When you suffer an injury or an illness because someone else behaved in a negligent manner, a Salem injury lawyer may be able to help you get compensation. Personal injury laws are complicated in West Virginia, and there are some things you need to understand before you file a lawsuit or an insurance claim.
Types of Claims Handled by Salem Injury Lawyers
Personal injury law covers a broad range of accidents and injuries some of which include:
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Pedestrian Accident
- Workplace Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Wrongful Death
The basis of a personal injury claim is that someone acted in a manner which is not reasonable. For example, a drunk driver, an untrained worker, an unprovoked attack in a parking lot, or an attack upon a child by a dog.
Common Types of Accidents Which Result in Personal Injury Claims
Not every injury or illness is the result of someone’s careless behavior. Some of the common areas where someone may suffer an injury due to negligence include:
- Pedestrian injuries — a pedestrian who is struck in a crosswalk because a driver was not paying attention is one type of accident which could have been avoided.
- Oil and gas injuries — when a piece of equipment fails, or the workers at an oil and gas operation are not properly trained, the victim may have the ability to file a negligence lawsuit.
- Car accident injuries — if you were injured in a Salem car accident you may have a claim against the driver who caused the accident.
- Dog attack injuries — owners have a strict responsibility for any harm their animal causes to another person.
These are a few of the types of claims a Salem injury lawyer can help a victim with.
Understanding West Virginia Personal Injury Law
When you suffer an injury and you suffer financial losses, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Some of the basic information a Salem injury lawyer will explain to you includes:
- Statute of Limitations — this is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit following an injury. Per West Virginia Code (WVC) §55-2-21 you have two years from the date of your injury to file a claim.
- Liability for Injuries — before a victim may file a personal injury lawsuit, they must be able to demonstrate that a third party was responsible for their injury.
- Limits on Collecting Compensation — in all but the most extreme cases, your claim for injuries following an accident may be limited by the amount of insurance the responsible party has available. There may be exceptions to this which a Salem injury lawyer can explain to you.
- Comparative Negligence Rule — West Virginia has a modified comparative negligence rule. This means that if more than one person, or the victim is responsible for an injury, the fault is shared by percentages. This is more clearly defined in WVC §55-7-13a. Your attorney can help you understand what impact this will have on your specific case.
Steps to Protecting Your Rights Following an Injury
Anytime you have suffered an injury which is someone else’s fault, you need to take steps to protect your own rights. Some of these include:
- Reporting the accident — workplace accidents should be reported to a supervisor, car accidents to law enforcement agencies, and medical malpractice injuries should be reported to the medical facility where they occurred.
- Seeking medical attention — regardless of how minor your injuries are, you should always seek medical attention. Make sure the physician is aware of how your injuries occurred.
- Obtain witness information when applicable — if there was a witness to the accident which resulted in your injury, their name and contact information could be helpful.
- Photographs — if it is possible to photograph the scene of a car accident as well as road signs in the area. Pictures may help bolster your case when filing an injury claim.
These are a few of the things which you can do to protect yourself after an accident. Victims should also refrain from admitting any fault, avoid social media posts about the accident, and make sure they follow up with all medical appointments which are scheduled to treat their injury.
Dealing with an Insurer or Hiring a Salem Injury Lawyer
Some accident victims, particularly car accident victims, feel their best bet is filing an accident injury claim directly with the insurer of the at-fault party rather than hiring an attorney. This may not prove to be the best option for many victims.
When an insurance company receives a claim, they have an interest in making sure they pay as little as possible to the injured party. Therefore, they will take steps to minimize the claim. This means victims may not be able to obtain a settlement which will result in them being made financially whole following an injury or illness.
Victims generally do better when they hire a Salem injury lawyer because an attorney:
- Has a full understanding of civil lawsuits
- Understands the best way to negotiate with an insurance company
- Can help obtain evidence which supports your claim
- Negotiate with insurers on your behalf
Suffering an injury because of someone’s negligent behavior is frustrating. Victims should be able to focus on their recovery while a Salem injury lawyer fights to get them the compensation they are entitled to collect for their injuries.
Contact us right away for a free case review.