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Charleston Car Accident Attorney

Most people don’t evaluate their chances of getting into a car crash every time they hop behind the wheel. But there is actually a good chance of getting in an accident each and every time you drive. An average of six million car accidents occur in the United States every year – that’s 11+ accidents every minute. About half of those accidents result in injuries. And two-thirds of those injured will be left with some type of permanent disability. 

The good news is that serious injury car accidents in West Virginia have been declining since 2013. In 2019, there were 906 serious injury accidents reported – down from 1,498 in 2013. Fatal car accidents are also trending lower.

At Salango Law, PLLC, we understand that statistics aren’t important to you when you have been in a serious car accident. Your accident is all that matters to us. Our Charleston car accident lawyers focus on your circumstances and how to get as much as possible to compensate you for your losses.

Trust Your Car Accident Claim to Salango Law

Hire the law firm that cares about you and has a proven history of success.

Charleston Car Accident Resources & FAQs

How You Benefit From Working With a Car Accident Attorney

Some of the first people you will deal with after a car accident are insurance company representatives. These are people whose job is to close claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. This is what they do for a living and they know they are at an advantage over the average person who has never tried to collect on an insurance policy.

You may not be familiar with the terms of your insurance policy or the laws about establishing fault for the accident. You may not realize the potential damage you can make to your claim with innocent comments in response to questions from an insurance company. You may not know how to convince an insurance company of the full extent of your injuries and become frustrated that you are not being heard. 

An attorney knows the law and the evidence you need to prove your claim. A Charleston personal injury attorney will handle communications with the insurance company (and others) so that your rights are completely protected.  An attorney will work with your medical providers and other experts and make sure you are compensated completely for all of your injuries.

West Virginia Car Accident Statistics

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, West Virginia tallied the following statistics for fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2019.

  • 247 total fatality accidents – 14.5 per 100,000 population
  • 33% involved SUVs or pickups
  • 42% were multiple vehicle accidents
  • 120 of those fatally injured had alcohol concentrations at or over the legal limit
  • fatal accidents were almost 2x more likely to occur in rural areas

Driver Behaviors That Increase the Likelihood of a Car Accident

Certain driver behaviors are more likely to contribute to car crashes. Speed is the number 1 contributing factor to accidents. Speed includes going too fast for the road conditions or faster than the posted speed limit. When drivers go too fast, they have less time to react to circumstances that may produce a collision.   

  1. Speed 
  2. Alcohol or drugs
  3. Failure to yield
  4. Lane change/improper lane
  5. Reckless or careless driving
  6. Distraction
  7. Failure to obey traffic signals/signs

Serious Injuries Common in Charleston Car Accidents

The most common injuries people get from car accidents involve soft tissues being hit, stretched or torn from the force of the impact. Speed and the positioning of the vehicles at the time of the crash influence the severity of the injuries. In addition to the physical injuries that occur, there may be psychological injuries that develop from the trauma.

Neck injuries – The force of impact can cause strain to the muscles and ligaments in the neck resulting in soreness and temporary limitation of mobility.

Back injuries – Injuries to the back may occur if the crash impact causes the spinal vertebrae to shift causing the discs between the vertebrae to bulge or rupture compressing the nerves resulting in pain and loss of sensation.

Internal injuries – When your body is hit or hits something else during a crash, damage may occur to internal organs that cannot be seen and may not be immediately recognized. Internal injuries can be very serious and can result in death if not treated.

Broken bones – Breaks usually occur to arms, legs, and ribs – possibly pelvis or spinal vertebrae.

Spinal cord injuries – Any time the back is injured, there is a possibility that the damage is severe enough to affect the spinal cord. When the spinal cord is injured, other body parts beneath the injury site may experience loss of use or sensation.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) – Traumatic brain injuries can occur when the force of the crash impact causes the head to hit something or be thrust with such force that the brain hits the inside of the skull. Traumatic brain injuries can range from mild to severe. Severe TBIs usually result in permanent disability.

Mental and emotional injuries – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most common psychological injury from a car accident.

Compensation You Can Receive for Injuries and Other Losses

When you have been injured in a car accident in West Virginia that you are no more than 50% responsible for causing, you are able to collect the expenses you have incurred because of the accident and some amounts to compensate you for how the injuries have affected your life. The expenses that have an established value are called economic damages. The amounts you get for how you feel and what you can’t do are called non-economic damages.

Economic damages:

  • property damage
  • medical bills
  • lost wages

Non-economic damages:

  • pain & suffering
  • mental anguish/emotional distress
  • loss of the ability to be a companion

How to Get Compensation for Your Accident Injuries

The ability to collect compensation for your losses usually starts with an insurance company. You may receive some benefits from your own policy but the majority of the payment will come from the insurance company of the person responsible for the accident. This other insurance company is not happy about paying you – even though you may have every right to collect. So, you must be strategic in how you present your claim and the best way to do that is to hire a good personal injury attorney.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury or property damage as a result of the careless or negligent actions of another driver, there are various steps that you can take to help ensure that you recover maximum compensation for your losses. As we go through these steps, we understand that the aftermath of a vehicle accident can be chaotic. You may not be able to take all these steps in this exact order, but we encourage you to do what you can to accomplish all these steps at some point soon after the crash.

  1. Seek medical care. If you have been involved in a vehicle accident, you must seek medical care. Even if you do not feel any immediate pain or see any obvious injuries, you still need to go to a doctor for an evaluation. The signs and symptoms of some vehicle accident injuries may not occur until hours or even days after the crash. By seeking immediate medical care, you are establishing a direct link between the crash and any injuries that may occur.
  2. Report the incident. Nearly every vehicle accident that occurs in West Virginia must be reported to the police. Law enforcement officials need to come to the scene to conduct an initial investigation and fill out the accident report that you will need for your insurance claim.
  3. Gather evidence. If you are able to do so at the scene of the crash, we suggest that you do everything possible to gather evidence. If you have a cellphone, use the camera to take photographs of everything that you see, at varying distances, and from varying angles. This includes vehicle damage, injuries, causes of the crash, skid marks, and more. If there were any eyewitnesses, get their names and phone numbers so that they can be contacted later on by your attorney.
  4. Call an attorney. You need to speak to a skilled West Virginia car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can get involved and take over handling the case immediately. This will include contacting all insurance carriers and other parties and using their resources to gather any evidence needed to prove liability. An attorney will handle every aspect of your claim from beginning to end.
  5. Contact the insurance carrier. You will need to let your insurance carrier know that you have been involved in a vehicle accident. With your initial report, you do not have to go into much detail, but you do have to report the incident to avoid any delays or denials of your claim.
  6. Continue medical treatment. You need to continue all medical treatment recommended by your doctor until you have reached what is considered maximum medical improvement. Discontinuing care before a doctor says you should could jeopardize your claim in the eyes of the insurance carriers or the at-fault party.

What if You Were Partially At-Fault?

Even if you are found to be partially at fault for causing the vehicle accident in Charleston, West Virginia, you may still be able to recover compensation for your losses. This state operates under a “modified comparative negligence” system. This means that individuals can recover compensation so long as they are less than 50% responsible for the crash. Any person 50% or more responsible for the collision will be unable to recover compensation for their losses.

However, the total amount of compensation an individual receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if an individual sustained $100,000 worth of medical bills and property damage expenses, but a jury finds them to be 30% responsible for the incident, they would receive $70,000 instead of the full $100,000.

Will a Car Accident Case go to Court?

Whether or not a car accident claim in Charleston will go to court depends entirely on the situation. Most vehicle accident claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers in West Virginia. However, in the event an insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement amount, or if they deny the claim altogether, it may be necessary for a crash victim and their attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver.

When a lawsuit gets filed in civil court, this does not necessarily mean that the case will go to trial. The discovery process will begin, and negotiations between both sides will continue as evidence is gathered. Even after a lawsuit is filed, most claims are resolved before they reach a jury.

If you are concerned about whether or not your car accident case will go to court, we strongly suggest that you work with a personal injury lawyer in Charleston, West Virginia who can examine the facts of your case and help walk you through this process.

Time Limit for Filing a Car Accident Claim in Charleston

Car accident victims in Charleston, West Virginia, need to begin their claim as promptly as possible. First, insurance carriers involved in these cases have very strict reporting deadlines, typically within a day or two after the crash occurs. If you do not file a claim with the insurance carrier promptly, they will likely delay or even deny the claim.

Additionally, the West Virginia personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. Failing to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent driver within this two-year timeframe will likely result in the crash victim becoming unable to recover any compensation for their losses.

Affording a Car Accident Lawyer in Charleston

You have likely thought about how you could possibly afford an attorney after a vehicle accident in Charleston, West Virginia. At Salango Law, PLLC, we take pride in handling Charleston car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will never have to worry about paying a single dime and legal fees until after we successfully recover the compensation they are entitled to. We want to make sure that you are able to hold at-fault drivers accountable for their actions.

Contact Our Charleston Car Accident Lawyers Today

The attorneys at Salango Law, PLLC are the advocates you want on your side. Our Charleston car accident lawyers are some of the most recognized personal injury attorneys in West Virginia. We have helped hundreds of clients recover exceptionally large settlements. We can help you too. Contact us for a free consultation or call us at (304) 342-0512.

 

Our Charleston office is located at 206 Capitol St #300, Charleston, WV 25301. Click here for driving directions.