A car accident of any severity can leave victims feeling scared and overwhelmed and unsure how to proceed with getting compensated for the injuries and losses they incurred. No one should have to face a car accident situation alone; they deserve the best legal team behind them, fighting for their legal rights.
What Role Does A Car Accident Attorney Play?
The experienced car accident attorneys of Skinner Accident & Injury Lawyers are full-service, handling your whole injury claim so you can focus on recovering.
Our job is to help preserve all available physical evidence, build a solid case proving the negligence of the other driver, help you to get the best medical care possible, hiring experts where needed, and negotiating the best settlement with the insurance company. If we are unable to work with the insurance company to get you full compensation, we will file a lawsuit against them on your behalf.
We work to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries and losses and refuse to back down until that happens. Insurance companies are known for offering the lowest possible settlement and dragging out the case, hoping you will take the lower settlement. We will work to get your claim settled as quickly as possible, in most cases outside of court.
How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
In general, personal injury cases result in average compensation of over $50,000. Personal injury case court awards and settlements often range from $3,000 to $75,000. Each car accident case is unique and will differ in the compensation settlement. The most severe injuries may result in millions of dollars in settlements, typically in cases involving commercial truck accidents.
There are several factors that can determine the outcome of your Charles Town car accident settlement, including the following:
- The severity and extent of the injuries you sustained
- The total of your medical bills
- The level of negligence of the other driver
- How much work you missed
- The impact that the crash had on your life
According to the car accident laws in West Virginia, you may be entitled to receive compensation for various losses you incurred from the car accident you were involved in. At Skinner Accident & Injury Lawyers, we can assist in maximizing the value of your car accident case by placing a value on your losses, including any suffering and losses you are likely to face in the future.
While future damages may be difficult to prove, an experienced car wreck lawyer at the Skinner firm knows West Virginia laws and is prepared to build you a solid case. If you have been involved in a car accident in Charles Town and are interested in receiving a free consultation, contact our dedicated West Virginia car crash attorneys today.
What Damages Can I Claim in A Charles Town Car Accident?
Under West Virginia law, you are entitled to compensation for the damages sustained after a car accident. Damages are the harm or losses you incurred due to another person’s negligence.
Some examples of economic damages you could recover after a car crash in Charles Town includes the following expenses.
You are entitled to compensation for all medical expenses incurred from injuries sustained during the car accident. These expenses can include visits to the doctor’s office, medically necessary surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation treatment, prescription medications, and emergency services, including ambulance rides.
When you have been injured in a car accident, you are likely to be out of work and unable to earn an income. Your attorney will help you calculate your lost earnings to help you receive full compensation. For example, if you make $5,000 a month and are out of work for three months before making a full recovery, your attorney would seek compensation of $15,000.
Lost Earning Capacity
If you are unable to continue performing the job duties you had prior to the car accident, you may be able to recover lost future earnings or the capacity to earn that income. With the help of your attorney, you will need to prove that there was a potential for you to earn that specific amount of money.
These damages are calculated differently than the calculation used for actual wages lost; the judge will estimate your potential earning capacity by taking a comparison of your work abilities before and after your car accident injuries.
Personal Property Damages
After an automobile accident, you will have personal property damage that you may be compensated for. Property damage includes the damage done to your vehicle, including dents to the body, scratches in the paint, damage to the fender or bumper, broken headlights, and broken windows.
This can also include damages to aftermarket upgrades, such as high-end tires, cameras, stereo systems, and other accessories. The diminished value of a motor vehicle after it has been in a crash is a compensable loss for the vehicle’s owner in a car accident case.
The vehicle owner can file for the difference between the car’s value before the accident compared to its current value or for the vehicle’s diminished value. The vehicle owner may also be entitled to compensation for the time they are unable to use their car while it is being repaired. The vehicle owner can be reimbursed for travel expenses, such as a rental car or public transportation.
Any items inside the vehicle at the time of the crash that were destroyed, lost, or damaged can be included in the car accident claim. These may include work equipment, a tablet, a cell phone, camera equipment, or a laptop.
Some examples of non-economic damages available after a car accident in Charles Town include:
Physical Pain and Suffering
Injury victims often experience severe physical pain and suffering after a car accident. Your lawyer will review factors such as how the injuries limit your ability to pursue usual interests or perform daily activities and if the pain is permanent or long-term. Emotional pain and suffering are discussed below.
Loss of consortium
This legal term refers to the loss of benefits to a family member that can include fellowship, association, affection, or fertility issues caused by injuries or death due to a negligent or wrongful act by another person. A close family member or spouse can file a lawsuit for these losses of consortium damages.
Loss of ability to provide household services
After a car accident, you may be unable to continue caring for your household as you did before. It is important that you include every task that you are unable to perform, no matter how big or small. This can include services such as lawn care, household cleaning, bringing trash out, or laundry.
Emotional pain and suffering
Emotional pain and suffering cover a wide variety of damages and can include the following:
- Chronic stress
- General anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Loss of enjoyment of life
It can be difficult to put a dollar value on your emotional pain and suffering, but our experienced lawyers can help you maximize this type of compensation.
West Virginia allows punitive damages to be awarded to a car accident victim if they are able to establish evidence that the at-fault driver acted in one of the following two ways:
- The at-fault driver acted with malevolence toward them, causing them harm.
- The at-fault driver acted with reckless, conscious, or appalling indifference to the welfare, safety, and health of others, and this conduct caused harm to others.
- These damages are given to punish the defendant, not to compensate the injured victim financially.
What Should I Do After a Car Crash in Charles Town?
If you have found yourself injured in a Charles Town car accident, there are many crucial steps you can take to protect your legal rights and your health.
Get Medical Help
Call 911 so dispatchers can send law enforcement to tend to the accident scene. The responding officer will write an official West Virginia Crash Report, documenting their account of the car crash. This report will include information such as the officer’s determination of who was at fault for the accident, injuries caused by the crash, and any damages to the vehicles involved in the crash. West Virginia law requires that if any injuries occur due to an auto accident, you must report the crash.
911 dispatchers will also send emergency personnel to care for any injuries you or your passengers may have sustained. If emergency medical personnel feel that your injuries require further treatment, you should go by ambulance to the nearest hospital and seek necessary medical care. Avoiding medically necessary treatment can lead to further damage, especially if your injuries are internal. If the accident was severe, you could have sustained a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, internal bleeding, or broken bones.
Collect Evidence at the Car Accident Scene
If physically able to, you will want to collect any evidence and information from the crash scene. Getting contact information from involved drivers or eyewitnesses is crucial to your car accident case. This information can include names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information. If any eyewitnesses are available, be sure to ask them to provide you with a recorded statement of what they saw occur at the accident.
Use a smartphone to record the statement if possible. You will want to get any photographs or video of damage to vehicles involved and photos of the accident, location, and anything that may be relevant to your case. Traffic signs, traffic lights, speed limit signs, roadway conditions, and anything of the like could help your case.
Do Not Speak to Anyone Other Than Your Attorney About the Crash Details
When speaking to anyone on the scene, you must be careful of your chosen words. Apologizing or justifying what happened can be misconstrued as taking fault for the accident. Try to remain calm and carefully consider your wording before making contact with anyone.
You must keep the details of the crash or any injuries you sustained between yourself, your doctor, the police, or your car crash attorney. If you speak with an insurance representative or sign any documents prior to discussing it with our car accident lawyers, it can lead to you receiving less than the maximum compensation you deserve.
The knowledgeable car wreck attorneys at Skinner Accident and Injury Lawyers can help you gather evidence at the scene and guide you through the car accident claims process.
How Do I Handle The Insurance Adjusters?
When you are injured in a Charles Town car crash, the at-fault party’s automobile insurance company will likely call you to make a very low offer in hopes that you will accept it and settle quickly. By signing a formal release for a quick settlement payment, you are permanently terminating your legal rights to receive fair compensation.
If you are out of work and need income right away, you may be tempted to accept this settlement. Still, it is essential to remember that if you find yourself requiring future medical care due to accident-related injuries, you will be unable to receive compensation for those medical expenses. So settling your car accident claim too early, it could prevent you from recovering reasonable compensation and obtaining the medical treatment you need to make a full recovery from your injuries.
You do not need to speak with the insurance adjuster; your car accident lawyer can keep all communications between them. If you choose to talk with the insurance adjuster, be careful in the statements you make so they can not use them against you or try to twist them to point the blame on you for the crash.
The insurance adjuster may appear to be friendly and have your best interest in mind when offering you their initial settlement, but it is crucial to remember insurance companies are a business, and their main goal is to protect their bottom line and to minimize their payout. By agreeing to give you higher compensation, the business does not make the profit they desire. They will try to convince you that the offer being made is either a fair settlement or the only settlement offer you will receive. One of our auto accident lawyers can help you determine if the offer you received is reasonable for the damages you incurred.
Common Car Accident Cases We Handle in Charles Town
Our car wreck attorneys are experienced in covering a wide variety of auto accidents in Charles Town, West Virginia. These accidents include the following:
- Drunk driving accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Truck accidents
Charles Town Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions
We understand how overwhelmed you must be feeling. For this reason, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions regarding car accident claims and lawsuits in Charles Town below:
Do I Need to Have Auto Insurance?
Yes, West Virginia requires that you carry automobile insurance in order to drive in the state. The following is the minimum liability coverage that West Virginia residents must carry:
- $25,000 in liability coverage for the bodily injury or death of a single person in an automobile accident that was caused by the driver/owner of the insured vehicle
- $50,000 in liability coverage for the total bodily injury or death for all involved persons in an automobile accident that was caused by the driver/owner of the insured vehicle
- $25,000 in liability coverage for the property damage created per accident caused by the driver/owner of the insured vehicle
Liability coverage is used to pay property damage bills, medical bills, or other costs incurred by injured parties caused by the at-fault driver.
Any driver who does not carry adequate automobile insurance could have their driver’s license suspended, vehicle registration suspended, or possible criminal penalties.
How Long After a Car Accident Do I Have to File a Lawsuit in West Virginia?
West Virginia has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party under West Virginia Code §55-2-12. You should not wait to begin this process because evidence can get lost, and eyewitness testimony can be forgotten. By allowing your attorney to have plenty of time to build your case, you will have a better chance of receiving maximum compensation for your car accident claim.
If, for any reason, you do not become aware of the injuries sustained from a car accident, and they become apparent well after the accident, you are given two years from the date of discovery of the injuries to file a lawsuit.
If you have lost a loved one due to a car accident, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit from the date of their death rather than the date of the accident. Your car wreck attorney can ensure your claim is filed before time runs out.
How Do I Know if I am Required to Report a Car Accident in Charles Town?
West Virginia requires that you report a car accident if there were $500 worth of property damages or if anyone was injured or died.
Free Case Evaluation With an Auto Accident Attorney in Charles Town
Our aggressive Charles Town auto accident attorneys are available to help you after a car crash. We offer free case evaluations to discuss your specific situation and how we can help.
Our goal is to help you navigate and handle the insurance companies to ensure you receive maximum compensation. Contact Skinner Accident & Injury Lawyers today through our online contact form.