Auto Accident Injury in West Virginia
Have you suffered an injury due to a car accident in West Virginia? If so, your life may never be the same again. Injuries from a car accident can interfere with your ability both to work and to enjoy everyday activities. They can also be incredibly painful. As such, you need an auto accident attorney who understands the laws in WV that will fight for your legal rights and help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Injury Statistics in West Virginia
According to the National Safety Council, in 2019 about 4.4 million people suffered serious injuries in motor vehicle accidents and an estimated 38,000 were killed. According to reported data from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, there were 294 traffic fatalities in 2018 in West Virginia. This represents a small decrease in car accident deaths from the previous year, which saw 304 fatal crashes. The five-year average of fatal car accidents on roadways in the Mountain State is just over 281 per year.
While more recent injury statistics are not available, West Virginia’s FY2018 Highway Safety Plan shows a downward trend in car accident injuries between 2008 and 2015. Nevertheless, the leading causes of car accidents in West Virginia tend to be speeding, distracted driving and impaired driving.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
It’s important to be prepared in the event you are a victim of a car accident. Below are the steps to remember immediately after your crash.
Receive Immediate Medical Attention
What is the most important step that you need to take after an auto accident? You need to receive immediate and proper medical treatment. You may believe that the injuries sustained after an auto accident are minor. Proper medical treatment helps ensure that you have not sustained any internal injuries that you may not be aware of.
File a Police Report
Even if no one sustained injuries, you still need to call 911 and request law enforcement assistance. When officers arrive, jot down each one’s name and badge number. Answer their questions honestly, but don’t volunteer any unasked for information, especially your thoughts on exactly what happened or who caused the car accident. Be sure to ask the officers for the number of their police report. Also ask when and where you can get a copy of it, including how much it will cost you.
Section 17C-4-1 of the West Virginia Code requires individuals to notify law enforcement immediately of any accident that meets any of the following criteria:
- The accident causes an injury
- The accident causes a death
- The accident causes $1,000 or more in property damage
In addition to calling the police, you must notify the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles of any accident that causes an injury, death or more than $500 in property damage. Failing to report may result in a suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.
Gather the Appropriate Documentation
While waiting for officers to arrive after a car accident, collect information from all other drivers involved in the accident, including the following:
- Full name, address, phone number and email address
- Driver’s license state and number
- Auto insurance company name, policy number and phone number
Use your cell phone to take pictures of each driver’s license, auto insurance card, your vehicle and each additional vehicle involved in the car accident. Don’t rely on verbal communication. Having as much information as possible will only help you and your case later on. Try to keep this exchange as civil and friendly as possible. However, do not apologize for causing the accident or indicate in any way that you think you may have caused it.
Recovering Damages After an Auto Accident Injury
After surviving a car accident, the emotional and economic toll it takes can be staggering. You are not only dealing with the mental anguish that comes with being involved in a crash, but you may also be experiencing severe physical harm as well.
Common injuries associated with motor vehicle accidents include:
- Burn injuries
- Back and neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Brain and head injuries
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
The economic impact of traffic injuries and fatalities is significant in West Virginia. In 2018, the Mountain State incurred roughly $417 million in accident-related economic damages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention breaks this number down into two parts: $3.7 million in medical costs and more than $413 million in lost work due to traffic fatalities and injuries.
Hiring a car accident lawyer ensures you have the financial ability to cover any losses that have occurred as a result of a crash. An auto accident attorney will also help you handle the paperwork that you will have to complete from insurance companies. This boosts your odds of receiving the insurance compensation you deserve.
Auto Accident Laws in West Virginia
Liability Laws for WV
When car accidents happen, it is essential to determine who bears responsibility for the resulting damage and medical bills. Determining fault impacts everything from your insurance claim and level of liability to the amount of confusion you may endure during the claims process.
West Virginia is a fault-based state for the purpose of compensating car accident victims. Consequently, the party who caused the accident must pay for damages. Likewise, pursuant to the state’s comparative negligence statute, you may file a legal claim for your injuries or property damage provided you were less than 50% responsible for the accident.
Statute of Limitations in WV
Each state has its own tort laws that determine the statute of limitations on a claim. In some states, this gives you just one year to file a claim in court, while some others may give you up to six years. For car accidents that happen in West Virginia, the statute of limitations is usually two years. While there are exceptions, this means you must file your legal claim within two years of the date of the accident.
This is why it is important to consult with an attorney immediately after your car crash. Don’t wait and risk losing out on any compensation they can recover.
Work With an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer In West Virginia
After a car accident, you have enough to worry about. We can help you find an auto accident attorney for your unique case. Get the financial restitution that you deserve if you’re the victim of someone else’s conduct.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in WV!