In West Virginia, it isn’t unusual for the average person to drive or ride in a car every day, or even several times a day. Most of us do so without thinking of the hazards involved in driving. Yet West Virginia is particularly dangerous for drivers, with the highest death rate from accidents out of any state in the U.S.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in or around Beckley, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Through this type of personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your losses, including medical bills, future medical treatment, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, and pain and suffering. A Beckley car accident attorney can help you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we represent injury victims throughout West Virginia who have been hurt in all types of accidents, from car crashes to truck accidents to drunk driving accidents. For each case, our goal is to help our clients get maximum compensation so that they can move forward with their lives. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a Beckley personal injury lawyer.
Types of Auto Accident Cases We Handle
Our law firm has significant experience handling all types of motor vehicle accident claims throughout West Virginia. We have represented clients who have been hurt in:
- T-bone accidents
- Pedestrian knock-downs
- Bike crashes
- Big rig or truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Uber accidents
- Bus accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Texting while driving/distracted driving crashes
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist accidents
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of auto accidents are caused by driver error. Other potential causes of accidents include poor road conditions, bad weather, and intentional conduct such as driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Any car accident has the potential to lead to serious fatal injuries. Common car accident injuries include broken bones, soft tissue damage, traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussions, internal organ damage, cuts and bruises, and spinal cord injuries. In some cases, the injuries may be fatal.
If you have been hurt in a motor vehicle accident in Beckley, our legal team can help. Reach out to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Beckley car accident lawyer.
When Can I File a Lawsuit for a West Virginia Motor Vehicle Accident?
Car accident claims fall into a broad category of law known as personal injury. Generally, these cases are based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. A person may be considered negligent if they fail to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
For example, if a person speeds down a residential street, driving 55 in a 25 mph zone, and strikes a pedestrian as they attempt to cross the street, they may be considered negligent. Similarly, driving too fast for the weather conditions may be negligent if that decision causes a motor vehicle collision.
Some car accident claims involve something more than negligence, however – such as reckless or intentional conduct. A good example of reckless behavior is getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when you are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs (even some prescription medications!). If you cause an accident in these circumstances, you may be held liable for any injuries that occur.
Most personal injury cases begin with a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In this letter, your Beckley personal injury lawyer will explain the facts of the case and the legal reason(s) why their insured is liable for the accident, and then make a demand for compensation (damages). Insurance companies typically respond to demand letters with a counteroffer.
The majority of personal injury claims are resolved outside of court. Most often, your attorney will be able to negotiate a settlement on your behalf. If the insurance company refuses to give you fair compensation for your injuries, however, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and prepare the case for trial so that you get the money that you deserve.
It is important to remember that insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart. The other driver’s insurer is most interested in resolving the claim for as little money as possible – or even denying it entirely. Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer can help you protect yourself from shady insurance company tactics and help you get top dollar for your claim.
Compensation in a Beckley Car Accident Case
In personal injury cases, you may be entitled to two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages and are designed to compensate an injury victim for their losses. Punitive damages have a different goal: to punish a wrongdoer.
Economic damages are exactly what they sound like: money for any direct financial loss that you suffered as a result of the accident. Examples of economic damages include payment for lost wages, reduced earning capacity, property damage, medical bills, and future medical care. You may even be able to recover compensation for related expenses, such as renovations to your home to make it accessible.
Non-economic damages cover a different type of loss – the intangible losses that almost always occur because of motor vehicle collisions. For example, you might experience emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and disfigurement in a car crash. West Virginia law recognizes that these types of losses are just as valid as financial losses – and allows accident victims to make a claim for non-economic damages as a result.
Finally, punitive damages may be possible in limited situations. As explained above, most car accident cases are based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. Punitive damages are reserved for more unusual cases where the at-fault driver acted intentionally or recklessly (such as drunk driving accidents). To discourage other people from doing the same sort of thing and to punish the driver, a court may award punitive damages.
It can be difficult to obtain maximum financial compensation for your losses without the assistance of an experienced Beckley car accident attorney. Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more in personal injury claims compared to people who represent themselves. If you have been involved in a car accident in or around Beckley, reach out to our law offices today to learn more about how we can help.
Hurt in a Car Accident? Give Us a Call.
Motor vehicle accidents can cause devastating, life-changing injuries. After being in a wreck, your main focus will likely be on healing physically and emotionally. Our law firm will take on the insurance company for you so that you can focus on your recovery.
Johnstone & Gabhart is dedicated to helping injury victims get the money that they deserve for their injuries. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation appointment with a Beckley car accident lawyer, give us a call at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.
What Happens If I Was Partially to Blame for My WV Car Accident?
West Virginia follows a modified comparative fault rule. Under this rule, as long as you were 50% or less at fault for an accident, you can still recover financial compensation for your injuries. Your total compensation will then be reduced by the percentage that you were to blame. For example, if you suffered $150,000 in losses in an accident where you were 30% at fault, then your compensation would be reduced by 30% ($50,000) for a total recovery of $100,000.
These cases can be complex, and insurance companies may try to use comparative fault to avoid paying a fair settlement after a car crash. Call Johnstone & Gabhart today to talk to a Beckley car accident lawyer about your claim.
Do I Need a Beckley Car Accident Attorney for a Minor Crash?
It depends. If your accident only involved property damage and no injuries, then it may be possible to handle the claim on your own. But if you suffered any injuries – even minor ones – then it makes sense to talk to a Beckley car accident lawyer. The initial consultation is free, and you can get a better idea of the value of your case and whether you need legal representation.
Remember that the insurance company’s goal is directly opposed to yours: you want maximum compensation, while they want to settle the claim for as little money as possible. If you want to achieve justice and get the money that you deserve, your best option is to work with an attorney. Reach out to Johnstone & Gabhart today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.