Bicycle VS Vehicle Accidents In Charleston, WV. What Should I Know?

Charleston is at the center of some of the best bicycling in the US and is one of the top cycling cities in the US. From a short ride at Little Creek Park to one of the many renovated railroad “Rail Trails,” there’s no shortage of places to ride your bicycle. The City of Charleston also has a master plan for both bicycling and hiking trails. You can also find additional riding trails here and here.

Bicycle VS Vehicle Accidents In Charleston, WV. What Should I Know?

If you ride your bike as an alternative to your car or truck, you’ll quickly become aware of the increased danger of riding around passenger vehicles. In addition to being slower than a car or truck, you’re also very unprotected. If you come in contact with an oncoming car, the results can be devastating.

West Virginia is one of the safest states for bicycling (with Florida as the deadliest state for riders.) But accidents do happen, like this recent one in September, where the driver thought he hit a deer.

If you’re lucky, you may walk away with scraped knees and elbows. But frequently, bicycle accidents leave the rider with severe, and possibly fatal, injuries. If you’re hit by a car while riding, you could suffer more serious injuries, like:

  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Other head & neck injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Nerve damage
  • Joint dislocation
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Jaw and dental injuries

Safety equipment (like helmets) and safe riding can help you reduce the chance of an accident as well as increase your chances of surviving one.

The Increased Dangers

Let’s face it—a passenger vehicle is bigger, faster and more dangerous than a bike. And the impact is a lot worse for you than it would be for the driver. So the burden is on you to keep watch for drivers who are:

  • Speeding
  • Texting
  • Turning corners faster (or ignoring stop signs)
  • Don’t bother looking around

Wearing A Helmet

If you don’t wear a helmet while riding, you should. West Virginia has no helmet requirement except for riders under 15. However, wearing one at any age increases your chances of surviving an accident by 88%. A helmet is one of the best pieces of safety equipment you can wear.

Additional safety gear can include:

  • Padded shorts to help prevent road rash and soft tissue injuries
  • Padded gloves to protect hands in the event of a fall
  • Reflective clothing and bike lights, to enable drivers to see you better at night

Because West Virginia’s personal injury law includes comparative fault, if you ride helmet-free, you could be assigned some fault for your injuries. Therefore, riding without a helmet can significantly reduce your settlement.

After The Accident

If you’re involved in an accident while riding, medical care is imperative, especially for severe injuries. You will also need to give a statement to the police.

Much like a car accident, you can collect damages from the negligent party such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain & suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages

If you’re contacted by the other party’s insurance company, do not sign anything without consulting with a bicycle accident lawyer. You could sign away your rights, and lose out on money you need to take care of yourself.

Charleston’s Bicycle Accident Lawyer

A helmet can save your life, even with other injuries. You may not be at fault, and we can help you recover damages after someone else’s negligence.  Call The Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683 (or use our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and discuss your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uber or Lyft Accident in Charleston, WV?

One of the hottest new trends for getting around is ride sharing. Instead of calling a taxi, you use a smartphone app to call someone to give you a ride. Everything is done on the app, including payment. You get where you’re going and someone else is earning money driving their car. What’s not to like?

Do I Need a Lawyer for an Uber or Lyft Accident in Charleston, WV?

Millions of Americans have taken to these app-based on-call ride services, and they all get where they’re going, every day, whether at home or out-of-town. Convenient, less expensive than a taxi, But occasionally, like anyone who drives anywhere, accidents happen. Now what?

Uber And Lyft

If you’ve ever given a ride to a friend or picked them up when they called, you’ll understand what ridesharing is. These two ridesharing companies employ people nationwide to give folks a ride in their own cars. Quick, convenient and on the spot.

Uber arrived in Charleston in 2016, and Lyft arrived a year later. Both employ people to pick up and deliver people for pay. But like any taxi ride, there is just as much of an accident risk as there is when you drive yourself. And that’s where it can get complicated.

Independent Contractors

In the event of an accident with a company vehicle, you might have to deal with a company insurer. But rideshare drivers are independent contractors (aka “freelancers”), not employees, and aren’t generally covered by a company’s insurance policy except in limited circumstances. CDLs (commercial drivers’ licenses) are generally not required as they are with taxi, limo, and big truck drivers, so the rules are different.

There are three phases of the driver’s time:

  • On their own time, not driving. Any accidents are paid out of their personal insurance policy
  • When a driver is available and going to pick up a rider after being notified
  • When a driver is taking the individual to his or her destination. When the ride ends, the driver is again “available” and on their own time, and is called out for another pickup.

Insurance

Uber’s drivers are required to have their own personal insurance. Most drivers also have a separate insurance policy for when they are working as a rideshare driver. The premiums come out of the driver’s pockets.

Uber also has its own $1m company policy through James River Insurance, which covers accidents while a driver is working and transporting a passenger in their vehicle. If the driver going to pick up a passenger and is “available” in the app at the time of the accident, the driver’s own insurance is responsible, and Uber’s policy picks up part of it. If the driver is on his or her own time, and not working, the driver’s personal insurance covers the accident as it normally would.

Uber has its own process for handling accidents that involve their drivers. You may also be contacted later to give a statement. (Uber’s website has drivers’ instructions that one can check out.  )

However, Uber is a business, like any other. They will try to avoid making any payouts for crashes or other accidents.

Do I Need A Lawyer?

Chances are, you will. Just because a driver has insurance doesn’t mean things will go well. Additionally, Uber and Lyft have been notorious about leaving their drivers hanging after an accident, without any help. Like any other insurance company, you may be offered a small settlement to settle your case completely.

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 can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a car accident lawyer. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.

Why Do I Need a Charleston, WV Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

If you’ve been riding a motorcycle for any length of time, you not only understand why people enjoy it, you also see the dangers in motorcycle riding. Most riders are careful and respectful while riding, and wear protective gear despite the perception that riders do so dangerously.

Why Do I Need a Charleston, WV Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that while 20% of car accidents result in injuries or a fatality, 80% of motorcycle accidents have them. One estimate puts accidents with motorcycles at 11% annually. Car accident fatality rates are decreasing, but motorcycle rates are increasing. With more motorcycles on the road than ever before, your chances of an accident markedly increase.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Some of the causes of accidents include:

·         Drivers who are:

  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes incorrectly
  • Turning without looking first
  • Texting while driving
  • Running through red lights
  • Smoking, eating and/or drinking while driving
  • Engaging in illegal activities behind the wheel
  • Generally not paying attention (“didn’t see him”)

·         Potholes

·         Road debris and other hazards

·         Defective roads

Any one of these risks can turn your next ride into your last one for a while.

A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Will Defend Your Rights

There’s a general presumption—both by the car-driving public and by insurance companies—that motorcycle riders are at fault for their accidents. Some drivers will tell you that motorcyclists drive “dangerous.” However, statistics tell a different story. While some motorcyclists are at fault, the majority of accidents involving motorcycles are due to automobile driver negligence.

Because motorcycles are smaller and more agile, they aren’t always as obvious to a driver—especially one not paying attention to their blind spots, or abruptly change lanes without looking. Even if you’re riding safely and following the law, you’re more vulnerable to bad driver habits and severe injuries in a crash situation.

Even a new bike can have problems. Although we believe our bike is safe, there are occasions where design flaws, substandard materials or parts or workmanship can cause an accident.

Additionally, road construction, strewn debris and other obstacles that don’t affect automobiles can be highly dangerous to a motorcycle. Was a road incorrectly repaired, or even neglected?

All these things can contribute to a motorcycle accident. Finding out exactly what went wrong can be half the battle. If it indeed wasn’t your fault, how will you prove it?

Beware of Insurance Companies

Even if you have some of the best motorcycle insurance available, understand that your insurance company wants to settle your claim quickly. They’re not concerned for your welfare. If you settle with them quickly, you will probably not have enough money to recover, or repair your bike. An investigation may not find in your favor (remember that bias against motorcyclists) and you could end up with less than you need, or even nothing.

Insurance companies act quickly to minimize payouts, conquer evidence and find ways to deny claims. With a two-year window of time to file (called the “statute of limitations”), your insurer may try to drag the case out so that your time runs out.  Having an attorney that can work for you to deal with insurers will help protect your rights, your interests, and get the compensation you deserve.

Charleston’s Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

We hope you’re never involved in a motorcycle accident. It’s usually a lot worse—and more expensive—than a car accident. We understand the difference, and the intricacies of these cases. With experience handling motorcycle accidents, we’ll fight for your compensation. We can take care of insurance companies, the courts, and the rest of your case so you can heal.

The Love Law Firm is ready to help you through a motorcycle accident. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.

5 Things to Know Before Calling a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer

After a car accident, you’re dealing with a number of different things. Car repairs. Medical appointments. Missed work. Insurance claims. Lots of paperwork and forms. All while you’re trying to heal yourself and get back on your feet.

Insurance companies don’t care what you need—they want your case settled and off their books quickly. Give in, and you’ll lose out on compensation you need to heal.

5 things to know before you call a Charleston, WV car accident lawyer

You may be thinking it’s time to find a lawyer to help you through the difficult process of the aftermath of a car accident. Before you pick up the phone, here are a few things you should know.

·         Have all the accident information available—to get started, you’ll need the relevant information from your car accident: the time, date, the location, the other parties involved, their insurance company and any injuries sustained. You should also have:

  • Related medical bills
  • Information on injuries, including pictures
  • Police report
  • Photographs of the accident scene (if you’re able; most cell phones now have full camera functionality)
  • Names and contact info for any witnesses
  • Road hazards that could have contributed to the accident
  • How much work and/or wages you’ve missed due to the accident
  • Your auto insurance policy
  • Any possible automotive defects that could have contributed to your accident
  • Any other evidence you may have that’s relevant

Assembling this information before you call and hire an attorney will give him or her a good start on your case.

·         Be aware of the time constraints—West Virginia allows two years to file your claim for most cases. Known as the “statute of limitations,” if you wait until the end of the two years to get started, you may run out of time. The first ninety days after an accident are crucial for gathering important evidence and building your case. Hiring an attorney soon after your accident can help preserve important evidence as well.

·         Comparative Fault—West Virginia is one of the states that uses “comparative fault” when dealing with accidents. This means that if you’re found to be partly responsible for your car accident, your settlement could be reduced. For instance, if you were texting while you were driving, but weren’t a primary cause of the accident, you could be assigned 25% of the fault, reducing your settlement by 25%. If your settlement is $10,000, you’ll lose $2,500, bringing your settlement down to $7,500.

·         Be very cautious when talking to and dealing with insurance companies—again, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. Use extreme caution in what you say to an insurance company any time they call. Your call is most likely recorded, and saying the wrong thing that can be construed as admitting fault. An adjuster will work hard to use anything you say to dismiss your claim. Don’t sign anything without fully understanding what you’d be signing—you could be signing away your rights to compensation! Insurance companies have teams of lawyers working for them and against you—so it makes sense for you to be able to defend yourself. Finding the right car accident attorney at the beginning can save you from making mistakes like these.

·         Don’t pick your attorney from a TV ad—you’ve probably seen a number of ads on TV for attorneys begging you to “call today!” Sure, they talk a good game—but what about when it comes to your case? Many of the firms that advertise in heavy rotation are simply “settlement firms,” and rely heavily on bringing in new cases and getting them settled quickly. These firms may not get you the best settlement, and may even leave money on the table.

Talk To More Than One

You may not want to hire the first attorney you talk to. If you’re not sure, you can “interview” car accident attorneys before you hire one. You’ll want to find the right one, and one you can work with, so an interview works two ways. Word-of-mouth is an excellent way to find leads. But without meeting with them to discuss your case, you won’t know if you’re getting the right attorney for you.

If you’re speaking with an attorney who doesn’t adequately answer your questions, or you just don’t feel like it’s a good “fit,” don’t be afraid to keep looking. Review their websites, and find out what kind of experience they have with car accidents.

Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, and will discuss your case with you with no obligation. After you’ve taken care of yourself and seen a doctor, the next person to see may be a lawyer—especially if you’ve been injured. Don’t wait.

Charleston’s Car Accident Attorney

The days after a car accident are filled with anxiety, confusion and a lot of quick decision making. Don’t risk making a wrong decision for your life and your future.

The Love Law Firm is ready to help. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.

What does a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer Cost? Can I Really Afford One?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you’re probably reading this wondering how to get a lawyer in West Virginia to represent you. And more importantly, what does it cost?

What does a Charleston, WV Car Accident Lawyer Cost? Can I Really Afford One?

It’s difficult to put an exact dollar amount on the question since every case is different. One case may net a huge settlement, while another case that looks similar may lose. Everything is in the details of the case.

Lawyers may employ a few different types of fee schedules. Before you agree to be represented by one, ask which one you’ll be agreeing to before you sign anything. A car accident is bad enough—you don’t need any more surprises! Make sure you understand how your lawyer will be paid at the outset of your case.

Hourly

This is where you literally pay your lawyer (and/or the law office staff) for each hour they work on your car accident case. Known as “billable hours,” it’s the actual time spent working on your case. You will generally receive a statement, invoice or some other type of documentation indicating how much work has been done in your case.

If you agree to an hourly fee arrangement, you’ll also need to ask if you will be responsible for paying these invoices every month. Many lawyers do require it, but again, you must specifically ask.

Flat Fee

If you’ve ever asked for an estimate on a home improvement project, or to have work done on your car, you’re familiar with this arrangement. You’ll be charged a specific amount of money to handle your case. Be aware that there may be additional charges such as court costs, filing fees, and costs to recover documentation from hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other places.

Are you going to be paying the fee upfront, and get billed for the extra charges? Will there be any additional fees taken out of your settlement? What happens if you lose your case?

Ask about these things, and what else might be required before you sign. If you agree to a flat fee arrangement, make sure you know what’s involved, and what you’ll be responsible for.

Contingency Fee Arrangement

Many lawyers who handle personal injury cases utilize this arrangement. The lawyer’s fee is a percentage on what you receive as a settlement, contingent upon winning the case. If the case is lost, you generally won’t owe a fee. Lawyers who take these types of arrangements will be choosy about which cases they pick, and they don’t generally take a case they don’t think they can win.

Modified Contingency Arrangement

This arrangement may be partly hourly or flat fee with part of the fees being contingent. Each attorney has his or her own way of doing it, so again, be sure to ask what happens if you settle, if you win, if you have to go to court, and if the case is lost.

Before You Sign

An agreement should have these elements:

·         Retainer—if you’re required to pay a deposit or a monthly fee for their services, this should be spelled out.

·         Hourly rate—rates you’ll be charged for any work done on your case, and by whom. It should also include when the invoice is due, and other associated terms.

·         Contingency fee—if your attorney uses this arrangement, everything will be detailed here.

·         Lawsuit related costs and fees—these are the out-of-pocket court fees and other associated charges that your lawyer will have to pay to work on your case. You may be required to pay these charges as they happen, or the lawyer may be reimbursed when your case settles. If you lose, you may be required to reimburse the lawyer for these charges.

·         Responsibilities—this defines who is responsible for what, (including you), which attorney and/or staff member will be working on your case, and what happens if your case requires an appeal.

Always Ask

If there is something you don’t understand, ask your attorney or their representative to make sure you know what to expect, and what’s expected of you. If an attorney proposes something that’s unclear, or that you’re not comfortable with, you’re free to decline, as long as you haven’t signed anything.

Need An Accident Lawyer? We’re Ready To Help

Do you need a car accident lawyer, but aren’t sure what to expect? Call The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 and schedule your appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys. We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options and what to expect in a car accident injury settlement. We can offer you a free consultation, and a contingency fee arrangement to make it easier for you to afford a car accident lawyer. There’s no fee if we don’t win your case.

Bicycle Accident With No Helmet? Here Are Some Legal Considerations

With spring on its way, people are ready to get out and ride their bicycles. In fact, Charleston is one of the top four cycling cities in West Virginia, hosting regular events like Bike To Work Day, where you can get free coffee and pastries. It’s an enjoyable pastime as well as an economical mode of transportation.

Bicycle Accident With No Helmet? Here Are Some Legal Considerations

But before put your ride on the road, make sure you’re familiar with the laws surrounding it. Like a motorcycle, you’re more vulnerable to serious injuries while you’re riding a bicycle.

A bicycle is, in West Virginia law, still considered a “motor vehicle” (even though you’re the “motor.”) Bicycles and motorcycles still must follow traffic laws, and be especially careful. Drivers don’t always see you, and may do anything from fling open a car door in front of you to change lanes and knock you out of yours. An accident between a car and a bicycle can result in devastating injuries that wouldn’t happen between two auto drivers. (West Virginia Chapter 17C, Article 11, governing bicycle riders, is available online.)

Among other safety requirements, lights are required to be on your bicycle for riding at night. Install both a white one for the front and a bright red one for the back, and turn them on when required. Cars, motorcycles, pedestrians and other cyclists will be able to see you.

Wear A Helmet Every Time You Ride

One of the most essential pieces of safety equipment for a bicyclist is a helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that 700 cyclists die every year in crashes, totaling 2% of all traffic accidents.

Surprising research shows that cycling is the top sport for traumatic brain injuries—even more than football.  In children under 14, head injuries from cycling are double the number from football. While it might be more enjoyable to ride without a helmet, the risks outweigh the benefits.

New York Times health columnist Jane Brody is a strong proponent, after her own accident that could have left her with a serious brain injury had she not been wearing her helmet.

The NHTSA encourages every rider to wear a helmet regardless of experience since traumatic brain injuries and death are serious risks. Wearing a helmet increases your chances of survival by 88% while riding without one triples your chances of a fatal crash.

Helmet Laws In West Virginia

West Virginia law (§17C-11A-4) requires helmets to be worn by bicyclists aged 15 or under, whether they’re operating the bicycle (or tricycle) or riding as a passenger. It’s also illegal for a parent to permit their child or children to ride a bicycle without a helmet. Doing so can incur a $10 fine and/or two hours of community service in a child injury prevention program. There is no such state law for bicycling adults in West Virginia, but the city of Morgantown does require helmets for all ages since 1993.

The “freedom” and the decision to ride without a helmet comes with risks besides the ones of severe head injuries (and death.) West Virginia’s comparative fault clause that applies to car accidents can also apply to bicycling accidents. Just like a car accident, an insurance company may use the absence of a bicycle helmet to deny your claim, or at least get it reduced by a percentage.

Helmets are known to reduce brain injuries, and failing to wear a helmet could significantly impact your claim, thus reducing a settlement. You may still be able to make an injury claim, and it wouldn’t affect other bodily injuries. But without a helmet, you’ll have to work hard to prove that your injury could have happened even with a helmet.

You can deal with “helmet hair.” A traumatic brain injury lasts a lot longer. And if you’re unable to collect any damages because of comparative negligence, how will you be able to heal with a reduced settlement?

We Handle Bicycle Accidents Too

Even while wearing a helmet, you can be injured in a crash, but the helmet can save your life. It may not be your fault, and we can help you recover damages. Let us help you with your accident case so you can heal your injuries and get on with your life. Call The Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation. We’ll talk with you about your case and discuss your options. We work on a contingency fee basis, so there’s no up-front expense.

 

Who Is Liable When A Pedestrian Causes An Accident?

If you’ve been in a car accident, you’ve probably been through the process where the fault is determined and liability is established. And more importantly, who pays for everything. There may have even been a pedestrian involved.

But what if the pedestrian was the cause of the accident?

Who Is Liable When A Pedestrian Causes An Accident?

It Happens Frequently

The Centers For Disease Control found in 2008 that a pedestrian is injured every eight minutes, and one dies every two hours in the US from traffic accidents, about 11% of all traffic fatalities (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.)  Since pedestrians don’t have the usual protection a car or truck would have, injuries from even an otherwise minor accident can be devastating.

Pedestrians normally always have the right of way, so many people believe that they can’t be at fault—but that’s not completely true. Drivers should yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and other intersections. Both drivers and pedestrians have a duty to “exercise reasonable care” on the road, and failure to exercise care as a pedestrian is considered negligent.

If you’ve ever seen someone walking down the street staring at their phone, you’ll understand how quickly a pedestrian accident can happen.

Negligence

It’s not common, but a pedestrian can be found “at fault” for an accident, although successful legal action may not be possible. Distractions (like a smartphone), carelessness, impairment (alcohol, drugs) or otherwise not paying attention to surroundings and traffic can play a part in pedestrian negligence.

Under WV State Code 17C-10-01, pedestrians are also subjected to state law and rules of the road, including using crosswalks and obeying traffic signals. Violations are subjected to fines of at least $100.

In order to prove negligence against a pedestrian, you’ll need evidence, such as witness statements, surveillance video, a police report and other pieces of evidence that prove the pedestrian’s negligence.

Using the NTHSA data from 2008, it’s important to note that time is an important factor in pedestrian accidents.

  • 38% of car/pedestrian fatalities involving drivers aged 16 or younger occurred between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm
  • 48% of all pedestrian fatality accidents happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • 48% of the cases involved alcohol and/or inebriation as a factor with either the driver or the pedestrian
  • 36% of involved pedestrians involved in these accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit
  • 13% of the involved drivers had a BAC over the legal limit.

Comparative Fault

It is possible, but somewhat unlikely, that you could pursue a claim against a pedestrian. It’s more likely that the driver will be sued in a personal injury claim by the pedestrian.

Both drivers and pedestrians can be found negligent and liable for an accident, either singly or together. West Virginia’s comparative fault rule means that if a pedestrian is found to be at fault for the accident, any settlement can be reduced by the percentage. If a pedestrian is found to be 25% responsible for an accident, he or she will see any settlement reduced by 25%. This is also true for a driver.

Intoxicated or otherwise impaired pedestrians who fail to follow the rule of law may be responsible for a higher fault percentage, and may not be eligible to recover damage and/or compensation.

Defend Yourself

We stand ready to protect your interests and help you get back on your feet after an accident. We’ll examine all the facts in the case, the police report, and advise you on how to proceed.

If you’ve been involved in a pedestrian accident, contact us at The Love Law Firm, or call us at (304) 344 5683. Your consultation is free, and we only collect if we win your case.

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.

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.

5 Car Accident Claim FAQs and Answers in Charleston WV

When injured in a car accident, and especially if the car accident was caused by the negligence and/or wrongdoing of another individual, you may want to seek compensation for the financial damages you incurred after the accident. Including medical bills and rehabilitation, lost income, and, in cases of serious injury, diminished future earning capacity, the costs of an injury can be astronomical. As such, after taking care of yourself, one of the first things you should do is consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Charleston WV.

5 Car Accident Claim FAQs and Answers in Charleston WV

By calling the Love Law Firm in Charleston WV, we will immediately get to work on your case. Through extensive investigation and evidence discovery, attorney Charles Love will aggressively, yet compassionately, litigate your right to compensation for the damages caused by the liable party(s). To get started on your case, call our law firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation.

Exceptions to Car Accident Laws in West Virginia

Before going through these common FAQs, it’s essential to remember that there are exceptions to pretty much every car accident law in West Virginia. This means that, if you were injured in a car accident in Charleston due to someone else’s negligence, you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney to understand the nuances of your case and whether or not you have a claim that’ll hold up in West Virginia civil courts.

1. I was just in a car accident. What should I do?

If you were just in an accident, the first thing you need to do is call emergency services, including both the police and the EMS, if you feel it’s necessary. Don’t wait to get help for your injuries; immediately seek medical care. This is especially true if you experienced whiplash or anything that could potentially be a head injury.

In fact, according to West Virginia law, if you are involved in any type of vehicle accident (car accident, truck accident, semi accident, etc) that involved personal injury or property damage exceeding $500, you are required to contact the police. By getting the police involved, you are also protecting your rights and ensuring that the facts of the accident get documented.

Additionally, and only if it is possible and safe to do so, try and exchange drivers’ licenses, registrations, and insurance information with the other driver(s). To fortify your case, it can help to get statements and contact information from witnesses.

2. Do I have a personal injury case?

In West Virginia, a personal injury claim is based on many different factors, and because every car accident and personal injury claim is unique, we cannot set out specific guidelines that say whether or not you have a case. To better understand the viability of your case, your best option is to speak directly with attorney Charles Love over a free consultation.

3. What is negligence in a car accident case?

As a legal term, negligence refers to when someone fails to exercise care and doesn’t act reasonably under the circumstances. Generally, a person acting in this manner needlessly endangers other individuals. If someone gets injured, then the person acting negligent may be liable for the injured party’s injuries. In a car accident, negligence can range from distracted driving to speeding to DUI.

It is important to note, however, that negligence or wrongdoing is not always necessary in a car accident claim. For example, if the brakes failed while you were driving, the liable party for the accident and your injuries may be the brake manufacturers.

4. What are the other types of personal injury claims in car accident cases?

Negligence and wrongdoing aren’t the only personal injury claims available. Instead, you can also file a car accident claim based on strict liability. This area of tort law has been growing and it is considered important by the American Bar Association. Under West Virginia laws, strict liability means that other individuals can be liable for your injuries, such as designers, sellers, distributors, and manufacturers. Remember, these individuals are liable only if their defective products caused your injuries.

5. How much is my car accident claim worth?

When filing a personal injury claim over the injuries you incurred in a car accident, the courts, insurance adjusters, attorneys, and other individuals take many factors into consideration. Often, the other party’s insurance company may try to settle quickly, and although it may seem advantageous to close the case and get your money, this isn’t recommended. In fact, the other party’s settlement offer will most likely be lower than what you deserve.

Make sure that all medical costs and other financial damages are covered by your personal injury claim, both for now and the future. Your car accident claim should cover the following, but not limited to:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property Damage

Contact the Love Law Firm in Charleston WV Today!

If you have any questions regarding your specific case, or you would like to know more information about personal injury and car accident claims, call one of the leading car accident attorneys in Charleston WV by contacting the Love Law Firm at (304) 344-5683. Free consultations are available.