within two years of the transmission.

B. Any intentional transmission to a facsimile device of any unsolicited advertising material shall be a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.).

1990, c. 246; 2003, c. 800.

§ 8.01-40.3. Unauthorized dissemination, etc., of criminal history record information; civil action.

A. Any person who disseminates, publishes, or maintains or causes to be disseminated, published, or maintained the criminal history record information as defined in § 9.1-101 of an individual pertaining to that individual's charge or arrest for a criminal offense and solicits, requests, or accepts money or other thing of value for removing such criminal history record information shall be liable to the individual who is the subject of the information for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and costs.

B. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose liability on:

1. An interactive computer service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 230(f), for content provided by another person.

2. Any speech protected by Article I, Section 12 of the Constitution of Virginia.

C. As used in this section, "criminal history record information" means the same as that term is defined in § 9.1-101.

2015, cc. 414, 415.

§ 8.01-40.4. Civil action for unlawful creation of image of another or unlawful dissemination or sale of images of another.

A. Any person injured by an individual who engaged in conduct that is prohibited under § 18.2-386.1 or 18.2-386.2, whether or not the individual has been charged with or convicted of the alleged violation, may sue therefor and recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

B. No action shall be commenced under this section more than two years after the later of (i) the date of the last act in violation of § 18.2-386.1 or 18.2-386.2, (ii) the date on which such person attained 18 years of age, or (iii) the date on which such person discovered or reasonably should have discovered the prohibited conduct.

C. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose liability on an interactive computer service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. § 230(f), for content provided by another person.

2017, c. 656.

§ 8.01-41. Wrongful distraint, attachment.

If property be distrained for any rent not due, or attached for any rent not accruing, or taken under any attachment sued out without good cause, the owner of such property may, in an action against the party suing out the warrant of distress or attachment, recover damages for the wrongful distraint, seizure, or sale.

Code 1950, § 8-651; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-42. Loss or injury to clothing in dyeing, dry cleaning, or laundering.

No person engaged in the business of dyeing, dry cleaning, or laundering wearing apparel, cloth or other articles, shall be liable, or in any action or suit against him be held liable, for the loss of, or injury to, any wearing apparel, cloth or other articles delivered to him to be dyed, dry cleaned, or laundered, in an amount greater than the purchase price minus depreciation of such wearing apparel, cloth or other articles, unless at the time of the delivery to him of any such wearing apparel, cloth or other articles, the value of the same, and when there is more than one piece or article the value of each piece or article, be agreed upon and evidenced by a writing stating such value, or separate values when there is more than one piece or article, signed by him; provided, however, that:

1. Nothing in this section contained shall be construed as requiring of any such person more than the exercise of such degree of care as is now imposed by existing law;

2. In no event shall any such person be held liable in any suit or action involving any such loss or injury for any sum greater than the damages suffered, and proved, by the plaintiff therein when such damages would not under the rules of law existing prior to June 18, 1920, exceed the purchase price minus depreciation of such wearing apparel, cloth, or other article;

3. Nothing in this section shall be construed as interfering with or inhibiting, or impairing the obligation of, any written contract between any hotel, railroad company, steamboat company or other patron and any person engaged in the business of dyeing, dry cleaning, or laundering of wearing apparel, cloth or other article, in relation to such work;

4. No liability shall rest upon or be borne by any hotel for any loss of or damage to wearing apparel, cloth or other article, the property of any guest of such hotel who shall have delivered, or caused the same to have been delivered, for dyeing, dry cleaning, or laundering to any person engaged in the business of dyeing, dry cleaning, or laundering.

5. [Repealed.]

Code 1950, § 8-654; 1977, cc. 192, 617.

§ 8.01-42.1. Civil action for racial, religious, or ethnic harassment, violence or vandalism.

A. An action for injunctive relief or civil damages, or both, shall lie for any person who is subjected to acts of (i) intimidation or harassment or (ii) violence directed against his person; or (iii) vandalism directed against his real or personal property, where such acts are motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic animosity.

B. Any aggrieved party who initiates and prevails in an action authorized by this section shall be entitled to damages, including punitive damages, and in the discretion of the court to an award of the cost of the litigation and reasonable attorneys' fees in an amount to be fixed by the court.

C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any actions between an employee and his employer, or between or among employees of the same employer, for damages arising out of incidents occurring in the workplace or arising out of the employee-employer relationship.

1988, c. 492.

§ 8.01-42.2. Liability of guest for hotel damage.

Any registered guest in a hotel, motel, inn or other place offering to the public transitory lodging or sleeping accommodations for compensation shall be civilly liable to the innkeeper for all property damage to such accommodation or its furnishings which occurs during the period of such person's occupancy when such damage results (i) from the negligence of the guest or of any person for whom he is legally responsible or (ii) from the failure of the guest to comply with reasonable rules and regulations of which he is given actual notice by the innkeeper.

1989, c. 426.

§ 8.01-42.3. Civil action for stalking.

A. A victim has a civil cause of action against an individual who engaged in conduct that is prohibited under § 18.2-60.3, whether or not the individual has been charged or convicted for the alleged violation, for the compensatory damages incurred by the victim as a result of that conduct, in addition to the costs for bringing the action. If compensatory damages are awarded, a victim may also be awarded punitive damages.

B. As used in this section:

"Compensatory damages" includes damages for all of the defendant's acts prohibited by § 18.2-60.3.

"Victim" means a person who, because of the conduct of the defendant that is prohibited under § 18.2-60.3, was placed in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or to a minor child of whom the person is a parent or legal guardian.

C. No action shall be commenced under this section more than two years after the most recent conduct prohibited under § 18.2-60.3.

2001, c. 444.

§ 8.01-42.4. Civil action for trafficking in persons.

A. Any person injured by reason of (i) a violation of clause (iii), (iv), or (v) of § 18.2-48; (ii) a violation of § 18.2-348, 18.2-348.1, 18.2-349, 18.2-355, 18.2-356, 18.2-357, 18.2-357.1, or 18.2-368; or (iii) a felony violation of § 18.2-346 may sue therefor and recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

B. No action shall be commenced under this section more than seven years after the later of the date on which such person (i) was no longer subject to the conduct prohibited by clause (iii), (iv), or (v) of § 18.2-48 or § 18.2-348, 18.2-348.1, 18.2-349, 18.2-355, 18.2-356, 18.2-357, 18.2-357.1, or 18.2-368 or under a felony violation of § 18.2-346 or (ii) attained 18 years of age.

2016, cc. 557, 668; 2019, c. 458.

§ 8.01-42.5. Civil action for female genital mutilation.

A. Any person injured by an individual who engaged in conduct that is prohibited under § 18.2-51.7, whether or not the individual has been charged with or convicted of the alleged violation, may sue therefor and recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.

B. No action shall be commenced under this section more than 10 years after the later of (i) the date of the last act in violation of § 18.2-51.7 or (ii) the date on which such person attained 18 years of age.

2017, c. 667.

§ 8.01-43. Action against parent for damage to public property by minor.

The Commonwealth, acting through the officers having charge of the public property involved, or the governing body of a county, city, town, or other political subdivision, or a school board may institute an action and recover from the parents or either of them of any minor living with such parents or either of them for damages suffered by reason of the willful or malicious destruction of, or damage to, public property by such minor. No more than $2,500 may be recovered from such parents or either of them as a result of any incident or occurrence on which such action is based.

Code 1950, § 8-654.1; 1960, c. 132; 1972, c. 825; 1977, c. 617; 1983, c. 330; 1987, c. 193; 1994, cc. 508, 552; 1996, c. 698.

§ 8.01-44. Action against parent for damage to private property by minor.

The owner of any property may institute an action and recover from the parents, or either of them, of any minor living with such parents, or either of them, for damages suffered by reason of the willful or malicious destruction of, or damage to, such property by such minor. No more than $2,500 may be recovered from such parents, or either of them, as a result of any incident or occurrence on which such action is based. Any recovery from the parent or parents of such minor shall not preclude full recovery from such minor except to the amount of the recovery from such parent or parents. The provisions of this statute shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other law imposing upon a parent liability for the acts of his minor child.

Code 1950, § 8-654.1:1; 1966, c. 532; 1972, c. 825; 1977, c. 617; 1984, c. 48; 1987, c. 193; 1994, cc. 508, 552; 1996, c. 698.

§ 8.01-44.1. Immunity from civil liability of members of certain committees, etc.

Every member of any committee, board, group, commission, or other entity established pursuant to federal or state law or regulation which functions to authorize, review, evaluate, or make recommendations on the nature, conduct, activities, or procedures involved in or related to programs or research protocols conducted under the supervision of members of the faculty or staff of any hospital or institution of higher education, including but not limited to the design or conduct of experiments involving human subjects, shall be immune from civil liability for any act, decision, omission, or utterance done or made in performance of such duties as a member of such committee, board, group, commission, or other entity, unless such act, decision, omission, or utterance is done or made in bad faith or with malicious intent or unless the member, when acting to authorize the nature, conduct, activities, or procedures involved in or related to a program or research protocol, knows or reasonably should know that the program or research protocol is being or will be conducted in violation of Chapter 5.1 (§ 32.1-162.16 et seq.) of Title 32.1. However, the immunity created herein shall not apply to those persons engaged in the actual conduct of the programs or research protocols.

1980, c. 479; 1981, c. 40; 1992, c. 603.

§ 8.01-44.2. Action against physician for vaccine-related injury or death.

In any case where a person could file or could have filed a petition for compensation pursuant to Subtitle 2 of Title XXI of the Public Health Services Act of the United States (42 U.S.C. § 300aa-10 et seq.) for the vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine in the Commonwealth by or under the supervision of a physician licensed to practice medicine in Virginia, no civil action shall lie against such physician, or any person administering such vaccine on behalf of such physician for injury or death resulting from an adverse reaction to such vaccine, except where such injury or death was caused by gross negligence of the physician, his agents or employees, in the administration of such vaccine.

1987, c. 664.

§ 8.01-44.3. Divulgence of communications by qualified interpreters and communications assistants.

If the content of any communication which is facilitated for compensation in the professional capacity of a qualified interpreter, as defined in § 51.5-113, or in the professional capacity of any communications assistant employed by the statewide dual party relay service established under Article 5 (§ 56-484.4 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 56, is divulged by such interpreter or assistant, any such party to the communication aggrieved by such divulgence may recover from such interpreter or assistant the greater of (i) actual damages sustained, together with costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, or (ii) $100. No such recovery shall be permitted if the interpreter or assistant and the parties to the communication have agreed that the interpreter or assistant may divulge the content of the communication.

1992, c. 614.

§ 8.01-44.4. Action for shoplifting and employee theft.

A. A merchant may recover a civil judgment against any adult or emancipated minor who shoplifts from that merchant for two times the unpaid retail value of the merchandise, but in no event an amount less than $50. However, if the merchant recovers the merchandise in merchantable condition, he shall be entitled to liquidated damages of no more than $350.

B. A merchant may recover a civil judgment against any person who commits employee theft for two times the unpaid retail value of the merchandise, but in no event an amount less than $50. However, if the merchant recovers the merchandise in merchantable condition, he shall be entitled to liquidated damages of no more than $350.

C. The prevailing party in any action brought pursuant to this section shall be entitled to reasonable attorneys' fees and costs not to exceed $150.

D. A conviction of or a plea of guilty to a violation of any other statute is not a prerequisite to commencement of a civil action pursuant to this section or enforcement of a judgment. No action may be initiated under this section during the pendency of a criminal prosecution based on the same allegations of fact; however the initiation of any criminal action against the perpetrator for the alleged offense under § 18.2-95, 18.2-96, 18.2-102.1, or 18.2-103 or any other criminal offense defined under subsection F does not preclude a merchant from initiating or maintaining an action under this section once the prosecution has been concluded. A merchant may not recover more than the retail value of the merchandise, or more than the unpaid retail value of the merchandise if the merchandise is not recovered in a merchantable condition, for the same loss if both criminal and civil actions are initiated. However, nothing herein shall preclude a merchant from recovering damages in excess of the retail value of the merchandise, or the unpaid retail value of the merchandise if the merchandise is not recovered in a merchantable condition, if a criminal action is initiated. Nothing herein shall preclude a merchant from nonsuiting the civil action brought pursuant to this section and proceeding criminally under § 18.2-95, 18.2-96, 18.2-102.1, or 18.2-103 or any other criminal offense defined under subsection F.

E. Prior to the commencement of any action under this section, a merchant may demand, in writing, that an individual who may be civilly liable under this section make appropriate payment to the merchant in consideration for the merchant's agreement not to commence any legal action under this section.

F. For purposes of this section:

"Employee theft" means the removal of any merchandise or cash from the premises of the merchant's establishment or the concealment of any merchandise or cash by a person employed by a merchant without the consent of the merchant and with the purpose or intent of appropriating the merchandise or cash to the employee's own or another's use without full payment.

"Shoplift" means any one or more of the following acts committed by a person without the consent of the merchant and with the purpose or intent of appropriating merchandise to that person's own or another's use without payment, obtaining merchandise at less than its stated sales price, or otherwise depriving a merchant of all or any part of the value or use of merchandise: (i) removing any merchandise from the premises of the merchant's establishment; (ii) concealing any merchandise; (iii) substituting, altering, removing, or disfiguring any label or price tag; (iv) transferring any merchandise from a container in which that merchandise is displayed or packaged to any other container; (v) disarming any alarm tag attached to any merchandise; or (vi) obtaining or attempting to obtain possession of any merchandise by charging that merchandise to another person without the authority of that person or by charging that merchandise to a fictitious person.

1992, c. 721; 2005, cc. 142, 234; 2012, c. 526.

§ 8.01-44.5. Punitive damages for persons injured by intoxicated drivers.

In any action for personal injury or death arising from the operation of a motor vehicle, engine or train, the finder of fact may, in its discretion, award punitive damages to the plaintiff if the evidence proves that the defendant acted with malice toward the plaintiff or the defendant's conduct was so willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others.

A defendant's conduct shall be deemed sufficiently willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others when the evidence proves that (i) when the incident causing the injury or death occurred, the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 percent or more by weight by volume or 0.15 grams or more per 210 liters of breath; (ii) at the time the defendant began drinking alcohol, or during the time he was drinking alcohol, he knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle, engine or train would be impaired, or when he was operating a motor vehicle he knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired; and (iii) the defendant's intoxication was a proximate cause of the injury to or death of the plaintiff. For the purposes of clause (i), it shall be rebuttably presumed that the blood alcohol concentration at the time of the incident causing injury or death was at least as high as the test result as shown in a certificate issued pursuant to § 18.2-268.9, in a certificate of analysis for a blood test administered pursuant to § 18.2-268.7, provided that the test was administered in accordance with the provisions of §§ 18.2-268.1 through 18.2-268.12, or in a certificate of analysis for a test performed by the Department of Forensic Science on whole blood drawn pursuant to a search warrant, provided that the test was administered in accordance with the provisions of §§ 18.2-268.5, 18.2-268.6, and 18.2-268.7. In addition to any other forms of proof, a party may submit a copy of a certificate issued pursuant to § 18.2-268.9, a certificate of analysis for a blood test administered pursuant to § 18.2-268.7, or a certificate of analysis for a test performed by the Department of Forensic Science on whole blood drawn pursuant to a search warrant, which shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein and compliance with the applicable provisions of §§ 18.2-268.1 through 18.2-268.12. For the purposes of clause (ii), it shall be rebuttably presumed that the defendant who has consumed alcohol knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle, engine, or train was or would be impaired by such consumption of alcohol.

However, when a defendant has unreasonably refused to submit to a test of his blood alcohol content as required by § 18.2-268.2, a defendant's conduct shall be deemed sufficiently willful or wanton as to show a conscious disregard for the rights of others when the evidence proves that (a) when the incident causing the injury or death occurred the defendant was intoxicated, which may be established by evidence concerning the conduct or condition of the defendant; (b) at the time the defendant began drinking alcohol, during the time he was drinking alcohol, or when he was operating a motor vehicle, he knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired; and (c) the defendant's intoxication was a proximate cause of the injury to the plaintiff or death of the plaintiff's decedent. In addition to any other forms of proof, a party may submit a certified copy of a court's determination of unreasonable refusal pursuant to § 18.2-268.3, which shall be prima facie evidence that the defendant unreasonably refused to submit to the test. For the purposes of clause (b), it shall be rebuttably presumed that the defendant who has consumed alcohol knew or should have known that his ability to operate a motor vehicle, engine, or train was or would be impaired by such consumption of alcohol.

Evidence of similar conduct by the same defendant subsequent to the date of the personal injury or death arising from the operation of a motor vehicle, engine, or train shall be admissible at trial for consideration by the jury or other finder of fact for the limited purpose of determining what amount of punitive damages may be appropriate to deter the defendant and others from similar future action.

1994, c. 570; 1998, c. 722; 1999, c. 324; 2002, c. 879; 2013, c. 636; 2015, c. 710; 2016, cc. 510, 624; 2017, cc. 623, 671.

§ 8.01-44.6. Action for injury to cemetery property.

The owner or operator of a cemetery company may bring an action to recover damages sustained, together with costs and reasonable attorneys' fees, against any person who willfully or maliciously destroys, mutilates, defaces, injures, or removes any tomb, monument, gravestone, or other structure placed within any cemetery, graveyard, or place of burial, or within any lot belonging to any memorial or monumental association, or any fence, railing, or other work for the protection or ornament of any tomb, monument, gravestone, or other structure aforesaid, or of any cemetery lot within any cemetery. The cemetery owner or operator may recover, as part of damages sustained, the cost of repair or replacement of damaged property, including any labor costs, regardless of whether the property damaged is owned by the cemetery or by another person.

2004, c. 203.

§ 8.01-44.7. Action for tampering with metering device and diverting service.

Any provider of services that have been tampered with or diverted in violation of § 18.2-163 may seek both injunctive and equitable relief, and an award of damages, including reasonable attorney fees and costs. In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the party aggrieved may recover an award of actual damages or $500 whichever is greater for each action.

2006, c. 350.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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