Consequences Can Extend Beyond Physical Injury
We jump into the car to get to work, to go to the grocery store, to drop the kids off at school. Most people take their car for granted—but this can change in a second if there is an accident. Any car wreck is a shock. An auto accident that results in physical injury or trauma to you or your passengers can be devastating—emotionally and financially.
The experienced car wreck attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC can help you get the insurance reimbursement that you are entitled to receive, whether it is to pay for medical bills or bring a West Virginia personal injury law suit.
Standard Procedures for Accident Reports and Insurance Claims
There are some standard procedures for filing an accident report and insurance claims if you are in an auto accident in West Virginia. These include the following:
- Reporting: Report the accident as soon as possible, and provide your insurance company with documentation, including damage to your car and any injuries sustained by you or your passengers.
- Seek medical attention: Make sure you get appropriate medical care. This is essential not only for your health but because the doctor will record the details of your injury. Such records are often used by attorneys when pursuing the fair compensation you deserve for the damages you suffer.
- Submit your claim: Be careful not to give the insurance company any of your medical information that is not related to the accident, since they might try to use this to reduce the amount of your claim.
The insurance company’s claims adjustor will review the material you provide and may also conduct his or her own investigation of the accident before sending you a settlement offer. Generally, this offer will be on the low side since it is in the best interests of the insurance company to try and minimize the amount it pays out. You can often negotiate for a higher amount. If the offer is unacceptable, the accident attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC can represent you in court and make a convincing case for compensatory damages.
In some cases, your medical expenses due to a car accident will exceed the amount available through your insurance policy. If the other driver was at fault for the accident, West Virginia law allows you to sue that driver for punitive damages through a personal injury lawsuit.
Skilled West Virginia Auto Accident Attorneys
The skilled West Virginia auto accident attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC can advise you about the right steps to take to get reimbursed for medical bills and guide you through the red tape of negotiating with your insurance company. Is fault an issue? If you decide to file a West Virginia personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, you will need reliable legal counsel. Was the accident caused by negligence (for instance, by the auto manufacturer)? Is the insurance company’s offer taking everything into count—all your medical expenses, including long-term therapy or care you might require, lost wages, and pain and suffering?
Let your automobile accident lawyer in West Virginia at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC advise you about the ramifications of liability and damages that might be involved in your auto accident in West Virginia.
If you or your loved one have been in a car accident, under West Virginia law, often the only way to obtain sufficient financial compensation is by filing a car accident claim or injury claim that holds accountable the person or company who caused the car wreck, whether directly or indirectly. A lawsuit against the fault driver can even help prevent the same tragedy from happening to someone else.
Before you file any insurance claims, we recommend you contact our law firm before you speak with an insurance adjuster to know your legal rights and the ins and outs of your insurance coverage.
The first step is easy. We offer free legal advice and confidential car accident case review to help you determine if you should proceed with filing a lawsuit. All of our cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means that you don’t pay us anything unless we win the case for you.
Our West Virginia auto accident attorneys have an excellent success rate in all kinds of collision cases, including those against:
- Insurance companies
- Government entities
- Automobile manufacturers
- Other drivers
If you have been in an accident in West Virginia and wish to pursue a lawsuit, don’t wait – contact us today.
West Virginia Statute of Limitation
In West Virginia, you have only two years to file a lawsuit after a car crash. Even worse, if you wait until the two-year statute of limitations is almost over to consult with a lawyer your claim will most likely not be considered. This is why it is paramount to contact a West Virginia auto accident attorney as soon after the collision as possible. Our lawyers are available 24/7 and provide free consultations.
It’s not always immediately apparent who or what is at fault in an accident. For instance, sometimes the severity of an accident is escalated by faulty parts in a vehicle. That was the case in one accident where a teenager driving a Tesla lost control of the car and crashed while driving over 100 miles per hour.
Although this was the primary cause of the crash and the resulting death of both the driver and another teenage passenger, it was determined that the car’s battery caught on fire after being damaged in the wreck, which should not have happened and made the accident significantly more severe. It also meant that the families of the two teens were financially compensated because of the malfunction of the battery.
While that is a dramatic example of assigning fault in a car accident, you should never assume that you are not eligible to receive fair compensation, even if an insurance agent tells you that you are not.
Rather, if you or your loved ones get into an accident, call our personal injury attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson PLLC and let us analyze the case. We will investigate, lay out your rights for you in clear language, and then work tirelessly on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 304-842-4300.
Types of Car Accidents We Help With in WV
There are many different types of car crashes. The severity changes based on several factors, including the speed at which the vehicle(s) were traveling, whether seatbelts were in use, what size and type of vehicle(s) were involved, and so forth. Here are some of the common accident types that we can assist you with:
A head-on collision is when two vehicles are moving toward one another and crash straight into each other. This type of accident does not happen as frequently as some other types, but it often tragically results in fatalities, since the force is compounded with both vehicles moving towards each other.
Rear-end accidents happen when the front of one vehicle contacts the back of another vehicle, and they are often the result of the second vehicle following too close to the first and then being unable to stop in time when the leading vehicle stops or slows down abruptly. Rear-end accidents are usually minor at low speeds, but a high-speed rear-end crash can be fatal. Nearly 2,000 people die and half a million people are injured in rear-end crashes each year across that nation.
T-bone collisions are also sometimes referred to as broadside or side-angle crashes, and occur when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another at a perpendicular angle. This type of accident can be very dangerous and often fatal for vehicle occupants that are sitting on the side that the other vehicle strikes.
Sideswipe accidents happen when the side of one vehicle hits or rubs against the side of another. This is usually caused by one vehicle drifting out of its lane or by a driver changing lanes without checking their mirrors and blindspot.
Chain Reaction Crashes
Chain reaction crashes involve more than two vehicles. They usually start as a collision between two vehicles and the force then causes the initial vehicles to strike other vehicles around them. In freeway settings, chain-reaction crashes can involve several vehicles, which is also referred to as a pileup.
Single Vehicle Accidents
Single vehicle accidents involve one car that hits a non-vehicle obstacle, like a median, guardrail, sign or utility pole, or even an animal or a person. A single-vehicle accident can also occur when a driver leaves the road surface and the car rolls. Single vehicle accidents account for over half of all vehicle-related fatalities.
7 Causes of Car Crashes in West Virginia
While some car accidents are caused by malfunctions and defects, they are overwhelmingly caused by human error. Some of the most common causes are as follows:
Speeding is one of the deadliest causes of accidents. The main danger from speeding is that the faster the driver goes, the less time he or she has to react to dangers on the roadway, other vehicles, and so forth. Speeding doesn’t necessarily only mean that someone is exceeding the posted speed limit – it can also mean driving within the legal limit but going too fast for the current conditions of the road.
For example, driving the posted speed limit when the road is icy could still be considered unsafe speeding. Excessive speed presents other dangers as well, such as an increased stopping distance and lessening of the effectiveness of safety features like seat belts, airbags, and the steel frame of the vehicle.
There are three different types of driving distractions: visual distractions that draw the driver’s eyes somewhere other than the road, cognitive distractions that divert the driver’s attention away from the process of driving, and manual distractions that cause the driver to take his or her hands off the wheel.
Texting is an exceptionally serious infraction by a motorist because it results in all three types of distraction, but other types of dangerous distractions include eating and drinking, other cell phone use, adjusting the stereo or navigation system, talking with passengers in the vehicle, or looking at external distractions like billboards, other vehicles, wildlife, and so forth.
Drunk driving causes roughly 10,000 fatalities per year in the U.S., resulting in a cost to our society of about $44 billion annually. Alcohol impairs many of the exact skills necessary for safe driving – response time, the ability to steer and brake effectively, and the ability to visually track moving objects.
Driving while tired can be nearly as dangerous as driving drunk, as fatigue can cause many of the same impairments. This is a particular concern for long-haul truckers, shift drivers, and people who suffer from sleep apnea, which is a condition that results in extreme drowsiness and likely to cause a truck accident.
Confusion or Getting Lost
Drivers who realize they have made a navigation error are often likely to become flustered and make secondary mistakes like changing lanes abruptly or turning the wrong way onto a one-way street. Lost drivers are often also attempting to use their navigation system or app to try to get their bearing, which results in further distraction.
Defective Car Parts
Car manufacturers occasionally make mistakes and produce parts that are not up to safety standards. These faulty parts can cause accidents or make an unrelated accident more severe, like the Tesla battery catching on fire that we mentioned above. This is why car manufacturers occasionally recall parts.
Lack of Maintenance
Poorly maintained vehicles become more dangerous since the potential for things going wrong is higher. One of the main causes of accidents from lack of maintenance is tire blowouts. If tires are not maintained and replaced as needed, a tire can essentially burst, pulling the vehicle sharply to that side which can lead to a sideswipe accident or even a head-on collision depending on the circumstances.
The tire debris might also remain on the road, presenting a hazard to the following drivers. And, if an accident does occur, then the following drivers may be distracted by the sight of the crash. Finally, bald tires can cause a car to lose its grip on the road, causing an accident that way as well.
Other examples include failure to maintain fluid levels or failure to replace brake pads, signal lights that burn out, or windshield wipers that don’t properly clear the rain.
Common Injuries Associated With Car Accidents
Essentially any part of the body can have serious injuries as the result of a car crash. While some injuries are minor, others can be life-altering or even fatal. Some of the most common car accident injury categories include:
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord runs from your skull down to the base of your spine and is responsible for all sensation and function of the body from the neck down. A spinal cord injury can cause either paraplegia (paralysis and loss of sensation in the lower limbs) or quadriplegia (paralysis and loss of sensation in all four limbs), depending on where along the cord the injury occurs.
There is currently no way to repair spinal cord injuries to restore feeling and function, so these types of injuries are permanent. A high spinal cord injury can leave the injured person reliant on 24/7 medical care and medical expenses for the rest of their lives
Car crashes are one of the primary causes of brain injuries since they often involve blows to the head and sudden jolts. Some brain injuries are relatively minor and impermanent, such as concussions, while others more traumatic injuries can result in permanent deficits in speech, coordination, memory, and so forth.
Broken bones can heal and not cause any lasting damage, but in cases of severe breaks, they can cause loss of range of mobility, chronic pain, and even organ damage or infection if the broken bone ruptures an organ or the skin.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries can include ailments like whiplash, which can be quite severe and cause lingering neck, head, and back pain and require extensive therapy. Other examples of soft tissue injuries to muscles, ligaments, and tendons include sprains, strains, and detached muscles.
There are two possible types of amputations in a car accident scenario: amputation that occurs in the process of the crash itself, and amputation as a medical necessity after the fact. In a high-speed crash, limbs can potentially be torn off or completely crushed. Amputation after the crash may be necessary if a damaged limb cannot be surgically repaired.
Common Misconceptions About WV Auto Accidents Lawsuits
West Virginia law is too complicated to trust your own ideas about what you can and cannot do to pursue compensation after a car wreck. Yet, every day, people fail to take appropriate action based on common misconceptions.
West Virginia’s comparative negligence law requires negligent individuals to pay based on the degree to which they were negligent. Under West Virginia modified comparative fault rule, you can receive compensation as long as you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident.
The most common example of this would be if your accident involved a severely drunk driver or a repeat offender. Although the timing of your automobile accident lawsuit in West Virginia may be affected, you can still file a civil case—in fact, you can collect damages even if the other driver has been acquitted. Skilled auto accident lawyers in West Virginia have the experience needed to handle this situation appropriately.
In some instances, you may be able to handle your own case. One example would be when you want to file a simple insurance claim for a minor auto accident injury in West Virginia. But, the laws can be complicated, and it never hurts to use free consultations with auto accident lawyers in West Virginia to find out if they can help you collect more compensation than you can collect on your own.
How a West Virginia car accident attorney can help
The highly qualified West Virginia car accident attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson, PLLC are located in Bridgeport and have the experience to recommend the best next steps to take to protect your interests. Even in cases of relatively minor injury, our attorneys have the negotiation skills needed to achieve full and fair compensation from insurance companies or from the responsible parties. And, when you need to file a West Virginia automobile accident lawsuit to let a jury decide your case, our attorneys have the resources to obtain the evidence needed to prove liability and the courtroom skills to present an effective case.
Call or visit us for a free consultation to discuss your personal injury matter. We also offer home and hospital visits for those who are injured and cannot travel to us. In family law matters, you can obtain fee information by phone, or schedule a consultation. To obtain free information or consultation contact us today.