kaufman and mcpherson home

West Virginia’s Negligence Law Impact on Auto Accident Settlements

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    red car in auto accident

    If you are injured in an auto accident that another person caused, you are entitled to recover damages to compensate for your losses. But what happens if the other driver is not entirely at fault? Suppose your actions contributed to the crash. Are you still able to recover compensation?

    All states have some version of contributory or comparative negligence law to cover situations where an injured driver shares some blame for the accident. A few states, such as Virginia, are very strict and do not allow a driver to recover anything if he or she is even one percent to blame for the crash. Other states allow drivers to recover damages reduced in proportion to their fault, even if they are 99 percent at fault. West Virginia is somewhere in the middle, allowing drivers who share fault to recover a percentage of their losses as long as they were not mostly at fault.

    Under West Virginia’s modified comparative negligence law, a driver who is 50 percent or less at fault in an accident can recover damages reduced in proportion to their share of the fault.  For example, a driver who suffers $50,000 in losses but is 20 percent to blame can collect damages from the defendant equal to 80 percent of their losses, or $40,000.

    So, how can this affect your settlement with an insurance company? If you are trying to negotiate a settlement on your own, you can expect the insurer to use comparative negligence as a tactic to get you to accept a lower settlement. You may hear, “If we take you to court, a jury is likely to decide you’re not just 25 percent at fault. They’ll probably decide you’re more than 50 percent liable, and you’ll get nothing.” Faced with that kind of risk, and not knowing differently, you might feel lucky to get a 60 percent settlement.

    Comparative negligence law is one area where professional representation can really help maximize your claim. An experienced auto accident attorney can evaluate your accident and give a reasonable estimate of your fault, so you can make a fully informed decision about whether a settlement offer is reasonable. If the insurance company’s offer is not reasonable, a seasoned trial lawyer gives you added leverage, because the insurer knows you’re prepared to go to court.

    If you’ve been injured in a car accident in West Virginia, consult an experienced personal injury attorney at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC.

    Need Legal Help? Schedule A Free Consultation​

    By submitting, you are agreeing to terms and privacy policy.

    Related Blogs:

    About the Editor

    Picture of Kevin Kaufman
    Kevin Kaufman

    A 1977 Bridgeport High School graduate, received multiple scholarships including a National Merit Scholarship. He went on to earn a BS in Business Administration, an MBA, and a law degree from West Virginia University.

    Search Our Website:

    Our Accolades & Awards

    Everyday we work to improve ourselves and we’re proud of our successes.

    top 25 national trial lawyers in mass torts certificate
    Attorney and Practice Magazine badge - Personal Injury Firm - 2023
    Top 10 Personal Injury Law Firm 2022 award
    Highly Recommended by Locals On Alignable
    Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys Badge
    10 best law firm badge

    What Our Clients Say

    My husband and I needed legal help, we were referred to Kaufman and McPherson. We talked with Mr. Adam McPherson and his team. They were very professional, helpful, and knowledgeable. They helped us in our time of need and answered every question we had. I highly recommend them to anyone in need of legal assistance.
    My experience with McPherson was great he kept in contact with me he answered the phone anytime I had questions he got me a fair settlement I definitely will be recommending to others.

    Schedule Your Free Consultation

    Fill out the form an one our our attorneys will follow up with you.

    By submitting, you are agreeing to terms and privacy policy.