Car accidents are not uncommon in Morgantown. During the latest reporting year in West Virginia, there were 269 fatalities and 1,381 severe injuries due to car accidents. Thousands more sustained less severe, but still costly injuries in car accidents. In the aftermath of a crash caused by another person’s negligence, you may need a Morgantown car accident attorney to help.
The attorneys at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, represent clients in car accidents and other types of personal injury claims. We understand that a car accident can leave you with expensive medical bills, property damage, and lost income, and we can help. If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. Contact our law firm to discuss your case in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Our Car Accident Practice
- Our attorneys have several decades of experience representing clients who have been injured in car accidents. We are dedicated to helping our clients get maximum compensation for their losses. We know that we can’t change the past, but we can help you get the compensation you need to help you recover and move forward after your accident.
- Our law firm has a reputation for getting results in our personal injury cases. We have been recognized by our peers and legal organizations for our excellence in legal advocacy. Our attorneys have been named West Virginia Super Lawyers and Top 100 Trial Attorneys.
- Our attorneys are compassionate legal advocates who are dedicated to serving and protecting our community. We know that our clients rely on our commitment to pursuing justice on their behalf. We provide personalized legal services to every client and work to secure the best possible outcome in every case.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Car Accident
If you have ever been involved in a car accident, then you know the insurance process can be complicated. It can become even more complex when there are injuries involved. In most cases, injured individuals do not have the experience or resources to go up against insurance carriers or other parties involved. Insurance companies notoriously undervalue and undercompensate injury victims who are not represented by an attorney. Unfortunately, settling for an amount that does not cover the extent of your injuries and damages can leave you with unpaid medical bills, lost wages, and other financial damages.
Your Morgantown, WV injury lawyer will be responsible for walking you through the process of a car accident injury case. Your attorney will:
- Obtain all evidence from the crash scene in order to help determine the other driver’s liability. This includes accident reports, video and photo surveillance from the scene, eyewitness statements, and more.
- Work to reconstruct the accident scene with the help of experts if necessary. Thanks to experience and deep roots in the community, our attorneys have access to cutting-edge technology and a network of expert contacts to help with reconstructing the accident and proving causation.
- Obtain your medical records and ensure they are evaluated by a trusted medical professional. Proving the extent of your injuries and how they will impact you in the future is critical to ensure that your claim is accurately valued and the compensation you receive will cover all of your past, ongoing, and future medical expenses.
- Negotiate with all parties involved, including aggressive insurance carriers, to secure the compensation you need for all accident-related injuries. We work with insurance adjusters on a regular basis, and they know that we will encourage our clients to walk away from inadequate settlement offers that do not adequately or fairly compensate them for their losses.
- Prepare your case for trial if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement. We will take the time to continuously prepare your case as it progresses. Our cases are always trial-ready so that we are prepared to go to court if necessary. Also, insurance adjusters often make more generous settlement offers when they know that we are not afraid to take your claim to trial.
Reasons For Motor Vehicle Accidents
While there are countless reasons that car accidents occur, the following are some of the most common causes and contributing factors in car accident cases:
Alcohol and drug-impaired driving are a major concern on roadways in West Virginia. According to the CDC, an average of 120 drunk driving fatalities happen in West Virginia each year.
The rise in technology has coincided with the rise in distracted driving. The most common causes of distracted driving in West Virginia include talking or texting on a cell phone, eating and driving, using a GPS for directions, changing the radio station, or personal grooming.
Driving while fatigued can be just as dangerous as drunk or distracted driving. In many cases, people know they are too tired to drive, yet choose to do so anyway. Fatigued drivers often swerve across lanes of traffic and run stop signs and stop lights.
Reckless driving includes a range of driving behaviors, including changing lanes without warning, driving too fast for conditions, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and more.
Inexperienced drivers are far more likely to be involved in a car accident than more experienced drivers, especially drivers who have spent less than six months on the road.
Drivers are required to follow the rules of the road, but sometimes driving errors occur and accidents happen as a result. Failing to observe traffic signs or lights, failing to yield to another vehicle, wrong-way driving, and failing to check blind spots before turning or making lane changes are common driving errors that lead to car accidents.
Compensation Available After a Morgantown Car Accident
There are various types of compensation available for victims of car accident injuries. This includes both economic and non-economic compensation, such as the following:
- Coverage of your medical bills (current and future) – When someone else caused your injuries, you should not have to pay for medical care, physical therapy, prescription medication, and other accident-related expenses. When injuries are permanent or long-term and they will likely require future medical care, your compensation should also include your anticipated future medical expenses.
- Compensation for lost income if you cannot work – People often have to miss work after a car accident to recover from their injuries. Your personal injury compensation should cover all of your lost wages and any future lost earnings. For example, if your injuries are permanent and limit your ability to work, your compensation should include loss of earning capacity.
- Mental anguish damages – Mental anguish damages are meant to compensate you for your non-monetary losses, such as pain and suffering, disability, and disfigurement. In general, your mental anguish damages increase with the severity of your injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages – When injuries are permanent, you may not be able to do the things you did in the past that you enjoyed and brought you pleasure. Loss of enjoyment damages are meant to compensate you for losses, such as missing out on social and recreational activities and being unable to drive children to school and events.
West Virginia Comparative Fault Laws
West Virginia is what’s known as an at-fault state. Unlike no-fault states where the injured parties first turn to their own insurance companies for compensation in West Virginia, at-fault drivers and their insurance companies are responsible for accident-related injuries and damages. A common defense tactic is to allege that the injured claimant was at-fault or partially at-fault for the accident. Fortunately, West Virginia’s comparative fault law allows injured claimants to recover compensation, even if they were partially at fault for the accident.
Under West Virginia law, anyone who is found to be 49 percent or less at fault in an accident is eligible to recover compensation from liable parties. However, their compensation will be reduced based on their percentage of fault. For example, if a jury awards $10,000 in compensation, but a person is found to be 20 percent at fault, they will only receive $8000 in total compensation.
What To Do After a Car Accident
A car accident can be a scary event. There are several steps you can take that will help preserve your claim and maximize your chances of a positive outcome:
- If it is unsafe or impossible to get to the hospital on your own, call 911 so emergency personnel can respond.
- Make sure anyone who is injured receives medical care, including yourself. Defendants will otherwise argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim because you did not seek medical treatment. They also might argue that your injuries would not have been as severe if you had sought medical care right away.
- Take photos of everything at the scene, including damages, injuries, traffic conditions, weather conditions, and more. However, if you are unable to take photos because of your injuries, your personal injury attorney can investigate the accident and look for evidence that helps your case.
- Take notes on the details of the auto accident. Memories can fade quickly, and before you know it, you might find yourself questioning your recollection of events.
- Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Accident witnesses are often a critical element in proving personal injury claims. Your personal injury attorney will help track down witnesses and interview them accordingly.
- File an initial claim with your insurance carrier. It can be a good idea to let your insurance company know that you were involved in an accident, even if the accident was not your fault. You might need to turn to your insurance company for coverage if the at-fault driver is uninsured or if your losses exceed the driver’s policy limits.
- Contact a skilled Morgantown car accident attorney immediately. Contacting a personal injury attorney is helpful in several ways. Your attorney can discuss your accident and legal options, find and preserve important evidence, and handle all communications with insurance companies and defense attorneys.
You can contact Tiano O’Dell, PLLC for a free consultation by visiting us online or calling us at (304) 720-6700.