Each day, tens of thousands of Americans suffer accidental or unintended injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are a leading cause of doctor’s office and emergency department visits across the United States. Here in West Virginia, hundreds of people are injured in accidents daily.
In many situations, these accidents are no one’s fault – they’re just bad luck. But if someone else caused you to be hurt, then you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for your losses. With the help of an experienced Huntington, WV personal injury attorney, you could recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of enjoyment of life, and other losses.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we take a proactive approach to personal injury claims. We thoroughly investigate each case and research WV law to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome – whether that means a fair settlement or a verdict at trial. Our law firm offers free initial consultations, and we never charge a fee unless we get money for you.
Can I Get Compensation for My Injuries?
If you have been injured by something that someone else did – or failed to do – then you may be able to file a claim against that person and/or their insurance company. These types of cases are broadly known as personal injury lawsuits. Most frequently, they are based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure of a person to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation.
There are a number of ways to prove negligence, depending on the facts of your personal injury claim. For example, in a medical malpractice lawsuit, your personal injury lawyer may introduce evidence to show that your doctor did not meet the standard of care for the profession. In a slip and fall (premises liability) case, they might prove that the property owner knew about a dangerous condition on their property – and failed to fix it or warn you about it.
If you can prove that the other party was negligent in some way, then you might be entitled to damages. In most cases, you will be limited to compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate an injury victim for their losses. There are two types of compensatory damages: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are designed to address direct financial losses. Examples of economic damages include medical expenses, future medical treatment, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and property damage. It is often fairly simple to prove economic damages through pay stubs, invoices, bills, and estimates.
Non-economic damages are meant to compensate an accident victim for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, disfigurement, or loss of consortium. These damages can be much harder to prove. A seasoned personal injury law firm will use their knowledge of similar cases and consultations with experts to come up with an estimate for non-economic damages.
In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages, which are meant to penalize someone who acted intentionally or recklessly. For example, if you are injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be awarded punitive damages. In West Virginia, punitive damages are capped at four times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Most personal injury claims are resolved through a settlement. However, if the negligent party’s insurance company refuses to offer you fair compensation, then your attorney may advise you that the best course of action is to file a lawsuit and take the case to trial. In court, your lawyer will present evidence, make arguments, and ask the jury to find in your favor.
Why Should I Hire a Local Attorney?
If you are injured in Huntington, West Virginia, you may not know where to turn for help. After all, most people are fortunate enough to not need legal advice on a regular basis – which can make it hard to find skilled legal representation after an accident.
There are a number of factors that you should analyze when hiring a personal injury attorney, such as their specific experience with your legal issues and a track record of success. When making a decision on who to hire, make sure to focus on local law firms who know the area and the court system.
While it is possible for a lawyer from outside of the area – or even someone from another state – to represent you, it usually isn’t a great option. West Virginia, like all states, has its own laws that govern personal injury lawsuits. Local courts also have their own rules and procedures. Hiring a local lawyer ensures that no time will be wasted getting up to speed on state and local laws and policies.
A Huntington, WV personal injury lawyer will also be familiar with local police, judges, and other attorneys. They may even be familiar with the at-fault party’s insurance company or have a relationship with the insurance adjuster handling your personal injury claim. This can make the process much smoother – and make it that much easier for you to get the compensation that you deserve.
If your case goes to trial, a local attorney will also be able to connect with the judge and jury in a way that someone from outside of the area simply won’t be able to do. Hiring a lawyer from the area may offer a number of other benefits, including:
- Familiarity with local roads and common crash sites, for motor vehicle accident cases;
- Understanding of local costs for things like medical treatment;
- Ability to recommend nearby services;
- Access to local experts; and
- Ability to obtain witness statements and other sources of evidence.
The legal team of Johnstone & Gabhart has decades of combined experience representing individuals in West Virginia, including in Huntington. We are lifelong or long-term residents of the Mountain State, dedicated to helping fellow West Virginians who have been injured in all types of accidents. When you hire our law firm, you are getting top-notch legal representation from a law firm based right here in West Virginia.
Will My Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?
According to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, just 3% of all personal injury claims go to trial. If you have filed a personal injury lawsuit, the most likely outcome is that it will settle before going to trial.
However, each case is unique. There may be situations where your Huntington, WV personal injury lawyer recommends filing a lawsuit and asking a jury to return a verdict in your favor. If the insurance company refuses to offer you fair compensation, this may be the best option to achieve a favorable outcome for your case.
Do I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
To have a valid personal injury claim, you must have suffered an injury due to the negligence or misconduct of someone else (including corporations, organizations, and government agencies). The negligent party, usually through their insurance company, may be held financially responsible for any losses that you suffered.
Personal injury cases can be complex. The best way to determine if you have a viable claim is to schedule a free consultation with a Huntington, WV personal injury lawyer. During this appointment, you can tell your story and get advice on your legal rights and options.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
In West Virginia, the general rule for personal injury claims is that the injured party (plaintiff) should recover enough money from the at-fault party (defendant) to make them whole. Depending on the type of injuries that you suffered, this may not be possible. However, the compensation that you recover should put you as close as possible to the position that you were in before the accident.
Several factors influence the value of your case, including the severity of your injuries, whether you are likely to recover, and how much insurance coverage the defendant has. A seasoned Huntington, WV personal injury attorney can give you a ballpark estimate of the value of your case during a free consultation.
How We Can Help
If you have been hurt in any type of accident, our law offices are here for you. We will stand by your side throughout the process, from filing an initial insurance claim to presenting your case to the jury. Our goal with each of our clients is to help them achieve justice.
Johnstone & Gabhart offers free initial consultations and handles all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we will never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Huntington, WV personal injury attorney, call our law firm at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.