We all know that despite our best intentions, accidents can – and will – happen. In many situations, no one is to blame for someone getting hurt. But if you are hurt because of another person’s careless or reckless behavior, then can be held financially responsible for any losses that you have suffered.
If you have been injured in an accident, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your losses from the at-fault party and their insurance company. Through this type of claim, you may be entitled to money for your property damage, medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, and other types of loss. A seasoned St. Albans, WV injury and accident lawyer can advocate for your right to maximum compensation.
The attorneys of Johnstone & Gabhart have broad experience handling all types of personal injury claims, including car accidents, slip and falls, product liability, motorcycle accidents, and more. Each case starts with a thorough investigation, so that we can bring in all responsible parties and get you top dollar for your claim. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
When Should I Hire an Attorney for My Personal Injury Claim?
Under West Virginia law, you have just 2 years to file a personal injury lawsuit. This statute of limitations is a strict limit on how long you have to pursue a legal claim. With a few exceptions, if you don’t file a lawsuit within this time frame, you will lose your right to do so.
2 years may seem like a long time, but it can go by quickly when you are dealing with the aftermath of an accident. That is why it is so important to reach out to a St. Albans, WV personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you are hurt. Your lawyer can make sure that your legal rights are protected, and that all deadlines are met.
Talking to an attorney early in the process has a number of benefits. Many insurance companies aggressively pursue injury victims, putting pressure on them to settle the claim (often for far less money than it is worth). If you have a lawyer, you can simply direct the insurance adjuster to them – and remove the stress of dealing with the insurance company from your life.
A personal injury law firm can also start gathering evidence to support your claim. Over time, witness memories fade and evidence (such as photos and videos) may be lost or destroyed. Your attorney can take witness statements, request copies of physical evidence, and otherwise preserve the information that you need for a strong claim.
What Happens After I File a WV Personal Injury Claim?
After you hire a St. Albans, WV personal injury lawyer, they will start to put together a claim on your behalf. This process includes investigating the facts of the case, gathering evidence, researching case law, and determining which parties may be financially responsible for your losses. Using this information, they will send a demand letter to the insurance company, which sets out all of this information and makes a demand for financial compensation.
This typically starts the negotiation process. Most personal injury claims settle without taking the case to trial. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice statistics, just 3% of personal injury claims are resolved in court.
However, there are some situations – such as where liability is contested or the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement – where filing a lawsuit may be necessary. Your lawyer will talk to you about the pros and cons of suing the at-fault party, and recommend a course of action based on the facts of your case.
Once a lawsuit has been filed by the injury victim (plaintiff), the other side (defendant) will be served with the legal paperwork. They then have an opportunity to file an answer. The pre-trial process will begin.
During this phase, both sides will have a chance to engage in discovery, which is the exchange of information relevant to the claim. Discovery may include written requests for information and depositions, where witnesses are asked questions under oath. Throughout this process, negotiations will typically continue up to the morning of trial.
If the case does go to trial, each side will have an opportunity to present evidence, make arguments, and cross-examine witnesses. A jury will then decide whether the defendant should be held responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. They will also determine how much the plaintiff should receive in damages.
Having an experienced injury and accident lawyer representing you can help make this process easier – and can increase the likelihood that you will get a favorable settlement or verdict at trial. In St. Albans, WV, reach out to Johnstone & Gabhart to schedule a free initial consultation.
How Much Will It Cost Me to Hire a WV Personal Injury Lawyer?
Our law firm handles all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay nothing upfront, and only pay a fee if we recover money for you. The amount that you will pay will be a percentage of your total recovery.
With a contingency fee, you can afford to have high-quality legal representation regardless of whether or not you can pay out of pocket for a lawyer. This type of arrangement also aligns your interests with your lawyers: you are both invested in resolving your case quickly and for as much money as possible. To learn more, schedule a free consultation with a St. Albans, WV injury and accident lawyer.
Can I Represent Myself on a Personal Injury Claim?
Although you can represent yourself in a personal injury claim, it is usually a bad idea unless your losses are limited to fairly minor property damage. Studies have shown that people who represent themselves recover far less than those who are represented by an attorney.
The insurance company has lawyers on its staff, along with a team of adjusters. Their job is to get you to accept as low of a settlement as possible. A skilled St. Albans, WV personal injury attorney will level the playing field and help you get the compensation that you deserve.
The Insurance Company Keeps Calling. What Should I Do?
If the insurance adjuster won’t leave you alone, the best thing to do is to hire a personal injury attorney to communicate with the insurance company on your behalf. Remember: no matter what the adjuster may tell you, the insurance company isn’t on your side. They make money by denying or minimizing legitimate claims.
Once you hire an attorney, all communications can go through them, leaving you free to focus on what is truly important: healing from your injuries. If you have been hurt in any type of accident, reach out to our law firm to schedule a free consultation with a St. Albans, WV personal injury lawyer.
Help for Injury Victims in West Virginia
After an accident, you may not know where to turn for help. If you live in or around St. Albans, WV, our law firm is here for you.
Based in Charleston, Johnstone & Gabhart represents injury victims throughout the state of West Virginia. With more than 50 years of combined experience, we have the knowledge and skills that you need to get maximum compensation for your losses. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a St. Albans, WV injury and accident lawyer, give us a call at 304-343-7100 or fill out our online contact form.