Frequently Asked Questions
- What will it cost me to hire an attorney?
- What should I do if I’m involved in a car wreck?
- What is uninsured and underinsured coverage?
- If I make an uninsured or underinsured claim under my own automobile policy, will it increase my premiums?
- How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
- How long do I have to make a claim for injuries?
- What do I do if I am injured by a defective product?
- What should I do if I’m injured in an oil, gas or mining accident?
- Who can make a claim for wrongful death of a family member?
- What are the damages for a wrongful death?
- Can I make a claim for injuries even if I’m covered by workers’ compensation?
- Can I be fired while I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits?
- My insurance company is offering me a nice settlement. Should I take it?
- What do I do if the insurance company refuses to investigate my claim or pay me?
- Why do I need a lawyer?
- What do I do if I am injured or otherwise harmed by a physician?
Q. What will it cost me to hire an attorney?
A. Warner Law Offices PLLC represents its clients on a contingent fee basis. Under this arrangement, the client pays no fees or costs unless his or her case is settled or won.
Q. What should I do if I’m involved in a car wreck?
A. If you are involved in an automobile collision, which was caused by the other party, make sure that the police are called to the scene of the collision. Protect your legal rights by never admitting to wrongdoing or apologizing for your actions. If you are able to do so, simply exchange driver’s licenses, registrations and insurance information with the other driver(s). Ask the law enforcement officer on the scene if you can fill out a motor vehicle accident report form. By having the facts of the accident on file, the law enforcement officer will document the driver’s version of events, as well as the law enforcement officer’s conclusion. You should also immediately seek treatment, as some injuries sustained in automobile collisions are latent, meaning that they are not readily apparent. Contact your insurance carrier and put them on notice of the claim. Warner Law Offices recommends that you contact an attorney to assist in filing a claim and obtaining a recovery on your behalf.
Q. What is uninsured and underinsured coverage?
A. Uninsured and underinsured coverage is coverage that you purchase under your own automobile policy. Uninsured coverage provides you protection if you are injured in an automobile accident and the other party, who is at fault, does not have automobile insurance. Underinsured coverage provides you protection if you are injured in an automobile accident and the other party, who is at fault, does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you for all of your damages.
Q. If I make an uninsured or underinsured claim under my own automobile policy, will it increase my premiums?
A. In most cases, a claim made pursuant to your uninsured and/or underinsured coverage will not increase your premiums. It is the policy of Warner Law Offices to contact the client’s carrier to confirm this information prior to advising a client to filing a claim on his or her own policy.
Q. How do I know if I have a personal injury case?
A. The first requirement of a personal injury case is that you must have suffered an injury to your person or property. Second, your injury must have been the result of someone else’s negligence or fault. However, a physical injury is not always necessary to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Claims may be based on a variety of nonphysical losses as well. Contact Bobby Warner to discuss your issue and determine if you have a personal injury case.
Q. How long do I have to make a claim for injuries?
A. In order to avoid dismissal on the basis of a claim being untimely, a civil lawsuit must be filed within a specified period of time after the accident or dispute occurred. Each state and federal court has its own rules concerning the maximum amount of time that a civil litigant can wait before filing a lawsuit. This time limit is often referred to as the statute of limitations. Claim for injuries received in an automobile accident must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. Claims for injuries resulting from medical negligence must be brought within two years from the date the negligence occurred or within two years from the date that the patient knew, or reasonably should have known of the medical negligence. Thus, it greatly behooves potential litigants to seek the counsel of a lawyer immediately after an accident or dispute to ascertain available options.
Q. What do I do if I am injured by a defective product?
A. A person who is injured by a defective product can recover compensation from the manufacturer or seller of the product under theories of strict liability, breach of warranty and negligence. If you are injured by a product, be sure to keep the product, including any parts of the product that may have broken off. Do not attempt to repair the product. The court can dismiss claims against a manufacturer or suppliers of products if the injured party is not able to produce the defective product for inspection.
The general test for establishing strict liability in tort is whether the product is defective in that it is not reasonably safe for its intended use. The standard of reasonable safeness is based upon what a reasonably prudent manufacturer’s standards should have been at the time the product was made. Once it is shown that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer and that the defect proximately caused the injury, recovery is warranted unless there was conduct by the consumer, which may bar recovery.
Q. What should I do if I’m injured in an oil, gas or mining accident?
A. Warner Law Offices is skilled at handling all aspects of such complex personal injury cases. We have experience with electrocutions, roof collapses, rib rolls, oil rig explosions, malfunctioning equipment on mining sites and much more. Contact us, and we will take care of all the legal details for you and your family.
Q. Who can make a claim for wrongful death of a family member?
A. Only the personal representative of the deceased person can bring and maintain an action for wrongful death. The personal representative must be duly appointed by state. W. Va. Code § 55-7-6.
Q. What are the damages for a wrongful death and who can recover these damages?
A. Damages in a wrongful death claim include the following: (1) Sorrow, mental anguish and solace (which may include society, companionship, comfort, guidance, kindly offices and advice of the decedent); (2) compensation for reasonably expected loss of income of the decedent and services, protection, care and assistance provided by the decedent; (3) expenses for the care, treatment and hospitalization of the decedent; and (4) reasonable funeral expenses. W. Va. Code § 55-7-6.
The potential beneficiaries of the damages received in a wrongful death claim are the surviving spouse and children, including adopted and stepchildren, brothers, sisters, parents and any other persons who were financially dependent upon the decedent at the time of his/her death. W. Va. Code § 55-7-6.
Q. Can I make a claim for injuries even if the injury is covered by workers’ compensation?
A. In West Virginia, an employer is typically immune from suit for injuries covered by workers’ compensation. However, this immunity can be lost if the employer or the person against whom liability is asserted acted with “deliberate intent.” The requirement of “deliberate intent” can be proved if the employer or other person acted with a conscious, subjective and deliberately formed intention to produce the specific result of injury or death to an employee. The requirement can also be satisfied if the trier of fact determines the following:
a. That a specific unsafe working condition existed in the workplace, which presented a high degree of risk and a strong probability of serious injury or death;
b. That the employer had a subjective realization and an appreciation of the existence of such specific unsafe working condition and of the high degree of risk and the strong probability of serious injury or death presented by such specific unsafe working condition;
c. That such specific unsafe working condition was a violation of a state or federal safety statute, rule or regulation, whether cited or not, or of a commonly accepted and well-known safety standard within the industry or business of such employer, which statute, rule, regulation or standard was specifically applicable to the particular work and working condition involved as contrasted with a statute, rule, regulation or standard generally requiring safe workplaces, equipment or working conditions;
d. That notwithstanding the existence of the facts set forth in subparagraphs (a) through (c), such employer nevertheless thereafter exposed an employee to such specific unsafe working condition intentionally; and
e. That such employee so exposed suffered serious injury or death as a direct and proximate result of such specific unsafe working condition.
W. Va. Code § 23-4-2.
Q. Can I be fired while I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits?
A. No. It is a discriminatory practice for an employer to terminate an injured employee while the injured employee is off work due to a compensable injury and is receiving or is eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits, unless the injured employee has committed a separate dischargeable offense. A separate dischargeable offense is misconduct by the injured employee wholly unrelated to the injury or the absence from work resulting from the injury. W. Va. Code § 23-5A-3.
Q. My insurance company is offering me a nice settlement. Should I take it?
A. No. Tell the insurance company that you will get back to it. Contact Bobby Warner at Warner Law Offices immediately. An insurance company may offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you will not sue it. Never take an insurance check without first consulting Bobby Warner to discuss your options.
Q. What do I do if the insurance company refuses to investigate my claim or pay me?
A. In West Virginia, insurance companies are required to perform a reasonable investigation of any claim. If liability is reasonably clear, the insurance company is required to make a fair, prompt settlement offer. Contact an attorney if an insurance company refuses to investigate your claim or make a fair and prompt settlement offer.
Q. Why do I need a lawyer to represent me in my personal injury case?
A. A lawyer’s center of attention is obtaining the maximum damages for you, consistent with the nature of your injuries and losses. Bobby Warner and Warner Law Offices will work hard to protect your interests. Further, Warner Law Offices will investigate all sources of recovery and ensure that your medical expenses are submitted to the proper source for payment.
Q. What do I do if I am injured or otherwise harmed by a physician?
A. If you are injured by the negligence of a physician, you may have a cause of action against the physician. In West Virginia, in order to recover against a physician, a patient must prove that the physician failed to exercise that degree of care, skill and learning required or expected of a reasonable, prudent health care provider acting in the same or similar circumstances and that such failure was a proximate cause of the injury or death. W. Va. Code § 55-7B-3.