When you or a loved one suffers a personal injury due to the actions of someone else, you will want to seek compensation to cover the costs of medical bills, lost time at work and other damages. To do this, your attorney will need to determine the party at fault for an accident in a process known as “determining legal liability.” This can be complicated, as it may not be immediately clear how or why an accident occurred.
In most cases, another person’s negligence is the cause of an accident leading to personal injury. What is important is determining if the negligent party had a “duty of care” to protect the injured person. For example, if the accident occurred in a grocery store, the owner of the premises has a duty of care to ensure that there are no slippery surfaces, uneven walkways or other hazards that could cause injuries. If a dangerous situation exists and the store manager does not address it in a timely manner, the store has violated its duty of care.
Making the argument for negligence
In seeking compensation for their clients, personal injury lawyers in West Virginia must show that another person was careless or negligent in his or her actions — and that negligence led to the accident that caused your injuries.
But in many cases, more than one person bears some responsibility for an accident. In West Virginia, state law follows the comparative negligence rule: unless you are found to be more at fault, you can still recover damages. But your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So if your claim for damages totals $50,000 but you are found to be 10 percent at fault for your accident, your award is reduced to $45,000.
By applying these concepts to personal injury claims, attorneys can demonstrate legal liability and help secure fair compensation for victims. To learn more about your options after a serious accident in West Virginia, meet with a dedicated personal injury attorney at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC.