West Virginia is one of the deadliest places to drive in the United States. In comparison to the other states, WV has one of the highest fatality rates in the county, with 1.35 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. In 2015, 341 West Virginians died in motor vehicle accidents, while 292 people were hospitalized after car crashes.
If you have been injured in a Huntington, WV automobile accident, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, property damage, and other losses. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help you with the process.
With more than 50 years of combined experience, Johnstone & Gabhart is dedicated to helping injury victims get the compensation that they deserve. We handle all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a Huntington, WV car accident attorney.
Can I Sue for My Huntington Car Accident?
Car accident claims fall under the broad category of personal injury law. Most of these cases are based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure to use the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. A driver can be negligent in any number of ways, from texting while driving to drunk driving to running a stop sign or a red light.
To prove that the other driver was negligent, you will need to demonstrate four things:
- Duty: you will have to prove that the other driver owed you – and others on the road – a duty of care to drive safely.
- Breach: you must show that they violated (breached) that duty in some way.
- Causation: you will have to demonstrate that this violation was the cause of your injuries. For example, if the other party was looking at their phone and rear-ended you, that may be sufficient to show causation.
- Damages: you will have to show that you suffered damages, or losses, as a result.
If you can introduce evidence of these four elements, you will be able to file a claim against the negligent party and their insurance company for all of your damages. A skilled personal injury lawyer can work with you to develop evidence to prove negligence.
In a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to recover three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate you for specific losses, like medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages. By contrast, non-economic damages are intended to cover intangible losses, like pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, and emotional distress.
Punitive damages are available in rare cases where a driver acted intentionally or recklessly. The goal of punitive damages is to punish a wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. You may be awarded punitive damages in an auto accident case involving a drunk driver or someone who was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash.
Most personal injury cases – including accident claims – are resolved without ever having to go to trial. The key to getting a fair settlement is to work with a law firm that has significant experience handling these types of cases. A lawyer’s negotiation and litigation skills can be used to convince the insurance company that a settlement is a better option than taking the case to court.
Why Should I Hire Johnstone & Gabhart?
After an accident, you may be overwhelmed by physical pain, lingering trauma, and financial stress from being out of work and having mounting medical bills. It may be difficult to even think about pursuing an accident claim – particularly if an insurance adjuster is offering to settle the case for you.
While it may be tempting to take the first settlement that the insurer offers, it is often a mistake. Working with a highly skilled personal injury law firm, such as Johnstone & Gabhart, is the key to recovering the highest level of financial compensation possible.
Based in Charleston, our law office represents clients throughout West Virginia on a variety of personal injury matters. We take an aggressive approach to accident cases. When you hire our firm, we immediately get to work – investigating the facts of the case, gathering evidence such as witness statements and police reports, and researching West Virginia law.
Our team takes a hands-on approach to personal injury claims. We don’t sit back and wait for the insurance company to make an offer. Instead, we use our discovery, investigation, negotiation, and litigation expertise to help our clients obtain justice.
While we know that getting monetary compensation is important to our clients, we understand that accident victims also want the at-fault party to be held accountable for their negligence. For each of our clients, we work hard to help them get fair compensation and a sense that they have been heard. We strive to ensure that every aspect of their recovery is addressed, from the need for future medical care to addressing quality of life issues.
Our law firm handles all personal injury cases on a contingency fee. With this type of arrangement, you don’t pay anything upfront. We only get paid if you do – which means that you can afford high-quality legal representation regardless of your current financial situation.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Accident?
Even if you were somewhat responsible for a motor vehicle accident, you may still be able to recover financial compensation. Under West Virginia’s comparative negligence laws, if you were 50% or less at fault, you can still file an accident claim. Your total recovery will then be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault.
Comparative negligence cases can be complicated, and require an in-depth understanding of West Virginia law. If you have been hurt in a car crash, reach out to a Huntington, WV car accident lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Case?
The timeline for each personal injury case is different. After an accident, you should seek medical care and then schedule an appointment with a Huntington car accident attorney. Your lawyer will help you with the next phase of the process: filing an insurance claim and negotiating a settlement.
In most cases, the insurance company will settle the claim. If the insurer refuses to offer fair compensation, then your lawyer may advise that it is necessary to file a lawsuit. This can extend your case timeline significantly, but it may be the best way to get the money that you deserve for your injuries.
When Should I Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
The statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in West Virginia is 2 years. This means that, with a few exceptions, you must file a lawsuit within 2 years of the date of your accident. If you fail to do so, then your claim may be barred.
Talking to a Hungtington, WV car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision can help you avoid this outcome. It will also give your attorney the opportunity to gather evidence while it is still available – and witness memories are fresh. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
Fighting for Accident Victims
We know that you have a lot of choices when it comes to hiring an attorney for your personal injury claim. Our law firm is different. We understand that being in an accident can be incredibly traumatic, and are here to support you.
Johnstone & Gabhart represents injury victims in Huntington, WV and beyond. We are zealous advocates for our clients, using our experience to help them get maximum compensation for their losses. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, give us a call at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.