Prepare for Ice and Snow With These Slip & Fall Basics for Charleston, WV

As fall turns to winter, ice, snow and other inclement conditions will dominate the weather, as well as increased chance of a slip and fall injury. With over 800,000 individuals hospitalized yearly for slips and falls, winter conditions increase the likelihood of getting hurt.

Prepare for Ice and Snow With These Slip & Fall Basics for Charleston, WV

Premises Liability

Businesses, shopping centers, apartment complexes and other places you frequent may neglect their winter maintenance or just not have a plan for dealing with ice and snow. Salting the ice and moving snow out of access areas make it safer for people to walk and visit. Managers and facilities maintenance personnel have a requirement to make a reasonable effort to reduce the dangers to visitors and the public or warn of unsafe winter conditions. But if they fail to do so, and neglect causes a slip and fall accident, the owner will be held liable for injuries and any associated costs.

Public Sidewalks

West Virginia law requires that sidewalks and the areas underneath them are to be properly maintained. Owners are required to clear all snow and ice from a sidewalk they own that the public may use. Uneven surfaces that might be hidden under ice and snow can be particularly hazardous, so preventative maintenance is important, but may be neglected during winter.

Should you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk, you may be able to recover damages and receive compensation for your injuries. Determining who owns the sidewalk is key to finding the correct entity to file your claim.

The Elderly

Many elderly individuals don’t have the footing they used to. They aren’t as steady on their feet, and are particularly vulnerable to injuries from dangerous slips and falls on ice and snow. Once an elderly individual takes a tumble, they may be afraid of subsequent falling. Many avoid walking and moving too much for fear of another fall, and become weaker, increasing their chances of falling again.

What To Do If You Have A Winter Slip & Fall Injury

Should you become injured, here are a few things you need to do:

1.    See a doctor (or visit the ER if necessary) to attend to your injuries

2.    Document the details of your case—location, weather conditions, time of day, and anything else relevant while you can easily remember it.

3.    Take pictures of the area where the injury occurred

4.    If there are witnesses, get statements and contact information if possible

5.    Document your medical information and billing, as well as lost wages and any other damages suffered

6.    Contact a personal injury attorney, and have all your information available when you visit

NOTE: do NOT give a recorded statement to any insurance company about your case. Your attorney will speak to the insurance companies for you and will update you on how your case is proceeding.

Statute of Limitations

West Virginia allows two years for a plaintiff to file a slip and fall lawsuit. If you don’t file within two years of the accident, you will lose the ability to file. This is separate from an insurance claim, which should be filed separately and as soon as possible. If you don’t file your suit in the two-year window, you might not be able to collect on an insurance claim, either.

Modified Comparative Fault

If you are found to be partially responsible for your accident, you will be assigned a percentage of fault. If you are partly at fault, this will work against you in a claim/settlement. If your percentage is greater than 50%, you will not be able to receive damages from the other party.

Winter Ice & Snow Fall Prevention

West Virginia winters can be dangerous. While we can’t protect ourselves and our families from everything everywhere, we can take precautions to reduce the chances of injury from slip and fall accidents in ice and snow. The University of Idaho offers these recommendations:

1.    Take small steps, focus on your walking. Walk slowly, carefully and stay aware of the surface conditions.

2.    Chose your path carefully, and avoid icy conditions wherever possible.

3.    Avoid sudden movements on hard surfaces. Melting snow can create puddles, much like rain, and turn very slippery very quickly. Most places take precautions to remove puddles, but they can be anywhere.

4.    Watch your feet on icy and uneven surfaces, especially if you are carrying articles.

5.    Remove snow from your footwear when entering buildings to avoid slipping or creating more puddles.

6.    If you find sand containers available, consider spreading some to prevent injuries both to yourself and others. Report icy surfaces to building managers or other facilities personnel.

7.    Select appropriate footwear—rubber soles with deep traction grips are best.

8.    Leave earlier. It takes time to walk safely on frozen surfaces, so take that into consideration when heading out.

9.    Be very careful exiting your vehicle, holding onto the car door for safety.

10. Avoid shortcuts—use cleared spaces and walkways, and exercise care on steps. Don’t step on a curb, step up over it onto a flat surface.

Call For A Free Consultation

Slipping and falling on icy surfaces can be a painful and expensive experience, especially if you require hospitalization. But if you or a loved one has had a slip and fall injury on ice or snow due to negligence, we’re here to help you recover damages so you can heal and get on with your life. Call us today at (304) 344 5683 and we’ll help you with your case. We’re one of Charleston’s premier personal injury law firms and can work on a contingency fee basis to work on and settle your case.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Motorcycle Accident Attorney In Charleston, West Virginia?

Riding a motorcycle is fun, freeing—and dangerous. Motorcycle accidents tend to be more severe because of the nominal amount of protection available. Spinal cord damage, brain injuries, broken bones and other common injuries are usually due to an auto driver’s negligence. When an accident occurs, a motorcycle accident attorney is crucial to winning your case.

Why Is It Important To Hire A Motorcycle Accident Attorney In Charleston, West Virginia?

We hope you’ll never be involved in an accident. If you are, make sure you hire the right lawyer for your case. The Love Law Firm has experience handling motorcycle accidents and will help you fight for compensation. We can handle the insurance companies, the courts, and anything else related to your case.

What You Need To Know

If you ride a motorcycle in West Virginia, there are requirements you must follow.

1.    West Virginia Law (§17C-15-44) requires helmets and other safety equipment to be worn while riding a motorcycle. While some states allow helmet-free riding, research shows helmets to be essential in reducing head injuries during accidents.

2.    Shatter-resistant safety glasses, eye goggles or a face shield must be worn while riding.

3.    Windshields or windscreens must also be shatterproof.

4.    “Lane-Splitting,” or sharing a lane with a car or a truck, is not legal in West Virginia. However, sharing a lane with another motorcycle is legal and permitted.

5.    West Virginia’s comparative negligence law for car crashes also applies to motorcycle crashes.

Statute of Limitations

West Virginia imposes a two-year time limit on filing suits and claims, known as the “statute of limitations.” If you do not file within the time frame, you will lose your right to file and to sue. An insurance claim is different and may have separate time limits. But if your claim isn’t filed, an insurance company may be inclined to lowball you into a lower settlement. Your attorney will keep you apprised of deadlines.

Modified Comparative Fault

West Virginia law includes a provision called “modified comparative fault,” where a percentage of the fault of the accident can be divided between and assigned to both parties. If you are partially responsible you may be assigned a percentage of fault, reducing your settlement. For instance, if you are awarded $50,000, but are found to be 10% at fault for the accident (such as not wearing a helmet as required by law), your settlement can be reduced by $5,000, or 10%.  If your percentage is found to be greater than 50%, you will not be able to receive any compensation for the accident.

If You’re Involved In A Motorcycle Accident

There are a number of things to remember if the worst happens to you.

1.    Get medical attention for your injuries immediately, no matter how minor. Make sure you keep up and continue any medical appointments as long as you are healing.

2.    Do not give a statement to police or anyone else until you’ve seen a doctor. Offer to give a statement at a later date when you’ve been treated and are feeling a little better.

a.    This is particularly true of an insurance company—they will record your statement and work to deny your claim and minimize any settlement.

3.    Take multiple pictures of the accident scene. If you are unable to take pictures and have someone else with you who is, ask them to take as many pictures as possible, from as many angles as possible. Both close-up shots and long-distance pictures will offer a complete view of the accident.

4.    If possible, get names and contact information of any available witnesses.

5.    Keep track of all medical expenses, appointments, lost wages and property, and other related expenses.

6.    Do not discuss the accident on social media, or by texting. These can be subpoenaed and used against you later.

Why It’s Important

Prejudices against motorcycle riders may work against your best interests when investigating and settling a claim. One prevailing belief is that motorcycle riders are “daredevils” who take chances when they’re really just trying to stay a respectable distance from cars. Many auto drivers will claim that they “didn’t see the motorcycle” when they hit it, even though the driver was at fault. Don’t give up your rights.

A motorcycle is a motor vehicle just like any other, and you have many of the same rights and responsibilities as an auto driver. You can find a personal injury attorney in nearly every city in America. But finding a specialist that is skilled and experienced and understands motorcycle accidents could mean the difference between a small settlement and a one that helps you get back on your feet. Don’t let a general practitioner give you a little attention and a little money. You need an attorney who will fight for your rights, defend you against insurance company bullying and fully represent you in court.

Call A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

We’re ready to help you with your case, and get on with your life. Call us at (304)-344-5683 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and explain all of your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.

Settlements in West Virginia Accident Injury Cases

After a car crash, there is a lot to process—who, what, when, where and why are the most obvious questions that need an answer. Once those are answered and you’ve begun the process of filing insurance claims and maybe hiring an attorney, you’ll start to hear the word “settlements.” It’s important to understand what it means and how it affects you before you sign anything.

Settlements in West Virginia Car Accident Injury Cases

Take Care Of Yourself First

One of the first things you should do is see a doctor—whether your own or in the emergency room right after the crash. You may not have any obvious signs of injuries, but you may show symptoms later. Establishing your medical condition after the crash is important for your case. You’ll need to be as well as you can be when it’s time to speak to insurance companies and attorneys.

While you are recuperating, you may receive a call from an insurance adjuster with the other party’s company. Their job is to settle your case as quickly as possible, for the least amount of money. If you’ve been injured, your car has been damaged (or totaled) or you suffered other property damage, there are a number of costs that must be taken into consideration when discussing settlements. If you will need continuing long-term medical care, your car needs replacement, or you’ll require other compensation for the accident, those costs must be figured into the final amount.

Once your case is settled and you’ve signed all the papers, you won’t be able to go back and get any more money if you didn’t get enough the first time. A settlement should make you “whole,” or compensate you enough to where you are in relatively the same position you were in before the accident.

Settling a case can be a long time, especially if there is a large amount of money at stake. If you’re being pressured to sign settlement papers, don’t—it’s time to find a West Virginia personal injury attorney and ask for help.

Don’t Accept The “Quick Check”

Some attorneys may dazzle you with multi-million dollar judgment amounts they’ve won for previous clients. Some may suggest that they can “settle your case quickly.” But before you accept a “quick check” from an attorney, you should understand how the settlement process works. You may be signing your rights away and leaving a lot money on the table. Every case is different, so a “quick check” may not be the right way to go. An experienced personal injury attorney with car accident experience can better help you understand your case.

The Statute Of Limitations

There are time limits for filing your claim. Called the “Statute of Limitations,” West Virginia allows two years from the date of the accident to file, or you lose your right to sue (West Virginia Code section 55-2-12.) If a fatality was involved, there is also a two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim by the deceased person’s family (West Virginia Code section 55-7-6.)  You must file within the two-year period of the date of the accident to have your claim processed and settled. A personal injury attorney can give you an idea of how long you may have to wait for a settlement. If the end date is coming up soon, it’s time to call an attorney now.

Settlements

Your settlement may not require you to go to court, but it might. Should your attorney not be able to reach a suitable agreement with the insurance company, it may become necessary to file a lawsuit.

When an agreement is reached between you (and your attorney) and the other parties (the other driver, their insurance company, and any other attorneys involved) on the dollar amount that is owed to you, then you’ll receive a settlement. At that point, your attorney will let you know how much your settlement will be, how much you owe in attorney’s fees from that settlement amount, and final amount you will receive. The settlement will include pain & suffering, loss of wages, medical expenses, and other related compensation. Depending on the severity of your injuries, this settlement may include monies for future medical expenses.

If your attorney took your case on a “contingency fee basis,” it means that they are paid a percentage of your settlement amount. He or she will advise you of their fees at that point and can answer any of your questions.

Let Us Help With Your Case

Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a car accident injury settlement. We offer contingency fee arrangements, and there’s no fee if we don’t win your case for you.

Five Reasons To Get A Second Doctor’s Opinion

If you’ve been told you have cancer or another serious illness by your doctor, you have some decisions to make, possibly in a short time frame. Receiving a serious diagnosis is no time for quick, and possibly bad, decisions. While you may trust your doctor completely, you should strongly consider getting a second doctor’s opinion, and not be rushed into making a decision on treatment plans. Here are five reasons why.

getting a second doctor's opinion is strongly suggested

1.    We all make mistakes—doctors included. Because of managed care, your doctor doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with you. He or she may not be able to make a proper diagnosis in 15 minutes or less. One study by the Mayo Clinic shows one in five patients are incorrectly diagnosed. A second opinion may uncover something your doctor missed, giving you a different diagnosis. A second doctor may suggest a different test or treatment plan that your original physician doesn’t know about. If your second opinion is radically different than the first, a third opinion may be necessary to get to the root cause of your illness.

If your primary doctor feels a second opinion is unnecessary, it may be time to find another doctor.

2.    An unclear diagnosis or treatment. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have similar symptoms, but distinctly different treatments. A second opinion can help narrow down the diagnosis, eliminate incorrect ones and identify additional treatments that may be more effective.

3.    Your doctor may not have experience treating your illness or isn’t sure what the problem is. If you received your diagnosis from a general practitioner, you’ll probably need to find a specialist anyway. A misdiagnosis is a lot more common than most people realize and can be deadly. You may need to see a third, fourth or even a fifth doctor to get a complete and correct diagnosis and find out all of the treatment options that are available.

a.    Note: If you have a rare disease or condition, another opinion is crucial. Most doctors aren’t trained in rare conditions, and you may be incorrectly diagnosed. Doctors who specialize in rare illnesses will know about the most current developments and life-saving treatments that are available for your condition.

4.   Surgery is recommended. Any surgery involves a degree of risk. A second opinion may uncover additional, less invasive treatment options that your original physician is not aware of.

5.    Your current treatment isn’t working or stopped working. Some medications only work for a short period of time, and then have to be increased. If your symptoms are worsening, or your pain level is increasing, it may be time to ask for help. Consulting with a different physician may uncover additional treatments that can supplement or replace the ones you’re using now.

If you’re afraid of offending your doctor, or believe you should take it on faith that your doctor knows everything about your condition, understand that a second opinion is just that—an opinion. However, it’s important to understand everything you can about your condition so that you are aware of what works, what doesn’t, and if necessary, what your chances of survival are with each option.

Your doctor may not be aware of new developments and treatments that could benefit you better than standard protocols. Seeking a different physician to review your condition diagnosis will help you make a better, more informed decision about your healthcare.

If you’re having a difficult time making sense of different opinions and treatments, a healthcare advocate can help you understand and manage everything.

Even if the second (and subsequent) opinions agree with the first one, you will know that you’ve identified the root cause of your illness or condition and can move forward with the best available treatments.

If you feel you have a cause for medical malpractice, call the Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683, or contact us by e-mail for a free initial consultation.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

Moving your loved one to a nursing home is never an easy decision. He or she may need daily care that you are unable to provide for them, or the care they need is beyond your capacity.

When you entrust the care of your loved one to people you don’t know, you believe they are getting the best care available. But if your loved one is having problems, are not themselves, or you think something may be wrong, it’s time to take a closer look. If you suspect abuse, call us today.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

West Virginia Protection For Nursing Home Residents

The state has enacted a number of laws designed to protect vulnerable people from abuse by the people they trust to care for them. West Virginia’s laws and regulations ensure an individual’s right to safety, dignity, respect, privacy, and to allow them to live comfortably in an environment that feels as much like “home” as possible.

Unfortunately, not all of the people that work in nursing homes feel the way you do about your loved one. Abuse and neglect are common in some places, and residents are unable to defend themselves against exploitation. If you suspect abuse, it’s time to take action.

Federal Law Protection

Nursing home residents are protected by state and federal law. But many are afraid to report abuse, because they fear retribution on some level. Since a resident lives there 24/7, it wouldn’t be difficult  for someone to cause harm when “nobody’s looking.” This is particularly true of residents who have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, who may have trouble remembering things.

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 is a federal law that establishes protections for nursing home residents against abuse, as well as a list of individual rights. A condensed description of the law is available here.

West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services has additional information here.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

There are different types of abuses that may be inflicted on a nursing home resident, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Verbal or Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Financial Exploitation

More Subtle Signs

Sometimes, abuse symptoms are visible: bruises, bedsores, an abrupt change in personality, and injuries from the use of restraints (which is prohibited by law without the resident’s express permission for their use.) But other, less apparent signs may include:

  • Changes in mood or appetite
  • Sleeplessness, anxiety and/or depression without warning
  • A sudden desire not to speak to family or friends
  • Resident never being left alone in the presence of family members
  • Unable to speak around others, particularly employees
  • Damaged clothing
  • Other unexplained injuries, such as broken bones or skin injuries

If your loved one has any one of these signs, contact one of our elder abuse attorneys and schedule your free consultation to discuss your case.

If You Have Proof Of Or Have Witnessed Abuse

The first thing you must do is call West Virginia’s 24/7 Health & Human Resources hotline at 800-352-6513 to file a complaint with the state. Document and take pictures of any evidence, including injuries. Health & Human Resources has more information on their website, with a list of information to have available when you call.

We Can Help

There is a two-year window of time to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If you believe your loved one has been abused, neglected or in any way mistreated by a nursing home employee, don’t wait! Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation. We’ve helped thousands of West Virginians fight for their loved ones in nursing homes, and we’ll be happy to help you.

How Can I Detect Financial Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

If you’ve made the difficult decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, you’re entrusting their everything to the staff and doctors who are providing care. It’s common for patients to become friendly with staffers, and even to treat them as they would family members. But despite available protections, nursing home residents are frequent and easy targets for financial abuse, and may not even realize they are being targeted. If you believe your loved one is the victim of financial abuse in a nursing home, contact The Love Law Firm today. We may be able to help.

How Can I Detect Financial Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

Vulnerable Victims

Elder abuse is notoriously under-reported, partly by the victims, who frequently fear retribution. Research estimates that 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have suffered some kind of elder abuse. Nursing home patients are already at a disadvantage because they are bedridden, and may be convalescing after surgery or a serious illness. Elderly residents may be overly trusting, or may have a degenerative neurological condition such as Alzheimer’s. These patients may not remember details, or are completely unaware that they have been victimized. Unscrupulous family members, caregivers  and nursing home employees who have day-to-day contact with the residents can target these individuals by preying upon their trusting nature and occasional forgetfulness.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of abuse, pay attention to anything unusual, and ask questions. You can fight back against someone taking advantage of your loved one.

Watch For Unusual Activity

MarketWatch reports that about 17% of elderly people have reported being scammed, and the average victim of elder abuse loses about $120,000.  Banks are increasingly using high-tech methods to help prevent financial abuse of seniors, but it can still happen.

If you don’t see your loved one very often, it may be difficult to see that something may be wrong. (This is also true of physical and other types of abuse.) Visiting frequently, particularly by multiple family members, offers more opportunity to see something that’s “off.” Are you allowed to be alone with your loved one, or is there an overly-protective staffer lurking to overhear what’s being said? Is a distant family member suddenly visiting and friendly with your loved one? Are they suddenly being protective of their financial accounts, or don’t want to talk about money? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Signs of nursing home financial abuse include:

  • Alterations in wills, trusts and deeds
  • New contracts, mortgages or loans
  • New co-signers on bank accounts, with frequent withdrawals
  • Activity in previously dormant bank accounts
  • Changes of address
  • Cashing a resident’s check without permission
  • Sudden insufficient funds and/or overdraft  fees on bank accounts
  • Updated powers of attorney (to access financial accounts)
  • Missing possessions (particularly valuable ones)
  • Changes in investment accounts favoring another individual
  • Any other questionable financial and/or legal arrangements

West Virginia Protects Vulnerable Adults

Many resources are available online to help protect vulnerable elderly individuals from financial abuse. Additionally, available technologies like direct deposit and automatic bill-pay can prevent your loved one from having financial documentation in the nursing home where it can be exploited.

In 2016, the state of West Virginia added and strengthened the laws protecting elderly and vulnerable adults, with additional penalties and fines for financial abuse. House Bill #4309, introduced on 1/27/2016, and signed by the governor on 3/25/16, establishes a cause of action, adds additional penalties, and allows for attorney’s fees in financial crimes against the elderly.

We Can Help

If you believe your loved one has been financially abused in a West Virginia nursing home, we stand ready to help you defend and protect them. We can offer you a contingency fee arrangement so we can start investigating your case immediately. Don’t let another day go by where your loved one may be in trouble and need help. Call Chad at The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344 5683.

What Does “Catastrophic” Mean In West Virginia Personal Injury Law?

There are injuries, and there are injuries. Personal injury law covers a number of these, from car crashes to industrial accidents and anything else unexpected that can hurt you. But catastrophic injuries are a different and more complex class of injury altogether, frequently involving irreparable harm.

Sustained catastrophic injuries? We can help.

Catastrophic” means that your injuries are more than just broken bones or something that will eventually heal. Catastrophic injuries are ones that are  “permanent and substantial,” need extensive medical treatments and completely change your life, possibly forever. These are the types of injuries that you may never recover from, and may include:

  • Back/neck injuries
  • Blindness in one or both eyes
  • Loss of one or more limbs (amputation)
  • Spinal cord paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Burn injuries
  • Hearing loss (i.e., explosion)
  • Other serious physical impairments or occupational injury

Going forward, you may need special accommodations at home (and at work, if you can continue working.) You may not be able to work again (or at least, in your present occupation.) You may need round-the-clock medical care, at least for a while, and help with day-to-day tasks that you used to do on your own.

Long Recovery Or A Lifetime of Care

Depending on the type, catastrophic injuries may also require constant personal care, additional surgeries (including reconstructive surgery), therapy (physical, occupational, speech, language), medical transportation and other supportive accoutrements.

Who takes care of it? Without the funds to take care of yourself or your loved one, your condition can deteriorate considerably. But if you’re unable to work, how will you pay for everything?

A personal injury attorney will fight for the best settlement for you. He or she will be an advocate, helping you through each step of the process, and ensure that your case is handled properly, so you receive the settlement you need to take care of yourself (or a loved one.)

You Have Two Years

On any personal injury case, you have a two-year window (called the “statute of limitations”) to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. While a settlement may take some time, you must file within two years of the date of the injury in order to be eligible for a settlement.

West Virginia divides compensation into two groups: economic (medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic (“pain and suffering.”) The limit on non-economic damages for catastrophic injury is $500,000.  A personal injury attorney will review your case and advise you on what kinds of compensation you should expect to receive.

You Can’t Do This Yourself

Don’t let an bullying insurance company coerce you into taking their first settlement offer. You may not have enough money to cover your medical bills, lost wages, or other related expenses. An attorney who has experience with catastrophic injuries can not only help you win your case, but ensure that you are fairly compensated and can get the specific medical care you will need for the rest of your life. The Love Law Firm has represented Charleston victims of personal injury for over 18 years. Contact us today for a free consultation—by phone at (304) 344-5683, email or by filling out our online form.

When Should I Hire A Charleston, West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer?

The moments after a car crash are clouded and anxious. What happened? Are you injured? Is anyone else injured? What about the car? What do you do next? In those blurry moments it can be very hard to think about what needs to be done. You might need to hire a personal injury lawyer.

You may have gone to the emergency room for an evaluation. You’ll need copies of the attending physician’s medical report, and copies of any written prescriptions for your file.

When Should I Hire A Charleston, West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer?

If you were badly injured and still hospitalized, you may need to wait until your condition is stable enough to go home to start filing your claim. If you have someone who can make calls for you and help with administrative tasks (insurance calls, obtaining a police report, getting a rental car, etc.) enlist their help until you are well enough to do it yourself.

When you’ve sufficiently healed to leave the hospital, or you’ve seen your physician to follow up after your ER visit, it’s time to file your claims and hire a personal injury lawyer.

A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

The time to find a personal injury attorney is immediately. Start calling and interviewing personal injury attorneys as soon as possible after your accident, when you’re able to start handling things. An attorney who helped you with a previous legal matter may not be right to handle a car crash. The Love Law Firm stands ready to help with 18 years of PI experience you won’t find anywhere else.

Insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart. They’re interested in getting your claim settled and off their books as quickly and cheaply as possible. If you accept a quick settlement, and later have problems with your car, yourself, or a loved one who was involved, you can’t go back and request more money. A skilled personal injury attorney will examine your case, review facts and evidence, and determine a fair settlement to help you get back on your feet.

Preserve All Available Evidence

This is one of the most important aspects of any legal case, but especially a car crash. Don’t expect the police report to have everything, because it may not.

If you have a smartphone, and you’re not familiar with the photo and/or video function, start learning and using them now, while you’re reading this, before you need it. If you need help, find someone who can teach you how to use it and practice often, because it will come in handy. You should take pictures and/or video of your car, the area, and any other relevant visual evidence, including witnesses. If you are at all able at the time of the accident, take pictures and video as necessary of everything you can. If you have a family member or friend available ask them to take additional pictures and video.

Assemble Your Case File

Once you’ve gathered your police report, medical records, pictures, video and audio evidence, insurance information and anything else relevant, it’s time to take these to your attorney. Keep copies of everything. Digital pictures and video can be placed on a flash drive, unless instructed otherwise.

The more information you can provide, the better. An attorney will likely request a police report as a matter of course. Additional information you can provide will help your attorney understand and build your case.

Who Was At Fault?

Your case will depend heavily on who is assigned fault in the police report. West Virginia’s Comparative Negligence system means that it may not be all the other driver’s fault. If you were using a cell phone while driving, and the other driver didn’t have enough time to respond, you could be partly responsible and a percentage of fault may be assigned. If your fault percentage is above 50%, you will not be eligible to receive a settlement.

Charleston’s Top Choice For Personal Injury Experience

You need to hire an experienced attorney for after a car accident. Charles Love and The Love Law Firm has expertly handled personal injury cases in West Virginia for over 18 years. We’d be happy to help you, too.

We can offer a contingency fee arrangement. Free consultations are available, so call today at (304) 344-5683.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement in West Virginia?

After the police report has been filed, your car has been fixed (or at least estimated), and you’re starting to heal from your injuries, you may be wondering how long it might be before you actually receive a settlement from a car accident. West Virginia has a process for car accident cases to go through before you actually “get a big check.” There are a lot of variables involved with a car accident settlement, and getting a fast settlement may leave money on the table that you may need later.

getting a car accident settlement

Quick settlements aren’t always a good idea. If you’re being pressured by an insurance company to settle your car accident case, it’s time to ask for help from a qualified personal injury attorney who knows how to handle accident cases in West Virginia. Even if you have an attorney you’ve worked with on other matters, it’s best to find someone who works exclusively with personal injury cases.

West Virginia Statute of Limitations

West Virginia has a two-year window of time, called the “statute of limitations,” for claims and lawsuits to be filed. That window begins the day of the accident. Most people aren’t able to file a suit the day of the accident, so you should find a personal injury attorney to assist you as soon as you’re able to.

In West Virginia, the party at fault is required to reimburse the injured party for all accident related expenses. If you have been assigned partial fault, this may affect your settlement, depending on how much you were at fault. If your fault is less than 50%, you can be awarded a settlement.

Your claim with the other party’s insurance company may be all you need to file if your case is minor and you’re able to handle it yourself. Insurance companies want to settle quickly and get your case out of the way. They also may drag out talking to you so that you’re unable to file during the statute of limitations. But if your case involves debilitating injuries, the death of a passenger, or other devastating disruptions, filing suit may be your only option. Don’t speak to an insurance adjustor, sign anything or give any kinds of consent before talking to a personal injury attorney about your case!

You should also not discuss your case details with friends or on social media. Much like a divorce case, these things can be used against you in court, and can potentially impact settlement.

Each car accident case is different, and so is each settlement. When considering an offer, there are a number of costs that have to be added into the final figure. They include:

  • Car repair/replacement costs
  • Other property damages
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages/work time
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other related expenses

For instance—if your car was totaled, will you be able to replace it? If you’ve suffered severe injuries in the accident, will you be able to return to work one day, or are you permanently disabled? Will you need additional medical treatment, physical therapy or other medical-related expenses later? An experienced personal injury attorney working for you can help you decide on a suitable settlement.

In addition to compensatory damages, you may be eligible to recover punitive, or “punishment” damages, if the other party was in some way willfully malicious or negligent.

So to answer this question: it depends. On so many things, since every case is different. There isn’t a timetable that can tell you how long it will be before you’ll receive a settlement. A personal injury attorney who is experienced in these kinds of cases will be better able to give you an idea.

How much will an attorney cost? Many personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis—that is, there is only a fee if they successfully win your case and you’re awarded a settlement. We offer free consultations, contact our law firm today and book for an appointment at (304) 344 5683.

The Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault! Do I Still Need a Lawyer?

A car accident is one of the scariest things to live through. Even if you’re not injured and your car wasn’t a total loss, there are still police reports, insurance claims, doctor visits and lost work time to deal with the aftermath. Maybe you’ve talked to a few friends who’ve “been there, done that.” They’re full of all kinds of advice, some of it is conflicting.  It’s confusing to know which way to turn. Even if you aren’t at fault, it might be best to get a lawyer. Here’s why:

you should always get a lawyer, regardless of fault

You’ve probably read the police report and discovered that car accident was not your fault. Great! But do you still need an lawyer?

The answer is probably, “Yes.

But If You’re Not At Fault, Why Do You Need A Lawyer?

If you were at fault, hiring a lawyer would be to defend you and try to get any charges reduced or eliminated, and possibly keep you out of jail, depending on the circumstances. But if you’re not at fault, who’s looking out for your best interests? Nobody—and that’s why you may need a lawyer in West Virginia to make sure your rights are protected, and you get any settlement or compensation you’re entitled to receive. Contacting The Love Law Firm to talk about your accident and your rights is a good place to start.

Beware Of Time Limits

From the date of the accident, West Virginia has a two-year window to file an accident-related lawsuit (known as the “statute of limitations.”) As the injured party, you’ll be required to prove that the other party was at fault (“burden of proof.”)  Pay attention to this deadline, even if your case may settle out of court. You don’t want to lose your rights if the  settlement negotiations fail. If you don’t file by the two-year deadline, your case will probably be dismissed.

The statute of limitations only applies to court filings. Insurance companies may have a shorter window of time for you to file accident claims, like 180 days or one year from the date of the accident. Each company has its own schedule of deadlines. Filing insurance claims immediately gives you time to work on denials, and file additional suits if necessary. Find out and keep track of these deadlines so you don’t miss them. A lawyer can also help if your accident-related claims are denied.

Who’s Fault Was It, Really?

West Virginia recently implemented “comparative fault,” for situations where both side share fault in an accident. This can reduce the amount of your settlement. Known as “modified comparative negligence,” this means that you can recover damages if your injuries amount to more than injuries of the other parties, even if you were found to have contributed to the accident.

But if, at the time of the accident, you were involved in or fleeing from committing a felony, the other party won’t be held liable for any damages, even if he or she was at fault.

In West Virginia, you may be awarded compensation as:

  • Car repair expenses
  • Related medical expenses
  • Lost wages/earnings
  • Pain & suffering
  • Punitive damages

Auto Insurance Requirements in West Virginia

West Virginia requires that anyone who drives in the state have insurance with these minimums:

  • $25,000 for accident-related property damage
  • $25,000 for one accident with one injury
  • $50,000 for one accident with two or more injuries

Call Love Law Firm Today

If you’re involved in an accident with a big truck in West Virginia, you’ll definitely need a lawyer to represent you. The Love Law Firm can definitely help you. While comparative fault still applies, a lawyer is your best ally to help protect your rights, represent you in court and ensure your compensation is fair and covers your loss.

We hope you’re never involved in a car accident. But if you are, call us today at (304) 344 5683 and talk to one of our West Virginia lawyers who can help you through the aftermath of a car accident.