Charleston Car Accident Attorney

The most recent statistics from the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) indicate that there are 1,242,767 licensed drivers in West Virginia with 704,232 vehicle titles. Many people statewide need to rely on automobiles to get them to and from various destinations all over West Virginia, and accidents are common occurrences, but anybody who suffers injuries or loses a loved one in a crash will want to be sure to speak with a skilled Charleston car accident attorney.

The DMV also reports that there were 34,056 crashes causing 9,063 total injuries, including 906 serious injuries and 260 fatalities in West Virginia. The aftermath of any car accident can be an incredibly challenging period for the average person to navigate by themselves, which makes legal representation that much more important because you will want to have a lawyer working to ensure that you can obtain every last dollar of financial compensation that might be available to you.

Common Types of Car Accidents

The simple truth remains that every single car crash will be different, always involving different people and different vehicles with a wide variety of possible outcomes. Whereas some collisions may only result in minor damage to vehicles without any injuries, many other accidents can cause debilitating injuries that will drastically affect the lives of the people involved for several months or even years.

Speeding crashes are certainly one of the most common kinds of motor vehicle accidents because many drivers operate above the posted speed limits, and individuals who are driving too fast will subsequently be unable to come to complete stops when necessary in emergency situations. Drivers who are speeding are thus more likely to cause collisions and are often considered negligent and liable for damages in these cases.

While many people have concerns about the ability to prove another driver was speeding, there are actually many different forms of evidence that can help prove this accusation. For example, a motor vehicle may have an electronic data recorder (EDR) or black box, and data on the black box in the car’s diagnostic link detector (DLC) can prove a driver was speeding.

It can also be possible to point to circumstantial evidence, such as skid marks on the road or the debris from an accident that can indicate speeding. Some other drivers can also have dashboard cameras, and perhaps most valuable can be the statements of witnesses to an accident.

Another common kind of car accident can be a blind spot collision, which is the result of a driver not checking their blind spots before performing a lane change or turn. Witnesses can again be beneficial in these cases, but other types of evidence that may be applicable can include any surveillance video of the crash scene and the simple locations of the vehicles involved. 

Other common kinds of car accidents may include:

  • Multiple-vehicle accidents
  • Single-vehicle accidents
  • Low-speed car accidents
  • Intersection accidents
  • Left or right-turn accidents
  • Lane change or merging accidents
  • Head-on collisions 
  • Rear-end collisions 
  • Side impact accidents 
  • T-bone accidents 
  • Sideswipe accidents 
  • Hit-and-run accidents
  • Rollover accidents
  • Highway accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Uninsured or underinsured accidents
  • Work zone or highway construction crashes
  • Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare accidents
  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Fatal car crashes

Causes of Car Accidents in Charleston

Even when you are completely confident that another driver was at fault for your collision, you should know that the insurance company for the other driver is going to do everything it can to minimize its liability. For example, an insurer can concoct reasons to suggest you were somehow at fault for causing a crash.

When fault is abundantly clear, then an insurance company may be quick to try and offer you a lump-sum settlement to resolve your case. You have every right to decline such an offer, and you should decline it because chances are very high that whatever the proposal is for will be well short of to which you are actually entitled.

There are several possible causes of car accidents in West Virginia, and certainly one of the most unfortunately common reasons remains people driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs. The DMV report found 1,585 alcohol-related crashes causing 1,018 injuries and 70 fatalities.

A person who causes a traffic accident after committing a DUI offense will usually face criminal charges. A criminal case will be completely separate from your own civil case against the negligent driver, however, meaning that a driver who avoids a criminal conviction in a case where a prosecutor has to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt can still be civilly liable for damages because the burden of proof will be much lower. You only need to prove their negligence by a preponderance of the evidence.

Some of the other frequent causes of car accidents can include, but are not limited to:

  • Drivers running stop signs or stoplights
  • Driver fatigue
  • Motor vehicle defects
  • Reckless or aggressive driving
  • Improper lane changes or turns
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Wrong-way driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Road rage
  • Tire blowouts
  • Tailgating
  • Inclement weather conditions
  • Potholes or other dangerous road conditions

West Virginia Accident Injuries

Many people who are involved in car crashes can sustain injuries with serious long-term implications. It is critical for all victims to be sure that they quickly obtain medical attention following any accident because you will not only want to ensure your own health, but you will also need to create a medical record as soon as possible after a crash so you can have evidence to give to an insurance company or later use in court.

Undoubtedly one of the most common kinds of car accident injuries is whiplash, which can be an incredibly painful neck injury. People who suffer whiplash can be dealing with a loss of range of motion in their neck, possible headaches, dizziness, and pain that might spread all the way to their arms.

Many insurance companies are immediately skeptical of whiplash claims, so you will have considerable difficulty when you are seeking compensation on your own for a whiplash claim. You will want to have an attorney on your side who can get the proper diagnosis from your medical care provider and use that evidence to seek full and fair compensation for you.

Other common kinds of injuries stemming from car accidents can include:

  • Back injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Leg injuries
  • Arm injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Skull fractures
  • Closed head injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries 
  • Paralysis 
  • Fractures or broken bones 
  • Contusions
  • Concussions 
  • Lacerations
  • Herniated discs
  • Joint damage
  • Sprains and strains
  • Burn injuries 
  • Scarring
  • Internal injuries 
  • Permanent nerve injuries 
  • Amputations

When a person dies in a motor vehicle accident, then their family is right to believe that they have the right to recover damages for all of the losses with which the family is now dealing. West Virginia Code § 55-7-5 is the state law providing people with the right to file wrongful death claims.

The catch here is that West Virginia Code § 55-7-6 establishes that a deceased person’s personal representative must file a wrongful death claim, which basically means the executor of their estate. Wrongful death cases can involve damages that are otherwise not available in personal injury cases, such as costs of burial and funerals, loss of a deceased person’s services, protection, care, and assistance, and lost income and benefits.

Damages for Car Accidents in West Virginia

The awards victims recover in car accident cases are known as damages, and compensatory damages intend to restore people to their original condition through both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to actual and calculable losses that can be proven, while non-economic damages are much more subjective kinds of losses, usually relating to mental or physical injuries that do not have financial value.

One of the most common kinds of economic damages in any car accident case will be property damage because victims often have considerable damage to their motor vehicles. A negligent driver can be liable for the costs of all repairs to a damaged vehicle or possibly even replacing the vehicle if it is totaled.

Other common kinds of economic damages may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Costs of long-term care
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Rehabilitation expenses

With non-economic damage awards, a basic loss of enjoyment of life can be one common kind of award because some accident victims are dealing with injuries that dramatically impact their ability to partake in a number of activities they once engaged in regularly. Other kinds of non-economic damages can include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement

Punitive damages are also possible in certain car accident cases, but such awards are relatively rare and not easy to prove. A punitive damage award is more about punishing a negligent party for particularly egregious misconduct than it is about compensating a victim.

You again need to demonstrate considerable restraint in your interactions with any other driver’s insurance company following a car accident and be sure that you do not sign any forms or make any recorded statements until you have a lawyer. Try to retain legal counsel and let them deal with an insurer for you.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Charleston Car Accident Attorney 

If you suffer severe injuries or your loved one dies in a car accident in West Virginia, you need to take quick action to seek legal representation because you are only going to have a limited amount of time to hold a negligent driver accountable. Cary Law Office fights to help every client get justice following a car crash, and we know how to deal with insurance companies so you will not have to worry about a thing.

Our firm features a lawyer serving on the Board of Governors for the West Virginia State Bar and an attorney who is a member of the West Virginia Association for Justice and a national member of the American Association for Justice paralegal society. Call (304) 804-6369 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in West Virginia.