Car Accident Attorney in Wheeling, West Virginia
If you’ve caused personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death due to a traffic incident, it’s good to understand your legal obligations.
Dealing with a car accident case can be a major pain in the neck. You can, however, hire a car accident attorney in West Virginia to help you ease the trouble.
We will tell you everything you need to know about relevant car accident laws that govern vehicular incidents and why hiring a car accident lawyer is essential. We’ll also explain the different legal obligations drivers have when it comes to dealing with a car crash and filing a car accident lawsuit.
So, without further ado, let’s start with the primary reason you need your car accident lawyer’s help.
To Help You Understand Car Accident Statutes
Let’s say you’ve been involved in a car crash incident in West Virginia. If you’ve been injured, you’re entitled to seek fair compensation from a negligent motorist whether you were walking, riding, or driving another vehicle.
These damages will allow you to pay for your medical bills and support any accident reconstruction efforts.
But if you’re the one who caused the injury, damage, or wrongful death, you might want to gather all your legal knowledge about insurance claims and personal injuries. You might also want to run to the nearest law firm to receive legal advice.
Regardless of your situation, the chances are that you may not know what exact car accident law pertains to your specific case. Since laws for car accidents vary in every state in the US, it pays off to consult your car accident lawyer to learn these differences.
West Virginia is a “fault state,” meaning it uses an at-fault system to assign or define responsibility to the parties involved in an incident. In at-fault states, the person causing an automobile accident is at-fault, therefore, held liable, or responsible for the damages, inflicted on the other party.
Comparative Negligence In West Virginia Car Accident Cases
What you’ve seen above is a concrete application of a comparative fault legal principle.
Based on the West Virginia Code (Section 55-7-13c), the state must follow a modified comparative negligence rule, which implies that “each defendant shall be liable only for the costs of compensatory damages allocated to that defendant.” And it should be in direct proportion to that defendant’s “percentage of fault.”
In other words, the rule allocates liability between parties involved in car accidents. It also allows a defendant to raise a partial defense, raising the plaintiff’s possible negligence that caused such an incident.
Different states have adopted various comparative negligence rules. And some have used a form of the two rules described below:
- Pure comparative – auto accident victims can recover some reward for their injuries despite their negligence and even if their degree of blame is higher than the defendant.
- Modified comparative – a plaintiff’s or a car accident victim’s recovery can be limited if his or her fault exceeds a certain degree. (e.g., a victim can only recover damages if his or her liability is less than that of the defendant.
Nevertheless, dealing with defenses and liability allocations shouldn’t be a hassle if you seek assistance from the most experienced personal injury lawyers. With their expertise, the chances of winning your case elevate and will help you know if you’re being assigned a fair and just responsibility.
To Assist You With Personal Injury or Insurance Claims
Moving on from an auto accident would be an uphill battle if you can’t proceed with settling a vehicle damage or injury claim against the other driver.
In an adverse circumstance, you might even suffer from serious injuries and the legal issues might become more complicated.
That’s why it’s crucial to let your legal counsel deal with law enforcers or insurance companies to ensure you’re starting on the right foot.
Now, let’s talk about automobile accident claims and how your lawyer can give you the upper hand in getting the most out of your settlement.
How To Value Car Accident Claims In West Virginia
Before you can file an auto accident claim, it’s important to ask what your case is worth. The answer boils down to the damages you suffered.
For a personal injury case, the person who is found liable for the accident-whether the defendant or his or her insurance company-is expected to pay damages to the injured party.
The personal injury law in West Virginia classifies damages as “compensatory,” meaning they’re intended to compensate the injured party for what was damaged or lost due to the car accident injury.
Compensatory damages that are common in many personal injuries include:
- Medical treatment – the cost or amount of medical bills associated with the accident
- Income – claim for an accident’s impact on one’s salary or wages
- Pain and suffering – payment for pain or ongoing suffering caused by a vehicle accident
- Emotional distress – damages meant to compensate for the psychological impact of an injury
- Damage to property – reimbursement for repairs, reconstruction, or compensation for the fair market value of the property that was damaged or lost
- Loss of enjoyment – compensation for a sudden loss of day-to-day pursuit of enjoyment or happiness (e.g., hobbies, exercise, and recreational activities)
- Loss of consortium – damage that relates to a catastrophic injury caused to one’s relationship (e.g., loss of companionship or the inability to maintain a sexual relationship)
In most cases, a car accident claim can be agreed upon after a negotiated settlement between the parties involved in a vehicle accident.
Keep in mind, though, that state laws can limit your rights to bring a personal injury lawsuit to court. These statutes can also reduce the amount of car accident claims you can recover from a vehicular accident-related complaint.
As mentioned earlier, West Virginia law follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means any damages to be recovered by the plaintiff will be reduced according to his or her share of negligence.
This share of liability must not be greater than the combined fault of all other persons responsible for the total amount of damages.
So, if you’re more than 50 % at fault, you can’t receive any compensation in court.
Remember that there are no empirical means of allocating and assigning liability will come down to your ability to persuade a judge or jury. Here’s where your attorney can come in and build a strong case for you.
West Virginia Car Accident Insurance Guidelines
Since West Virginia is not a no-fault state, its car insurance system works differently. Suppose you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident in West Virginia and decided to file for a car insurance benefit. In that case, you may be required to present evidence proving that the other driver was indeed liable.
Unlike in a no-fault state, you can expect an insurance payout for auto repairs and injuries after a crash regardless of who was at fault.
Now, when getting a car insurance claim in West Virginia, your car accident lawyer can guide you when it comes to:
- Knowing car insurance claim filing deadlines
- Filing a claim with your insurance company
- Negotiating with your company regarding the amount of settlement
It’s important to note that car insurance companies may try to deny your car accident claim or pay you less than your claim is worth. They may even offer you a quick settlement hoping that you’ll accept it and let them go off the hook.
Fortunately, your lawyer knows what needs to be done to help you increase your chances of taking what you deserve. If ever your claim gets denied, a car accident lawyer will always be at your defense until the end.
Seek legal advice through our car accident lawyers now!
Let’s face it. When bad luck hits and events such as car accidents happen, there’s no getting around the fact that we have an obligation to deal with its aftermath and get along with life.
Moving on might be as difficult as dealing with your legal responsibilities. But it shouldn’t bring your hopes down knowing you have people or experts to stand with you along the way.
If you’ve been caught in a car accident in West Virginia and plan to visit a law firm soon, seek advice from our car accident lawyers at Thomas E. McIntire & Associates, L.C.
With our experience and tested legal gravitas, we’ll help you navigate through the unforgiving path toward gaining recovery.
Get high-quality legal guidance from our personal injury lawyers now!