West Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer
Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
If you or your family member was recently involved in a serious motor vehicle wreck, the future can seem incredibly uncertain. How will you afford your medical bills, especially if your injuries prevent you from working for weeks, months, or even years? When will you be able to get your car repaired or replaced? Who is responsible for your pain and suffering, and what can you do to hold them accountable?
At Warner Law Offices, PLLC, we understand the many challenges auto accident victims face. Our goal is to help you get back on your feet and recover the maximum compensation you are owed. In West Virginia, you can file a motor vehicle accident claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party and seek financial reparations for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic and non-economic losses. It is important that you talk with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your options and protect your rights. Your attorney can handle the details of your case—including preparing for litigation and trial, if necessary—so that you can focus on what matters most: healing.
Motor Vehicle Accident Cases We Handle
Since 2000, Warner Law Offices, PLLC has been representing victims of all types of motor vehicle and automobile accidents in Charleston and throughout the entire state of West Virginia.
We routinely assist clients who have been injured or who have lost loved ones due to the following:
- Passenger car crashes
- SUV and pickup truck wrecks
- Bicycle-vehicle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Commercial vehicle collisions
- Dangerous roadways
- Distracted drivers
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Logging truck wrecks
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian-vehicle accidents
- Semi-truck and 18-wheeler crashes
- Work zone accidents
- Auto defects
We provide prompt, professional service and work to ensure that every aspect of your claim is thoroughly investigated, documented, and presented for payment against the at-fault driver’s insurance company or another liable party. We have helped victims of all types of accidents, occurring in all types of locations and leading to a wide range of injuries—and we have what it takes to fight for you, too.
How West Virginia’s At-Fault System Can Affect Your Claim
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, most states follow either a no-fault or fault-based system for recovery. West Virginia follows a fault-based system, also known as an at-fault or tort system. What this means is that, while drivers are required to carry minimum liability insurance, they are not required to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. While Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage is available to West Virginia drivers, it is also not mandatory.
What does this mean for your claim?
It means that, if you have not elected to purchase MedPay and do not have other applicable forms of insurance coverage other than the minimum liability requirements, you will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company after a crash to receive compensation for your medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost wages, and other damages. This means you have to prove that the other person or party was to blame for the crash that caused your injuries and losses.
This is true of nearly all motor vehicle accidents, including those involving distracted or drunk drivers, rideshares like Uber and Lyft, commercial vehicles, and collisions with bicyclists and pedestrians. While the at-fault party may differ from the liable party in some cases, you will still need to prove that someone else is responsible.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
In some cases, automobile accidents are the sole fault of a single driver. However, more often than not, multiple contributing factors play a role. The state of West Virginia recognizes that two or more drivers may share some of the fault for an accident, and that this should not bar an injured party from recovering compensation.
Comparative negligence is a rule that allows an individual to file a personal injury claim even if they share some of the blame for the accident or event that caused the injury. Under the pure comparative negligence rule, it does not matter how much of the blame you are assigned as long as it is shared; you can file a claim for damages even if you are 99% at fault. In states that follow a modified comparative negligence rule, however, which includes West Virginia, you can only file a claim if you are found to be less than a certain percentage to blame.
Under West Virginia’s modified comparative negligence rule, you can file a motor vehicle accident claim if you can prove that you were less than 50% at fault for the crash. If you are found to be partly at fault, regardless of the degree of fault, your total recovery will be reduced in direct proportion to your at-fault percentage. So, for example, if the court finds you 25% to blame for the crash that caused your injuries, your total recovery will be reduced by 25% and you will only be able to receive up to 75% of the total amount you would have otherwise received.
What to Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident
After a serious motor vehicle accident, you may feel disoriented, frightened, and overwhelmed. One of the best ways to regain control of your situation is to know the steps to take after an accident.
At Warner Law Offices, PLLC, we help clients throughout West Virginia understand what to do after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident. Below, we’ve outlined some basic steps you should take to protect your health, safety, well-being, and rights.
After any type of motor vehicle or auto accident, try to do the following:
- Get Medical Treatment: The most important immediate step is to seek medical treatment. You may need to call 911 and have an ambulance transport you to the hospital. Some injuries do not appear right away, so you should seek treatment even if you do not feel pain.
- Call the Police: Call the police to have them document the scene and file an official report; in West Virginia, you are required by law to report any accident that results in bodily injury, death, or property damage of more than $1,000.
- Document the Scene: Get the name and contact information of the other party or parties involved in the crash. Write down their names, license plate numbers, phone numbers, and insurance information. Take the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene.
- Notify the DMV and Your Insurance Company: You are required to report accidents resulting in injury, death, or property damage of more than $500 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You should also notify your insurance company about the crash right away.
- Do NOT Make Any Recorded Statements: The other driver’s insurance company may contact you for a statement, but do not speak to them. Insurance companies do not always offer fair settlements to accident survivors.
- Contact a Lawyer: The best way to protect your rights after a serious accident is to reach out to an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you file your claim and seek fair compensation for your losses. Your attorney can also help you prepared for trial if necessary.
Our West Virginia auto accident attorneys are happy to answer any questions you may have after a serious motor vehicle collision. We provide free initial consultations and do not charge any attorney fees unless we recover compensation for you.
We Prepare Every Case for Trial
Because we take a variety of personal injury cases to trial, we work hard to preserve evidence, identify and interview witnesses, and get expert support to describe and explain your injury claims. Typically, we do settle the majority of auto cases for a fair value.
However, we never assume that a satisfactory settlement can be reached with an insurance company shortly after the accident. Our thorough preparation protects your interests at trial if we cannot resolve your claim on favorable terms. At Warner Law Offices, PLLC, our auto accident clients are never forced to split the difference with an insurance company because we missed an opportunity to document your claims correctly for presentation at trial.
Underinsured? Uninsured? We Can Help You.
We handle all types of complex and unique motor vehicle accident cases, including those involving underinsured or uninsured drivers, hit-and-run accidents, drunk drivers, and accidents that result in severe or disabling injuries. We also know how to find additional defendants in many situations so that the limits of the other driver’s insurance coverage will not necessarily represent the high end of what you can expect to recover.
If you or your loved one was involved in a serious accident, do not hesitate to contact our firm and speak to our attorneys about your rights. In West Virginia, you typically only have two years from the date of the crash to file your motor vehicle accident lawsuit—the sooner we can get started on building your case, the better.