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Right of Way Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Summarizes Right of Way Cases

Brien Roche

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Right of Way.For more information on right of way see the pages on Wikipedia.  

Right Of Way-Statutes


See Va. Code § 46.2-820 et seq. as to general rules of right-of-way and that unlawful speed shall result in forfeiture of right-of-way.

See Va. Code § 46.2-821 as to vehicles entering certain highways.

Right of Way-Cases

1982 Swisher v. Swisher, 223 Va. 499, 290 S.E.2d 856.

Defendant had duty to keep proper lookout regardless of which vehicle had right of way.

1977 Floyd v. Nunn, 217 Va. 834, 232 S.E.2d 813.

Pedestrian crossing on red light within clearly marked crosswalk at intersection does not have right of way over left turning vehicle. Error to grant instruction giving right-of-way to such pedestrian.

1975 Cubbage v. Meadows, 215 Va. 502, 211 S.E.2d 262.

Fact that plaintiff had right of way did not relieve him of duty of exercising reasonable care.

1973 Schutt v. Brockwell, 214 Va. 38, 196 S.E.2d 921.

Motorist or pedestrian in traveling along portion of highway prescribed for use of each of them has no right-of-way over other except as prescribed by law.

1971 Southern v. Price, 211 Va. 469, 178 S.E.2d 685.

Driver’s right to assume that right of way will be yielded to him depends upon evidence, and he cannot rely on assumption that is contrary to obvious fact. Moreover, one who has right-of-way has duty to exercise ordinary care under circumstances to avoid collision.

1969 King v. Eccles, 209 Va. 726, 167 S.E.2d 349.

Defendant’s vehicle was struck by plaintiff’s at uncontrolled intersection. Defendant stopped before entering intersection. Since vehicles approached or entered intersection at approximately same time, defendant’s vehicle, on plaintiff’s right, had right of way. Defendant did not forfeit his right-of-way by stopping before entering intersection. Jury question on defendant’s negligence presented.

1968 White v. Hunt, 209 Va. 11, 161 S.E.2d 809.

Plaintiff’s decedent guest was injured when vehicle struck at intersection. Other driver claimed decedent’s vehicle entered intersection without stopping at median. Conflicting evidence presented; questions of right of way and speed discussed.

1966 Seawell v. Carmines, 207 Va. 294, 149 S.E.2d 903.

Plaintiff’s decedent was guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law: failed to yield right of way while entering public highway from private driveway in violation of Va. Code § 46.1-223 [now § 46.2-826].

1966 Phillips v. Stewart, 207 Va. 214, 148 S.E.2d 784.

Plaintiff was struck in clearly marked crosswalk; had right of way; nonetheless, had no right to walk in front of traffic dangerously close to him. Since he saw defendant’s car slow down while some distance away he justifiably thought it was going to stop and was under no duty to keep it under continuous watch. Plaintiff not guilty of contributory negligence as matter of law.

1966 Farmer v. Marine Center, Inc., 206 Va. 737, 146 S.E.2d 265.

Intersection accident. When two vehicles approach intersection at approximately same time, then vehicle on right has right of way. “At approximately the same time” involves determination of fact by jury.

1965 Minter v. Clements, 206 Va. 403, 143 S.E.2d 847.

Yield sign controlled defendant. Fact that plaintiff had right-of-way does not relieve plaintiff of duty to maintain reasonable lookout and to exercise ordinary care to avoid collision.

1965 Branson v. Wise, 206 Va. 139, 142 S.E.2d 582.

Plaintiff on main thoroughfare approaches uncontrolled intersection. Plaintiff has right-of-way. Plaintiff did not pay much attention to defendant. Plaintiff guilty of concurring negligence in not exercising ordinary care to keep reasonable lookout.

1965 Taylor v. Turner, 205 Va. 828, 140 S.E.2d 641.

To yield right-of-way means to allow person having it to proceed through intersection.

1963 Atwell v. Watson, 204 Va. 624, 133 S.E.2d 552.

Speed in excess of what is reasonable does not work forfeiture of right-of-way. Only unlawful speed results in forfeiture.

1963 Mills v. Wells, 204 Va. 173, 129 S.E.2d 705.

At T-intersection defendant approached intersection within posted speed limit; his view to right was obstructed by vehicle to his right and traffic across intersection in his lane had stopped for another traffic light. Plaintiff’s entry into intersection was controlled by yield sign. Collision in defendant’s lane. Jury question presented.

1963 Carter v. Garner, 204 Va. 153, 129 S.E.2d 671.

Too firm insistence on right-of-way, even when one is clearly entitled to it, may be grossest kind of negligence. Party with right-of-way who realizes that other is not going to yield, cannot recklessly proceed.

1961 Moore v. Warren, 203 Va. 117, 122 S.E.2d 879.

If favored driver forfeits his right-of-way, this does not transfer it to other driver.

1958 Gammon v. Hyde, 199 Va. 918, 103 S.E.2d 221.

Defendant had stop sign. Co-defendant was on main road. Co-defendant had right-of-way.

1958 Mawyer v. Thomas, 199 Va. 897, 103 S.E.2d 217.

Intersection accident where traffic light was on flashing red and yellow. Car facing flashing yellow did not have absolute right-of-way.

1956 Hopkins v. Gromovsky, 198 Va. 389, 94 S.E.2d 190.

Where defendant’s entry into intersection was controlled by yield sign and there was no traffic control device for plaintiff and plaintiff did not see defendant until few feet from point of impact, then jury question was presented as to whether there was contributory negligence on part of plaintiff.

1956 Shelton v. Detamore, 198 Va. 220, 93 S.E.2d 314.

Fact that operator has right-of-way does not relieve him of duty to keep lookout for cars entering intersection from side.

1955 Von Roy v. Whitescarver, 197 Va. 384, 89 S.E.2d 346.

Driver of automobile will not be permitted to drive blindly into another fast approaching automobile, simply because he has right-of-way.

1954 Hobbs v. Thorns, 195 Va. 639, 79 S.E.2d 854.

Intersection collision at dusk; defendant driving with only parking lights on. Plaintiff’s vehicle approaching intersection on right of defendant’s vehicle at approximately same time. By exercise of ordinary care defendant should have observed this and yielded right-of-way.

1953 City Cabs, Inc. v. Griffith, 194 Va. 818, 75 S.E.2d 487.

Even where vehicle enters intersection first and thus has right-of-way, this does not relieve him of duty to maintain proper and effective lookout.

1953 Wallingford & Cooper v. Karnes, 194 Va. 648, 74 S.E.2d 161.

When two vehicles approach or enter intersection at approximately same time vehicle on right has right of way. Driver with right-of-way must still exercise reasonable lookout.

1952 Hebner v. Sullivan, 194 Va. 259, 72 S.E.2d 689.

Right-of-way at intersection forfeited by unlawful speed.

1950 Frazier v. Conner, 191 Va. 481, 61 S.E.2d 880.

Collision between two vehicles at intersection. One upon arterial highway, other upon secondary road. It is natural to assume that one on main highway, rapidly approaching crossing, would take it for granted that another on secondary road, likewise approaching it, but who had stopped, did so with intention of giving arterial traffic right-of-way.

1949 Richmond Oil Equip. Co. v. W. T. Holt, Inc., 189 Va. 334, 53 S.E.2d 11.

Plaintiff’s truck collides with truck owned by defendant at intersection. Plaintiff had right-of-way as defendant had stop sign.

1949 Ransone v. Pankey, 189 Va. 200, 52 S.E.2d 97.

Failure of plaintiff or his driver to yield right-of-way under circumstances stated did not relieve defendants of liability for their concurring negligence or from duty to continue to use reasonable care to avoid accident after vehicles entered intersection.

1948 Doss v. Rader, 187 Va. 231, 46 S.E.2d 434.

No requirement as matter of law to both look and listen before going onto primary road.

1947 Barnes v. Mabry, 186 Va. 243, 42 S.E.2d 304.

When two vehicles approach intersection at same time, car on right has right-of-way. Vehicle with right-of-way still must exercise due care. It is natural to assume that one on main highway approaching intersection would take it for granted that one approaching on secondary road, but who had stopped, did so with intention of giving arterial traffic right-of-way.

1945 Brown v. Wallace, 184 Va. 570, 35 S.E.2d 793.

If without more, two vehicles run into each other on intersecting highways, then there can be no recovery since each had equal chance to avoid accident. Here traffic light malfunctioned. Jury issue as to negligence.

1945 VEPCO v. Hall, 184 Va. 102, 34 S.E.2d 382.

Bus driver’s testimony was sufficient to justify finding of negligence on his part. He did not stop or slow down at intersection, he did not see co-defendant vehicle, yet it was there to be seen.

1944 Shearin v. VEPCO, 182 Va. 573, 29 S.E.2d 841.

Vehicle having right-of-way shall forfeit it if traveling at unlawful speed.

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Right of Way Cases Summarized By Accident Attorney

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    Contact Us For A Free Consultation