West Virginia Car Accident Lawyers
Protecting Car Crash Victims in West Virginia
After a car accident, many people make the mistake of contacting an insurance company immediately in order to file a personal injury claim, or answering questions from an insurance adjuster. They fail to realize that most insurance companies look after their own financial interests, so they will attempt to minimize the compensation a person is entitled to.
If you are considering filing an injury claim, there are several factors to consider:
- First, the other insurance company does not represent you, it represents the individual who caused the accident
- Second, the insurance company may offer you less than you deserve
- Lastly, a claims adjuster may convince you to sign a settlement to limit compensation
Don't let insurance companies bully you! You need an advocate you can trust. Turn to Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC at this time.
Car Insurance Laws in West Virginia: an Overview
West Virginia is a fault-based state in regards to car accidents, meaning that the person or persons who cause an accident are financially responsible for the resulting damages. Because it is a fault-based state, every driver is required to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage to lawfully operate a motor vehicle on the state's roadways.
In West Virginia, auto insurance minimums are as follows:
- $20,000 in bodily injury insurance per person, per accident
- $50,000 in bodily injury insurance per accident, for all persons
- $25,000 in property damage liability protection
- $25,000/$50,000 uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $25,000 uninsured and underinsured motorist property damage
Auto insurance policies are designed to pay for victims' damages after an accident up to the policy's maximum. Drivers may purchase additional coverage to protect themselves or others if they wish. Additionally, West Virginia drivers may opt-out of purchasing underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage in writing, though this can expose them to financial liability in the event of a collision.
Have you been involved in an accident?
If you are involved in a car accident you need legal representation with experience in handling these types of cases. The West Virginia auto accident lawyers at Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC have 40 years of experience fighting for the compensation and support that injury victims deserve.
After a car accident, there are steps to take to better your opportunity for compensation:
- Call the police and make sure your story is in the report
- Seek medical attention for injuries and keep records
- Take pictures of the accident, vehicles, and damages
- Call a skilled auto accident lawyer from the firm
When you are trying to heal from auto accident injuries you need the best possible legal guidance. Let our firm handle the paperwork and negotiations while you focus on recovering. Call us today if you have been involved in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver in West Virginia.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
- First and foremost, call your insurance company and inform them that you have been involved in a car accident. Without admitting any guilt or responsibility, calling your insurance company and giving them your recorded statement will initiate the claim and investigation process.
- If you have sustained serious injuries in an accident, the firm advises you to consult with legal counsel at the firm prior to making a statement. This will help increase the possibility that you will recover the maximum compensation.
- Seek medical care or emergency treatment at once. Injuries that appear to be minor must be evaluated by a physician, as there are several very serious injuries, including closed head injuries that could be fatal if not treated immediately.
- If possible, take photos and thoroughly document the scene of the accident. Exchange contact information, and get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses if you are able.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
- Don't provide a recorded statement to the responsible party's insurance company. Any information you provide may be used to deny or challenge your claim.
- Don't wait days or weeks to seek medical treatment. Full documentation of the injuries is a vital factor in the success of Insurance Disputes and lawsuits.
- Don't send medical bills to the insurance adjuster on your case. Your attorney will need your medical bills and other accident-related receipts to help you provide an accurate total for your claim.
- No matter what the other driver's insurance company may tell you, don't give them access to your medical records. Once you give your authorization they will have access to your records thereafter. They do not need direct access to process your claim, and this aspect of the case must be managed carefully by your attorney.
- Don't ever agree to a settlement offer or accept and deposit payment from your insurance company, or the other driver's insurance company, without first consulting with an attorney.
- Don't hire a lawyer or medical professional who has sought you out after an accident.
- Finally, don't expect that your claim or lawsuit will make you wealthy. Claims from an accident are calculated based upon the injuries, pain and suffering, loss of income, and other damages. A lawyer from the firm will carefully value your case, based upon the degree of the injuries, the long term impact on your life and finances, and the emotional anguish and pain and suffering you have experienced, as well as other estimated losses.
What are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in West Virginia?
The leading causes of car accidents are negligent and reckless driving conduct by another vehicle operator. There are a number of manifestations of negligent, dangerous, or reckless driving, including:
- Distracted driving: driving while distracted is the number one cause of all car accidents. Many lives could have been saved and much pain prevented had drivers simply exercised reasonable care for the safety of others. Texting, talking on a cell phone, reading, putting on makeup, or simply not paying attention to the road ahead leads to thousands of injury accidents every year.
- Speeding: sadly, speeding is still a leading cause of car accidents. The faster a car is moving, the higher the level of impact and the greater the potential for damage and physical injury. Aggressive drivers that take risks endanger all others that are sharing the street, road, or highway.
- Drunk driving: a driver under the influence is far more likely to speed and operate a vehicle in a dangerous manner, swerving, wrong-way driving, and other dangerous conduct that often leads to severe injuries or fatalities. Drunk driving accidents continue to be a serious problem in West Virginia.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can lead to severe injuries to any part of your body. These injuries can range from minor to life-altering, causing some long-term pain and suffering.
The following are common injuries that occur in accidents:
- Broken bones
- Burns and lacerations
- Neck and back injuries
- Head injuries and concussions
It may be difficult to prove that the other driver's negligence was responsible for your injuries and suffering; however, with a seasoned legal advocate by your side, you can be confident that your car accident case will be handled effectively.
How Much Is Your Car Accident Case Worth?
Our attorneys are often asked by clients what their car accident case is worth due to the financial burden that a sudden crash can cause. While it is impossible to predict the exact value of your case, the money you receive for your car accident claim will depend on factors such as the extent of your injuries, the cost of your medical treatments, the level of negligence of the at-fault driver, the amount of time you are forced to miss work, and the level of insurance coverage available.
Under West Virginia's personal injury laws, you may be entitled to recover compensation for a wide range of damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and other income
- Vehicle damage
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of household services
- Punitive damages
West Virginia Car Accident Statute of Limitations
Like any other type of personal injury claim, car accident injury claims are subject to a "statute of limitations" which places a set deadline on how long you have to take legal action. Under West Virginia Code section 55-2-12, you have two years from the date of your crash to file a personal injury or property damage lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Wrongful death claims related to car accidents must be filed within two years of the deceased person's death. If this window of time expires, you will be permanently barred from seeking compensation.
Insurance claims from car accidents have much tighter deadlines and must be filed with a few days of your accident in order to be valid. Our attorneys can help you meet all applicable legal deadlines and advise you on the most appropriate course of action, whether it be negotiating an insurance settlement or pursuing litigation.
Searching for legal counsel?
The Fitzsimmons Law Firm PLLC has represented countless individuals in auto accident cases. They have obtained very successful results in a number of these cases, including many successful jury verdicts. Their attorney team will work with focus and commitment in your car accident case. Your future health and well-being can be greatly affected by your access to quality medical care and treatment. It is crucial that you have quality legal representation to address the issue of compensation.
If you have been in a car accident, contact a West Virginia car accident lawyer who can file an injury claim on your behalf.