Introduction West Virginia Car Accident Lawsuits and Lawyers
Made famous by the John Denver song “Country Roads,” West Virginia is associated with the Appalachian Mountains, coal mining, small towns, and friendly folks. According to the 2013 census, West Virginia boasted a population of approximately 1.8 million people, making it the 38th most populous state in the Union. Given the size of the state and the number of drivers who all share the roads, car accidents are bound to happen. Because major highways connecting the East Coast with the Midwest also pass through West Virginia, roads in the state are also occupied by commercial vehicles and those traveling through the state on their way to another destination. All of this makes it likely that at some point West Virginia drivers will be involved in a car crash.
Statistics About West Virginia Car Crashes
The federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) keeps records on the number of fatal car crashes that occurs in a given state as well as information about the circumstances attendant to these fatal crashes. For its population, NHTSA statistics show that:
- In 2015, 268 people died in fatal car crashes in West Virginia.
- This number represents the continuation of a decline in the number of traffic fatalities that began in 2012, when 339 people were killed.
- Seventy-one of those fatal car accidents involved at least one driver whose breath or blood alcohol concentration was 0.08 or greater.
- Another 66 fatal crashes were believed to have involved excessive speed.
Regardless of the circumstances that lead to a West Virginia car crash, serious injury or death can result (NHTSA’s statistics referenced above do not include the number of individuals who are injured in a car accident). When this occurs, it can be comforting to know that those responsible for causing the crash can be held accountable for their actions. While no amount of money can repair a permanent disability or bring a loved one back to life, this compensation can help ensure that innocent victims are not left to bear the brunt of their losses without assistance.
West Virginia is a Fault-Based State
Drivers in West Virginia who carry insurance and who cause a car accident may find themselves and their insurance carrier the subject of a claim for damages. This is because West Virginia is one of a number of states that follow a “fault based” approach to insurance and compensation. Lawmakers in West Virginia have decided that those who cause injury or loss to another in a car accident should be held responsible for the financial impact of their negligence.
What happens if a car accident in West Virginia is caused in part by the injury victim? West Virginia has a way of addressing this very situation. Under West Virginia law, an injury victim who is partly responsible for causing a crash and/or his or her own injuries may still recover compensation from the other at-fault driver(s) so long as the injury victim is less than 50 percent responsible for the crash. If the injury victim is as responsible or more responsible for causing the crash as the other drivers and parties involved, then he or she may not recover any compensation at all. If the injury victim is found partly responsible, then any compensation he or she would have received will be reduced in proportion to the amount of his or her fault. For example, an injury victim determined to be 25 percent responsible for causing a crash will have any compensation award he or she receives reduced by 25 percent.
West Virginia Time Limitations on Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you or a loved one have been injured in a West Virginia car crash, you must act quickly to protect your legal rights and your ability to pursue a claim for compensation. Like all other states, West Virginia has enacted a “statute of limitations” designed to prevent stale or old claims from being brought up in court if too much time has passed between the injury and the time the case is filed. In West Virginia, this statute of limitations prevents car accident injury claims from being pursued if more than two years have passed between the date of the accident and the date the injury victim attempts to file his or her claim in court. For this reason, injured West Virginia residents should quickly consult with an experienced attorney to help ensure their claims for compensation are timely filed.
Contact Stern Law, PLLC to Discuss Your West Virginia Car Crash
Stern Law, PLLC is an experienced and resourceful West Virginia car accident injury law firm and can help you assert your legal rights following a car crash. Contact Stern Law, PLLC by calling (844) 808-7529 and learn how our firm may be able to help you recover compensation for your car accident injuries, expenses, and losses.