Navigating the aftermath of a car wreck can be a confusing and overwhelming process. You don’t have to shoulder the burdens of this process alone. This article will discuss some of the issues you might face after a car accident and what to do if they occur.
Skilled West Virginia Car Accident Representation
If you or a loved one has been involved in a West Virginia car accident, you likely already know just how life-changing even a relatively minor accident can be. Costs add up quickly, whether the accident in question was a fender-bender or a total loss. Not to mention, while waiting to receive any compensation to which you are entitled, you’ll likely need to find a replacement or alternative for your valuable vehicle, which presents a hassle on its own.
When navigating the aftermath of a car accident in West Virginia, even the slightest misstep can result in delays or even denial of compensation to which you would otherwise be entitled. Thankfully, you can entrust the “heavy lifting” of the legal and financial aftermath of your car accident to us. When you need experienced, skilled car accident representation in West Virginia, look no further than Salango Law.
The personal injury attorneys at Salango Law have extensive experience representing clients in all types of auto accident matters. Our personal injury attorneys understand how important it is to receive maximum compensation for the harm you have suffered so that you can return your life to normal as soon as possible. Salango Law personal injury attorneys are ready to represent you in your auto accident case today. To learn more about your rights and options, schedule your initial case consultation by calling (681) 201-4715 or visiting our website today.
West Virginia Car Accident Laws & Rules
Several West Virginia laws and rules will determine the amounts and kinds of financial compensation you might receive due to your accident and whether you’re in a position to receive compensation. Our team will explain how the law applies to your unique legal situation.
Modified Comparative Fault
West Virginia uses a modified comparative fault system to assess the blame of the drivers involved in a car accident. Modified comparative fault means that each party is generally held accountable for their degree of responsibility for the accident. This division of fault is generally discussed as a percentage of a whole. Fault determinations in your case will be made by assessing the facts and circumstances that led to your accident.
Consider an example where two drivers have been injured in an accident. In the leadup to that accident, one of the drivers is driving at a substantially unsafe speed while not paying attention to the road. Due to their speed and inattention, the driver does not stop at a stop sign posted at a four-way stop. While approaching the stop, the other driver involved in the accident is texting on their phone. If both drivers had been attentive in their approach to the four-way stop, they would have been able to avoid or at least diminish the damage that all parties involved suffered because of the accident. Now it’s up to what the insurance companies, judge, or jury (depending on whether this case is ultimately decided in court) determine based on those facts. They may find that one party is considered more responsible than the other for the harm caused due to the wreck.
Assume that, in the above example, the jury determines that the driver who was speeding was 40% liable for the accident. This means the texting driver would be responsible for 60% of the damages the driver suffered in the accident. Note that any driver who is found to be more than 50% responsible for an accident is not entitled to recover any damages from another negligent party. In West Virginia, this bright line is referred to as the 50% Bar Rule.
Damages Recoverable Under West Virginia Law
Suppose it is determined that you’re less than 50% responsible for your accident. In that case, you will likely be entitled to damages from others whose negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous conduct contributed to causing your harm. Each type of compensation granted for harm or injuries from the accident may or may not be subject to caps on the amount of money you can receive.
Noneconomic damages are compensation for the relatively subjective effects of the harm you suffered from the accident. Common non-economic damages include worsening of preexisting injuries, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and more. There is no cap on the damages you may receive unless the defendant involved in an accident is a state or local government agency. Under these circumstances, any noneconomic damages award will be limited to $500,000.
Economic damages are losses that are relatively easy to quantify and calculate due to their objective nature. Economic damages include lost opportunities (usually employment), medical bills, lost income, lost earning potential, and out-of-pocket costs. West Virginia law does not cap these damages, partially because they are often easily verified. For example, the cost of medical treatment that has already been incurred has been calculated by providers and is not a subjective amount that is easily disputed. As a result, you’ll only need to establish that such amounts are true and accurate and that you have or will have to pay those expenses as a direct result of the harm caused by the defendant named in your case.
Punitive damages are damages awarded—generally against a defendant—to punish unusually outrageous conduct and to prevent similar behavior on the part of others. You may be awarded punitive damages if you can prove by clear and convincing evidence that a defendant acted “with actual malice toward the plaintiff or a conscious, reckless, and outrageous indifference to the health, safety, and welfare of others.” While punitive damages may be granted, such awards are rare. West Virginia law caps the value of punitive damages you may receive at $500,000.
Statute Of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a legal restriction that requires an injury victim to file a case in court within a certain amount of time. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for cases involving car accident injuries or damages to vehicles or other property must be brought within two years of the accident. If you file the case after those two years, your lawsuit will be dismissed; your ability to seek compensation after the statute of limitations period has run is barred.
Hiring A West Virginia Car Accident Attorney
When you need experienced car accident representation, look no further than Salango Law. Our personal injury attorneys will assist you with preparing, administering, and litigating your car accident case. Salango Law personal injury attorneys understand what is at stake in car accident cases and are ready to advocate aggressively for your interests today. To schedule a free initial case consultation, call (681) 201-4715 or visit our website. We look forward to speaking with you.