Car accidents are sudden, traumatic events that can cause injuries and damages that put your life on hold. When this happens because of the negligence of another driver, you can take legal action against them.
It’s also important for you to understand how car accident law works in your state. You’ll have a better idea of what to expect and what you’ll have to do to get a fair settlement.
Comparative Fault Law
West Virginia car accident law has comparative negligence, meaning that both drivers are at fault in some way. According to West Virginia Code 55-7-13c, each defendant is responsible for paying for the amount of damages that they caused because of their fault.
One driver can be more at fault than the other. Fault is assigned in percentages. The driver who is less than 50 percent at fault for the accident can pursue their legal options to recover damages.
If the driver bringing the claim forward wasn’t at fault at all, they could sue for 100 percent of the damages. However, comparative fault means that the driver still had some responsibility for what happened. For example, if the driver was found to be 30 percent at fault for the accident and the other party was 70 percent at fault, then the total number you recover would be what you’re owed reduced by 30 percent.
What Makes a Driver Partially Liable?
In an accident, it may be found that both parties contributed to the collision. While one party may be more liable than another, there are certain behaviors that a driver can exhibit that would make them partially at fault.
If another driver hits someone in a collision, but the other driver was found to do one of the following, they may not be able to recover 100 percent of the damages.
- Distracted Driving. If someone collides with another person, but it was found that the person who was hit was distracted, they can be considered to be partially at fault. Distracted driving includes cell phone use like texting or checking social media. People who are trying to eat and drink, do their makeup, or anything that isn’t related to driving, are distracted.
- Speeding. A person driving over the speed limit can be partially at fault for the accident.
- Tailgating. Driving too closely to drivers around you and ending up in an accident that you didn’t cause could still mean that you have some responsibility for the crash.
While the person may not have caused the accident, these driving behaviors have the potential to make the accident and injuries more severe, which means it could take longer to recover and the person will be missing more work because they made a reckless driving decision as well.
What If You Aren’t Partially Liable?
After an accident, you’re supposed to get out of your vehicle, if you can, and provide help to others if they need it. Then, you need to exchange information so you can contact insurance companies. While the other driver may seem cooperative then, it doesn’t mean that this behavior will continue.
Some drivers may try to insist that you were partially at fault when you really weren’t. This could mean you’d be getting less compensation than you deserve, and the other party would recover money for their wrongdoing. If you weren’t partially at fault for the accident, a West Virginia car accident lawyer from our firm can help you.
We will carefully investigate your case and find out how the other person’s negligence caused the car accident and your injuries, and will be able to show that you didn’t have a hand in contributing to the wreck. Our lawyers will obtain evidence from medical records, recordings of the accident, or any eyewitnesses to the accident that will help prove your case.
Protect Your Rights with DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC
You need to be able to depend on the people helping you with your claim. The skilled lawyers at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC have experience in car accident claims and will do everything to get you the compensation you deserve. If you weren’t at fault but the other party is insisting you were, we’ll do everything to show that they are liable for 100 percent of the damages. You can have peace of mind that we’ll be working tirelessly to get you a fair settlement so you can focus on recovery. If you have ay questions, feel free to contact us today.