West Virginia Truck and Auto Accident Lawyer
West Virginia’s roads can be very dangerous for motorists. Your life can change in a matter of seconds with one wrong decision by another driver.
In 2018, there were 298 motor vehicle fatalities, with 61% of those on the state’s many rural roads. The aftermath of an accident has multiple moving parts—doctor visits, filing insurance claims, taking time off work, car repairs, and dealing with adjusters and other pertinent tasks.
With all that going on, finding an accident attorney sounds like “one more thing to do.”
Don’t think of it like that. Think of finding and hiring a Charleston accident lawyer as bringing in help when you need it the most.
Most people don’t have car accidents very often, and may not know what to do when it happens. Even if you’ve experienced more than one, you may still be at a disadvantage. You may not know what to do in the aftermath, or how to handle everything. Unfortunately, you may not know whether the insurance company is trying to get away with paying you much less than the value of your case.
Car accidents are complicated legal matters. If you are trying to heal from your injuries, dealing with an insurance company that wants you to go away or give you a fraction of the damages you deserve isn’t going to help.
Having The Love Law Firm in your corner means you can take care of yourself while we take care of your accident case. It won’t help your injuries heal faster, but you can concentrate on taking care of yourself. You’ll feel better knowing there is someone on your side who is looking out for your best interests—not the other guy’s.
What To Do If You’re Involved In A Car Accident
It’s important to keep a clear head in the immediate aftermath of a crash. What you do right now can have a major impact on the outcome of a personal injury case that comes out of the accident.
Should you find yourself in this situation, take these steps.
- If you or any passengers are seriously injured, call 911 immediately and get medical attention.
- If you’re able, take pictures of the accident scene and they quickly move the vehicles out of the lanes of traffic. Staying in place increases the chances of a subsequent accident.
- Get contact information from the other party and any witnesses at the scene
- Make NO statements that could be considered an admission of fault, such as, “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you.” Avoid speaking with the other party and their passengers except for essential conversation such as asking if anyone is injured and getting contact information.
- Because an accident has just happened, you will not know all the facts of the case until there is an investigation. Anything that sounds like admitting fault can sink your case before all the facts are known.
- Make note of any other important information regarding the accident, whether on paper, in your phone or in an online document (such as in Google Docs.)
- Use your phone and take photographs of:
- Your vehicle
- The other vehicle(s)
- Damages to both vehicles
- Damage to any property as a result of the accident (i.e., smartphone, laptop, glasses, watch, etc.)
- The other driver’s insurance information
- Contact the local police department to file an accident report and make a statement
- Get the names and divisions of all the police officers who respond and add it to your accident documentation
- Notify your insurance company of your accident, regardless of fault
- Seek medical care if you or your passengers experience minor injuries
- Obtain a copy of the accident report from the police department that responded. Call a few days after the accident, or, if the officer gave you a card with a number, you may be able to access it online.
- If your accident was handled by the West Virginia State Police, you can file a written request with the state.
- Contact an attorney that handles car accidents before speaking with the other party’s insurer, one that you can trust. They can acquire the police report as part of evidence gathering. The attorney can work with you through the next steps and make sure your rights are protected.
- Make sure to keep any and all receipts for expenses you incur as a result of the accident, including medical and hospital expenses, repair bills, and anything else that’s accident-related.
Finding an accident attorney can make a difficult and exhausting process considerably easier while you heal. Letting a Charleston accident attorney handle your claim allows you to hand the matter to an expert.
What NOT To Do
Again, avoid saying anything to the other party that could be taken as an admission of fault. Have little to no interaction with the other party at the scene of the accident to avoid a slip.
Many people like to post highlights of their life on social media. From a baby’s first steps or a child’s first day at school to last night’s dinner at a fabulous restaurant, social media has a wide range of people’s lives listed for the world to see.
If you’re one of those people, the first thing you need to do is STOP posting on social media. Don’t post:
- Anything about the accident
- Your injuries
- Your vehicles
- Your lawyer
- Your case
- Anything else accident-related
- Pictures from vacation or other activities
- Comments or statements about much of your life
After the accident occurs, anything you say or do can be used to defeat your case. This includes phone calls with anyone, including the insurance adjusters, as well as anything online.
Once you post on social media, it’s literally available for anyone to see—including the other party’s insurance company. Even if you’ve set your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other profile to “private,” it’s still possible for anyone to see it. This includes being tagged in someone else’s pictures or posts, who might be newly friended with the adjuster.
If you have a blog, it’s also important to keep on topic and never say anything about the accident, no matter what the topic. It will be found.
Also important is to limit what you disclose to others. It’s not unheard of for relatives and friends to comment on social media about your accident, where it can be seen. The less you say about your accident, the better.
Personal Injury Lawsuits After A Car Accident
When an insurance company fails to cover your accident and the ensuing expenses, don’t just give up. Before you do anything, or say anything to anyone, speak to a Charleston car accident attorney first.
Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your team means that you don’t have to negotiate with the insurance company yourself. Instead of intimidating tactics intended to make you take less money or none at all, an attorney handles the negotiations with the understanding of how the law works and, more importantly, how the insurers work.
If negotiations stall, and your lawyer has exhausted the options, a lawsuit may be the next step to get your compensation.
Lawsuits For Wrongful Death
If a person succumbs to their injuries, they are unable to file a suit to recover damages. However, the family left behind can file a “wrongful death” lawsuit. This is a personal injury suit on behalf of the deceased, and allows survivors to recover damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages
- Other final expenses on behalf of the deceased
Losing a loved one—especially a head of household—is financially devastating for a family who depends on that family member for support. Money doesn’t replace or bring back your loved one. But recovering compensation for the loss can help ease the burden of losing your loved one and the financial support they provided.
Types Of Car Accidents And Causes
Most car accidents are the result of a poor decision by another driver. This means that as an accident victim, you’re the one who suffers as a result of their mistake.
These are the most common types of accidents:
- Rear-end collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Single-vehicle accidents
- Accidents with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists
- Accidents with commercial (big) trucks
- Road hazards
- Accidents caused by vehicle defects
When an irresponsible driver causes an accident, he or she is responsible for paying for the expenses you and your family must bear as a result of that negligence. Other forms of negligence may also be the cause of an accident.
Common Injuries Resulting From Car Accidents
The violent nature of a vehicular accident can result in a wide range of injuries, including:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Lacerations and broken bones
- Neck and spinal injuries
- Chest trauma
- Abdominal injuries
- Damage to extremities—arm, hand, and wrist, leg, knee and foot injuries
Serious injuries can lead to long periods of recuperation, loss of income, long-term or permanent disability, and in some cases, death.
Expenses related to accident-related injuries require long-term medical care, and possibly adaptive technology (such as a prosthesis, vehicle modifications or a wheelchair.) That’s why it’s important to make sure your settlement is fair, not the small amount an insurance company talks you into taking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
These are just a few of the many questions we get on a regular basis at The Love Law Firm. We’ll be happy to answer yours as well.
Q: The insurance company has called and offered me money to settle my case quickly. But I don’t know if that’s going to be enough money. I haven’t received all the hospital and repair bills, and I’m still seeing a doctor. Do I have to take what they’re offering?
A: No—absolutely not! By talking you into a quick, cheap settlement, they know that once you accept that settlement, you can’t get anything else out of them. That’s why they’re pressuring you to take what you can get and go. If you do, you’ll sign away your rights to a bigger settlement. Without enough money, you could be left with thousands of dollars in expenses that you can’t pay, which could mean financial ruin and bankruptcy. Don’t do it! Talk to a car accident attorney before you do anything, and definitely before you speak to them.
Q: I’ve been unemployed since my accident. How can I afford to hire an attorney?
Many accident attorneys offer what’s called a “contingency fee arrangement,” meaning that they recover fees when they are able to collect a settlement for you. Each attorney has their own type of arrangement, so it’s important to make sure you understand how theirs works before signing up with them. But in many cases, it means you can hire an attorney with no out-of-pocket expenses.
The Love Law Firm Handles All Types Of Car And Truck Accidents
If you’ve been in any kind of accident or lost a loved one to a car crash, speak to the experienced accident attorneys at The Love Law Firm. We can investigate your case, determine who might be liable for damages, and fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation we can. Chad Love has been representing West Virginia accident victims for more than 23 years. Our contingency fee arrangements mean that you’ll only owe a fee when we win your case.