What Are West Virginia’s Car Crash Laws, And How Will They Affect My Injury Lawsuit?
One of the most unique things about our nation is the fact that every state has considerable autonomy when it comes to creating their own laws. West Virginia is no different, and this certainly applies to its laws regarding car accidents. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you should establish a basic understanding of how West Virginia law might affect your ability to recover a settlement. From there, you can proceed with a sense of confidence and efficiency as you pursue the compensation you need for your injuries.
Is West Virginia a No-Fault State?
The first thing you need to know is that West Virginia is an “at-fault” or “tort” state when it comes to car accidents. This means that in order to receive compensation for your injuries, you must establish that they were caused by someone else’s negligence. Proving negligence can be complicated, and you must establish the presence of four main elements:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of Duty
Essentially, this means that the other driver should have been more careful (duty of care), they failed to do this (breach of duty), that failure led directly to your injuries (causation), and your injuries are legitimate (injuries).
The only other option that states may use is a “no-fault” system. This is quite rare, and it allows injured plaintiffs to receive compensation without establishing a negligent cause. While this makes getting compensated easier, it also typically prevents you from claiming non-economic damages like emotional distress and PTSD.
West Virginia’s Comparative Negligence System
West Virginia is also a comparative negligence state, which means that technically speaking, you can sue even if you were to partly to blame for your own injuries. For example, you might have been texting and driving when you were struck by a drunk driver speeding through a red light. In this situation, the state’s comparative negligence system would only reduce your settlement according to your level of fault rather than barring you from compensation entirely.
This is good news, especially when you consider that a handful of states still use the “contributory negligence” system. Under this system, plaintiffs are completely banned from suing even if they are only 1% responsible for their own crashes.
However, it’s also worth noting that West Virginia’s comparative negligence system has limits. This “modified” comparative negligence system could still bar you from compensation if you were over 50% responsible for your own crash.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in West Virginia?
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney, look no further than Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A. We know how confusing car crash laws can be – especially if you’ve never dealt with this situation before. The good news is that once you book your consultation with us, you can let us handle the complicated legal tasks while you focus on healing as best you can. Reach out today for a FREE consultation to review your case.