Car accidents account for millions of injuries across the United States every year. In West Virginia, we are no stranger to deadly car crashes. In almost every wreck, at least one party is at fault. If you or someone you love was injured in a car crash and believe that another party’s recklessness, disregard for the law, or negligence caused the collision, a West Virginia car accident lawyer can help you determine if you have grounds to seek compensation.
Our committed legal team can help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve for medical bills, property damage, pain and suffering costs, and more. We have more than 150 years of combined experience and have been operating our firm in Charleston, West Virginia for more than 40 years. We always handle our cases as a team, so you will have nine lawyers working on your case instead of working with one individual. We have been included in the list of Best Law Firms by U.S. News & World Report and have an AV Preeminent Rating® from Martindale-Hubbell®.
Auto Accident Cases We Handle
All the attorneys at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress are experienced in handling a wide variety of common car accident cases, including but not limited to:
- Rear-end accidents
- T-bone accidents
- Single-vehicle accidents
- Multi-car pileups
- Head-on collisions
- Road hazard accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Speeding accidents
- Rollover accidents
- Weather-related accidents
- Accidents caused by vehicle defects
- Distracted driving accidents, including crashes caused by texting while driving
West Virginia Car Accident Statistics
Now that you know a bit about our personal injury law firm, let’s talk about your accident. In the United States and in West Virginia, a significant portion of all car accidents happen due to negligence. When a driver gets behind the wheel, they have a legal duty to drive responsibility and not cause harm to anyone else. When that duty is neglected due to careless or reckless acts or negligence, the court system may deem that driver as negligent.
When we understand how accidents are typically caused, we can begin to examine how future crashes can be avoided. Here are some statistics about car accidents in West Virginia:
- In 2015, 268 fatalities resulted from car accidents in West Virginia. This amounts to roughly 14.5 deaths per 100,000 residents.
- This can be compared to the national numbers for that same year. 35,092 people died in car crashes during 2015 nationwide. This amounts to roughly 10.9 deaths per 100,000 individuals. This means that, comparatively, more crashes occur in West Virginia than in many other states in the U.S. Every driver in our state can take actions to improve this statistic.
Common Causes of Car Crashes
By examining the common causes for car crashes in West Virginia, we can learn how to avoid dangerous accidents. Here are just a few of the most common causes:
- Alcohol Impairment – In 2015, 30% of the drivers who died in car wrecks in West Virginia had a BAC at or higher than the legal limit of 0.08. This number is significant and can and should be much lower. Driving behind the wheel while impaired is 100% preventable and should be avoided at all costs.
- Speeding – Speeding is a significant factor to many of West Virginia’s traffic accidents. In 2015, speeding directly caused 66 car crash fatalities. This number may seem rather small, but speeding is also something that is always preventable.
- Distracted Driving – Whether a driver is distracted by a text on their cell phone or their social media feed, their dashboard GPS, a snack they’re enjoying, a dropped item, or a conversation occurring inside the vehicle, distractions cost lives. Crashes caused by distracted drivers claimed over 3,500 American lives in 2015. We should all do our part to focus on the task of driving when behind the wheel.
- Disregarding the Rules of Traffic – When a driver fails to obey the rules of traffic, fails to follow the correct right-of-way laws, follows another vehicle too closely, or drives too fast for weather conditions, etc., accidents can happen. Our traffic laws are in place for a reason.
- Driver Inexperience – Inexperienced drivers are not always familiar with how to avoid a potential accident or may be unfamiliar with West Virginia roads. Newer drivers should approach getting behind the wheel with more caution.
- Driving While Drowsy – Driving when overly tired or drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. There’s no doubting the fact that humans make more mistakes when overtired. We can all work together to avoid accidents caused by being drowsy.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident caused by one or more of the factors above, legal compensation may be available to you. This money can help a family move forward as well as protect future potential victims from being injured in the same way. When a driver acts negligently behind the wheel, sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to ensure they never make that mistake again.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car wreck, the first step is to prioritize the safety of yourself as well as any fellow passengers. Get safely off the road and call 911 immediately. Ensure everyone gets the medical care they need. When it’s safe to do so—and only when it’s safe to do so—proceed with the following steps:
File a police report. In the state of West Virginia, a police report will typically be filed regardless if one is requested, but it doesn’t hurt to doublecheck to ensure one is completed. You’ll need this report when filing a claim or settlement.
Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s). When completing this step, keep the conversation simple and to the point. Do NOT let your emotions get the best of you and/or attempt to talk about fault during this period. Anything you say can be held against you later if your claim goes to court.
Speak to any witnesses who saw the accident. Ask for their account of the accident and if they’re comfortable giving you their contact information. Witnesses can be integral to a strong testimony if your case is presented before a judge.
Contact your insurance company. Report the accident, but don’t agree to any premature settlements—especially if you feel you were not at fault for the accident. You and your family deserve a fair settlement offer. If the offer you receive doesn’t seem accurate or fair, don’t agree to it. You have every right to contact a lawyer regarding your other options before agreeing to anything.
Don’t speak with the other driver’s auto insurance company before consulting a personal injury attorney. You should not give medical authorization to that company or discuss your medical condition with one of their representatives. Instead, your first step should be to call a trusted West Virginia car accident lawyer from our firm.
We suggest that you talk to us before contacting any insurance companies. Your insurance provider may not give you the settlement that you can collect when you have a skilled Charleston car accident lawyer on your side. We can assist you in working toward the highest settlement offer possible.
Hire a West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer with Years of Experience
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, we know what it takes to obtain damages above a typical insurance settlement. If you need compensation to cover your medical expenses, missed work time, and/or emotional damages, we can help. Our goal is to serve your best interests.
We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you won’t have to pay a dime until we obtain compensation for you. We serve injured victims and their families in Charleston and throughout the entire state. Call us today to set up a free case evaluation with a West Virginia car accident lawyer at our firm. With our help, recovery is in your future.