West Virginia Truck and Auto Accident Lawyer
A Charleston, WV Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), West Virginia may be one of the nation’s most dangerous places to drive. With nearly 17 fatalities per 100,000 people in 2010, (which statistically means nearly 9 deceased friends and neighbors, if you live in Charleston), our state makes the sobering Top 10 list for traffic fatalities.
Even if you haven’t experienced the death of a loved one in a car crash, you or someone close to you has likely experienced the aftermath of a car accident, such as a head, neck, face, or back injury. Common maladies range from relatively mild damage, such as cuts, bruises, and mild whiplash, to significant trauma, such as disk, nerve, and brain damage. Psychological injuries may also occur, with symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.
If you have been injured in a crash and the other driver is found to be at fault, their insurance company is required to compensate you for damages related to your injury. A petition for such compensation is known as a “personal injury claim.” However, some insurance companies, in an attempt to minimize their losses, may not offer you the amount you deserve. In cases like this, a personal injury attorney can help.
Do I Need A Personal Injury Attorney?
If your injuries are minor and the at-fault driver’s insurance company has offered you what you think is a fair and comprehensive settlement, you do not need a personal injury lawyer. In cases such as these, the cost of hiring an attorney far exceeds the increase in your settlement. However, if any of the following are true, an attorney may be a valuable and profitable asset:
- It is not clear who was at fault or how much each party was at fault
West Virginia is an at-fault state, which means the driver who carries the most responsibility for the accident has the obligation to pay the victim for damages. However, it’s not always clear who is most at fault. According to West Virginia’s Modified Comparative Fault System, you must bear 49% of the fault or less in order to submit a claim. If you are 50% at fault, you are not eligible to recover any compensation for damages. Your recovery may also be reduced according to the amount of fault assigned to you. Therefore, it’s important to have legal representation if you feel that fault has been inappropriately assigned.
- You have serious injuries that may have long-term effects
Some injuries will continue to cause you to incur expenses throughout your life, such as those causing a permanent injury, weakness, or disability. If this is the case, you may be eligible for compensation that exceeds your immediate medical expenses and which also takes into consideration your future expenses.
- The at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured
All drivers carrying a West Virginia license are required to carry a minimum of $20,000 per person in bodily injury liability (with a maximum payout of $40,000 per accident), $10,000 in property damage liability. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or your medical or property damage exceeds the amount their insurance company will pay, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.
- The insurance company is pressuring you to accept a lower settlement than you deserve
In order to minimize their losses, some insurance companies attempt to pressure you into a fast, but unfavorable settlement. If you feel you’re not being fairly compensated or if the settlement does not cover your medical needs, an attorney can serve as an arbiter to get you the full amount to which you are entitled.
- It is nearing the end of the statute of limitations
In West Virginia, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you have unsuccessfully tried to work with the insurance company yourself but have not reached an acceptable settlement and you believe you may not be able to resolve the issue by the end of the statute of limitations, it may be time to hire an attorney who can resolve the process for you.
For What Compensation Might I Be Eligible?
In addition to covering your medical expenses, the at-fault driver might also owe you for
- income lost as a direct result of your injuries
- property inside the vehicle that was damaged during the accident,
- pain and suffering from ongoing physical trauma
- emotional distress from ongoing psychological trauma
- loss of enjoyment, if your injuries have prevented you from engaging in an important hobby or day-to-day activity
- loss of consortium, if your injuries have impaired your relationship with your spouse
If you feel that you have a case and have questions, call us today for a confidential and FREE consultation.
You can reach us at (304) 344 5683, e-mail or by filling out our online form by clicking here.