At some point in your life, you have probably had an accidental injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are responsible for almost 50 million doctor’s office and emergency department visits each year. In many cases, these accidents are just a matter of bad luck or clumsiness.
However, if your injury was caused by another person, you may be able to bring a claim against them. Through a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover money for your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and more. An experienced Logan personal injury attorney can help you get the financial compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Johnstone & Gabhart advocate for injury victims throughout West Virginia who have been hurt in all types of accidents. We have substantial skills in helping our clients get top dollar for their losses. Reach out to our law firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury claim is any type of case where one person was hurt because of something that another person either did or failed to do. Under West Virginia law, the at-fault party may be liable for any losses that the injured person suffered. These claims may also be referred to as “torts.”
Personal injury lawsuits are usually based on a theory of negligence, which is a legal term that essentially means carelessness. A person is 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 reasonable person would stop at a stop sign (as required by West Virginia law), then a person who runs the stop sign and causes a crash would be considered negligent.
In some cases, the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly. If a person was hurt by this type of conduct – such as in a nursing home abuse case – then they can file a lawsuit for their injuries. The injury victim can still seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim even if the at-fault party has not been charged with a crime.
Our law offices handle a range of personal injury claims, including:
- Car accidents
- Dog bites
- Bus accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck crashes
- Slip and fall (premises liability)
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dangerous and defective products (product liability)
- Bike accidents
- Wrongful death
- Drunk driving accidents
- Distracted driving crashes
- Uber or rideshare accidents
- Construction accidents
While we cannot guarantee a particular outcome, our personal injury attorneys have a strong track record of success. We work hard to help our clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case.
The Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
Personal injury cases typically begin with a free initial consultation. During this appointment, you will have an opportunity to tell your story. Your lawyer will then offer you legal advice about your rights and options for pursuing a claim.
If you decide to move forward, then your attorney will begin by investigating the underlying facts of the claim. This may include interviewing witnesses, reviewing accident reports and photos and videos of the scene, talking to expert witnesses, and gathering medical records. At the same time, your legal team will research relevant West Virginia law.
The next step is to send what is known as a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company. A demand letter explains the facts of the case, and the legal reasons why the insured is responsible, and then makes a demand for compensation (damages).
Insurance companies usually respond to demand letters with a counteroffer. The two sides will go back and forth in an attempt to negotiate a settlement. If they can’t come to an agreement, then it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to continue the negotiations.
In West Virginia, there is a 2-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims. With a few exceptions, this means that you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, or you will risk having your case dismissed. Even if your case never goes to trial, your Logan personal injury lawyer may still advise you that it is necessary to file a formal lawsuit to preserve your rights.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the parties exchange information in a process known as discovery. This additional information can often help move the negotiations forward. However, if the insurance company refuses to offer you a fair settlement, then your case may go to trial.
The majority of personal injury claims are resolved outside of the courtroom. Your lawyer may even be able to reach a settlement on the eve of trial. If that isn’t possible, then your attorney will make arguments, question witnesses, and present evidence before asking a jury to return a verdict in your favor.
A settlement or verdict in a personal injury case will typically include compensation for all of your losses. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to money for:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Funeral and burial expenses (in a wrongful death case)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. Because punitive damages are meant to punish a wrongdoer instead of compensating an injury victim they are only available in cases where the at-fault party acted intentionally or recklessly. For example, if a drunk driver smashed into your vehicle, you may be able to seek punitive damages as part of your personal injury claim.
Many personal injury claims are resolved within a matter of months. More complex cases, or claims where the insurance company is challenging liability, may take longer to resolve. If your case goes to trial, it could take a year or longer to reach a resolution. Your personal injury attorney should keep you updated on the status of your case throughout the process.
Hurt in an Accident? Reach Out Today.
After an accident, you may be dealing with a lot: doctor’s appointments, therapy, being out of work, and mounting bills. In this situation, you may not have the capacity to deal with an insurance claim. Our law firm is here to help.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we advocate for injury victims who have been hurt in all types of accidents. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Logan, WV personal injury lawyer, call our law offices at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney?
Personal injury law firms handle cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and only pay an attorney’s fee if you recover money through a settlement or verdict at trial. The attorney’s fee that you pay will be a percentage of your total recovery based on the terms of your agreement with your lawyer.
Contingency fee agreements make it possible to hire an attorney even if you don’t have the extra cash to pay an hourly fee or a retainer. It also aligns your interests with your lawyer’s, as you both want to resolve the case as quickly as possible and for as much money as possible. Reach out to Johnstone & Gabhart today to schedule a free consultation with a Logan, WV personal injury lawyer.
The Insurance Company Is Offering Me a Settlement. Should I Take It?
No – not until you have had a chance to talk to a personal injury lawyer. Even if you don’t end up hiring them, they can give you a better idea of the value of your case and your options when it comes to filing a claim. It won’t cost anything to schedule a consultation with an attorney.
Insurance companies don’t have your best interests at heart. Their goal is to make money, not to make sure that you get maximum compensation for your injuries. Call Johnstone & Gabhart today to schedule a free consultation with a Logan, WV personal injury lawyer.