There are about a dozen states that follow the no-fault car insurance system. Under no-fault insurance claims, which are also known as Personal Injury Protection claims, each party’s own insurance company may cover costs of medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault.
West Virginia, on the other hand, is like most other states. It follows the tort system of insurance coverage. If you’ve been injured in a collision in the state, a car accident lawyer can help you understand your rights within a tort system state. To help, we’ve outlined the basics of West Virginia’s auto insurance laws and regulations.
What is a Tort State?
Unlike no-fault states, in a tort state, the at-fault driver is deemed responsible for paying the other motorist’s medical expenses and any other additional damages. These damages may include “pain and suffering” or lost wages from taking time off work to recover from injuries.
In order to have these expenses and damages covered, the driver must first be declared at fault. Negligence laws in the state will help determine fault for an accident, whether it’s one or multiple parties. Once fault is confirmed, responsibility for damages is also confirmed.
Tort states also require motorists to carry liability insurance. This coverage will help pay for any injuries or damages they cause to another person’s vehicle or property.
West Virginia’s Auto Insurance Requirements
In West Virginia, there are specific minimums for liability coverage. For example, the minimum liability amount for property damage is $10,000, for bodily injury for one person it’s $20,000 and for bodily injury for all injuries, it’s $40,000.
If you’ve ever had to spend time in a hospital, you know that $20,000 is really not much coverage. So if you’ve been in an accident where the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage to pay for your medical expenses, a car accident lawyer can help you on the next best course of action.
In addition to these liability minimums, West Virginia requires that all drivers have proof of auto insurance in the vehicle with them at all times. Failure to do so can result in some hefty penalties. For example, the first offense can lead to a 30-day driver’s license and vehicle registration suspension. The second offense could result in a 90-day suspension and fines to reinstate the license.
Additionally, West Virginia all drivers to include uninsured motorist coverage in their auto insurance policy. This will protect drivers in the event that they are hit by another driver without insurance. They will still be able to receive compensation for their injuries and damages by filing a claim against their own company.
How a West Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you’ve been injured in an accident in West Virginia and need help navigating through the state’s specific laws, deadlines and regulations, a qualified attorney can help.
The lawyers at Stewart Bell, PLLC will help you receive adequate compensation from an at-fault driver and will help you deal with your own insurance company if you’re having issues. Please contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you get back on your feet after an accident.