As a rule of thumb, you should always consult an attorney after any type of auto accident, regardless of how minor the car crash may seem. Most reputable car accident lawyers provide free consultations, which can help you determine whether it’s prudent for you as the accident victim to file a personal injury claim. A West Virginia car accident attorney will offer legal advice as well about how to deal with insurance adjusters and what steps to take immediately after the car wreck in order to ensure a successful claim.
What Kinds of Car Accident Cases Don’t Need Lawyers?
Essentially, the only types of car accidents that do not require the expertise of an attorney are mild fender benders where there are no injuries and no one seeks medical attention. In all other cases, it’s a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation.
Read More: Should I Get A Lawyer for My Car Accident?
When Would I Really Benefit From a Car Accident Attorney?
There are certain types of situations in which you should absolutely contact a law firm right away to retain the services of a car accident attorney. In these situations, a personal injury attorney can negotiate a significantly higher settlement for you than what the car insurance company will typically offer, and the lawyer can ensure that the insurance company does not try to dodge compensating you fairly.
If any of the following scenarios apply to you or a loved one, contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible:
- You are seriously injured or a loved one has been killed in a car crash. If you sustain injuries from a crash, you are entitled to more compensation than just the amounts necessary to cover the resulting medical bills. Serious injuries can include things like broken bones, spinal injuries, brain injuries, and generally anything that requires hospitalization. You can file a wrongful death claim if a loved one was killed in a car accident as well, which will include compensation for emotional damages, loss of consortium, end-of-life costs, and so forth.
- You aren’t sure how seriously you are injured or whether the effects will be long-term. It can be hard to determine how serious car accident injuries are immediately after they occur, which can lead some accident victims to avoid filing a claim only to realize later that their injuries were much more severe and expensive to treat than they initially thought. A West Virginia car accident attorney can help you find a qualified medical specialist who can accurately assess your injuries and your attorney will hold the insurance company accountable for covering the entirety of your medical expenses and getting you the additional compensation to which you are entitled.
- You cannot pay for your medical bills on your own. If you are not able to pay for all of the car accident-related costs, the insurance company is not offering you enough for your settlement. A car accident attorney will take on the insurance company on your behalf to ensure a fair settlement that covers all of the associated costs.
- You missed work and/or cannot return to work as a result of your car accident injuries. Insurance companies often conveniently “forget” about the cost of lost income for car accident victims. An attorney can help ensure that you receive fair compensation for every aspect of the motor vehicle accident.
- Insurers attempt to blame you for the accident or do not take your injury seriously. Insurance adjusters may resort to gaslighting you into thinking that your injuries are not serious or have resulted from something you did or failed to do surrounding the car accident because their mission is to pay out the least amount of money that they can. Having a car accident lawyer on your team will discourage this kind of unscrupulous behavior.
- The at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured. If the responsible party does not have sufficient coverage, the insurance claim can become vastly more difficult to navigate. An attorney can help ensure that the at-fault motorist is held responsible, regardless of their insurance coverage.
- The at-fault driver is a friend or family member. You are entitled to be compensated even if the at-fault driver is a friend or family member, and even if you were a passenger in the at-fault vehicle. Don’t let the insurance company tell you differently.
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?
If you’ve been in a car or truck accident in West Virginia, you need an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle accidents and personal injury cases. The best possible lawyer will be familiar with West Virginia laws and have many years of experience.
An excellent car accident attorney will have the resources available to conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, which is often outside the financial means of the average person. A lawyer will be laser-focused on the case which will allow you as the accident victim to rest and recover both physically and emotionally. Your attorney will know what to look for in terms of investigating the cause of the accident, how to determine fault or find an expert who can, and how to determine what is a fair amount of compensation.
An attorney can also remain impartial and unemotional during the case, with an authoritative removal from the proceedings.
We Can Help
At Kaufman & McPherson PLLC, our experienced attorneys offer a free case review if you think you may have a personal injury case. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t pay us anything unless we win the case for you. We are always happy to help explain your legal rights to you in the aftermath of a car crash and advise you on the best course of action. Once you’ve retained our services, anything you tell us will be protected by our attorney-client relationship, so even if you have other outstanding legal issues or are worried that the accident may have been partially your fault, we can work with you to resolve the case.
Car Accident Case FAQs
A car crash is always a stressful event. Let’s look at some common questions:
How much is a motor vehicle accident settlement?
The settlement amount will vary based on the severity of the accident, how much medical care was required, whether drunk driving was involved, and so forth. If wrongful death or lifelong medical treatment are involved, you may be entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
How long does a car accident lawsuit take?
At a minimum, a car accident case will take a month or two from the date of the accident, but the amount of time can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injuries, the number of parties involved, and so on. Some very complex cases can take several years to resolve.
How long do you have to get a lawyer after a car crash?
West Virginia law states that the statute of limitations on car accidents is two years. So, you have a time limit of two years from the date of the accident to file a claim, but the sooner a claim is filed after the crash, the better the outcome. We see the best outcomes in cases where we are retained early; ideally, we like to be involved before you discuss the claim with any of the insurance companies, even your own.
How can I ensure a successful car accident claim?
There are four steps you can take immediately after a crash in order to maximize your claim’s chance of success and your potential compensation amount.
- Seek medical attention right away. Obviously, if you have been severely injured, you will be transported to a hospital right away. However, even if you don’t feel injured immediately after the crash, you should still get evaluated by a medical professional right away. Adrenaline may be masking the pain from injuries that aren’t immediately evident, and an apparently minor injury could become more severe if left untreated. Having an official record of seeking medical treatment can be useful in your case as well.
- Report the accident to the police. If the police are not called to the scene of the accident, be sure to call them as soon as you can to file an accident report. It is much better if the police are called to the scene before vehicles are moved or witnesses depart. This document will be useful later in the car accident case.
- Gather evidence. If you are able, take photos of the scene of the accident, your physical injuries if they are visible, damage to your vehicle and any other personal property, and anything else that you think maybe pertinent to your claim. Additionally, keep all the relevant documents, such as medical bills, repair bills, and receipts for any other costs that were incurred as a result of the car crash. This documentation will make it easier to present a solid case and will be taken into account when the compensation amount is being determined.
- Contact a car accident attorney. Call us at Kaufman & McPherson as soon as you are able to after a car wreck. Our attorneys are here to help you, and we’ll tell you exactly what to do and say to the insurance companies. Until you’ve spoken to one of our personal injury lawyers, do not make any statements or sign anything, as you could potentially accidentally incriminate yourself or admit to guilt, which insurance companies will use against you.
Does Kaufman & McPherson Cover All of West Virginia?
We do! Our office is located in Bridgeport, WV, but our accident attorneys help hundreds of West Virginians all across the state with their cases. Whether you’re in Charleston, Fairmont, Beckley, Huntington, or anywhere else in West Virginia, we can help.