We have all had an accident at some point in time, whether we tripped over our own two feet or walked into a street sign while not paying attention. In fact, accidental injuries account for nearly 50 million visits to the ER and doctor’s offices each year. In many of these cases, a person has no one to blame for their injury other than their own clumsiness or dumb luck.
Yet in some cases, an accident was caused by something that someone else did – or failed to do. In these situations, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Through a claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your losses, including property damages, lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional distress.
Johnstone & Gabhart represents injury victims throughout West Virginia in all types of personal injury claims. However you were hurt, if someone else was responsible, we will fight for your right to full compensation. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Madison, WV personal injury attorney, give our law offices a call today.
What Is a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury claim is a type of civil legal dispute. Essentially, if someone causes another person to be hurt because of something that they did – or failed to do – they can be held liable under West Virginia law. Personal injury law may also be referred to as tort law.
Personal injury lawsuits are most based on a theory of negligence. This legal standard means that the at-fault party (defendant) failed to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. Another way to think about negligence is carelessness.
For example, a reasonable person would not text and drive – which is against West Virginia law. If a person caused an accident due to distracted driving, then they were being negligent. The injury victim (plaintiff) could file a lawsuit against them to recover financial compensation for their losses.
Of course, negligence is often more complicated than that straightforward example. In West Virginia, the principle of comparative negligence applies to cases where the injury victim was somewhat at fault for the accident. In the example above, if the plaintiff was speeding when the accident occurred and was found to be 20% at fault for the accident, then their total compensation would be reduced by 20%.
In some cases, something more than negligence is at play. If an injury was caused by intentional or even reckless conduct, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. This is true even if they have not been charged with a criminal offense. For example, if a person pushes you down and you suffer a broken bone, you can sue them for your losses, even if the police don’t ultimately charge them with a crime.
Our law firm handles all types of personal injury cases. We have experience with claims involving:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bike crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall (premises liability)
- Truck accidents
- Dangerous and defective products (product liability)
- Nursing home abuse
- Bus accidents
- Wrongful death
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
Each of our cases starts with a free initial consultation, where we will listen to your story and offer you legal advice on your rights. If you decide to hire our law firm, we will get to work building a strong case so that we can take on the insurance company – and win. To learn more, give us a call to talk to a Madison, WV personal injury lawyer.
What Personal Injury Damages Can I Recover?
The vast majority of personal injury cases are resolved via settlement. A personal injury settlement may include compensation for three types of damages. Economic and non-economic damages pay for a victim’s losses, while punitive damages punish a wrongdoer.
Economic damages include money for any direct financial losses, such as property damages, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, medical expenses, and future medical care. These damages are often what insurance companies focus on because they are easy to prove through medical bills, estimates, invoices, and other documentation. However, economic damages are just one piece of the puzzle.
Non-economic damages cover intangible losses, like the pain and suffering that you go through as a result of your injuries. It also pays for things like emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. Insurance companies don’t like to pay for non-economic damages – but they are no less important than economic damages. An experienced Madison, WV personal injury lawyer will work to ensure that you get full compensation for ALL of your losses.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded. They are only available in situations where the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly, such as a drunk driving accident. These damages are designed to penalize the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves in personal injury cases. The reason why is simple: without a lawyer on your side, insurance companies will take advantage of you and try to get you to admit fault or accept a settlement that is far less than the true value of your claim. When you have a skilled Madison personal injury law firm in your corner, you can rest assured that you will get the money that you deserve for your losses.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we aren’t afraid to take on the big insurance companies. We work hard to negotiate favorable settlements for our clients. If an insurer won’t offer a fair settlement, we will take the case to trial and ask a jury to render a verdict in our client’s favor. Throughout the process, we will fight for your rights.
Work with a Madison, WV Personal Injury Attorney
After an accident, you may be confused and uncertain. You may also feel stressed out by mounting medical bills. Our law firm is here to help.
At Johnstone & Gabhart, we exclusively represent accident victims in personal injury cases. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more about our services or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Madison, WV personal injury lawyer, give us a call at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in West Virginia?
In West Virginia, there is a 2-year statute of limitations for most types of personal injury cases. This means that you generally have 2 years from the date of your accident to file a claim against the at-fault party. If you don’t file a claim within that time period, then the defendant and their insurance company could seek to have it dismissed.
The statute of limitations may seem harsh, but it is important to ensure that the process is fair. Over time, evidence is lost and witness memories fade. If you have been hurt in any type of accident, contact Johnstone & Gabhart today to talk to a Madison, WV personal injury lawyer about your case.
The Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement. Should I Take It?
No. You should never give a statement, sign any paperwork, or accept a settlement from the other party’s insurance company until after you have talked to an attorney. Even if the adjuster tells you that they accept full responsibility, the likelihood is that the settlement is far less than the true value of your case. Accepting a settlement also means that you will waive your right to file a future claim, which means that you won’t have any recourse if you discover your injuries are more serious down the road.
A seasoned Madison, WV personal injury lawyer will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf and review all settlement offers for you. Based on their experience, they can advise you on the approximate value of your case – and whether or not a settlement offer is fair based on the unique facts of your case. If you have been hurt in any type of accident, call Johnstone & Gabhart today to talk to a member of our legal team about your case.