At its most basic level, a car accident comes down to the responsible driver having to pay damages suffered by the driver who was innocent. Unfortunately, these cases rarely proceed in such a straightforward fashion, which can present a nightmare for those who desperately need the compensation owed to them for the debilitating injuries they have suffered.
Understanding a bit about how these cases progress can help you to prepare for what lies ahead, and keep the faith while you seek remuneration for damages to which you’re entitled under the law. Learn the basics of a car accident case, how it proceeds, what your options for compensation are, and why you need an auto accident attorney.
The first step in getting compensation for your auto accident is determining who is at fault for the injuries suffered. This requires proving negligence on one driver’s part. Proving negligence essentially works by proving that one driver violated the responsibility we all have to not put others in danger (which is legally referred to as a duty of care) and that their violation of that duty directly resulted in you getting hurt.
There are, thus, three factors involved in negligence:
- Drivers owe each other a duty of care
- One driver acted irresponsibly, which was a violation of that duty
- Another person was hurt as a result of that irresponsible (negligent) action
West Virginia has adopted a concept of comparative fault in these cases. This means that it’s possible for both drivers to be in some way responsible for the accident, and the amount of compensation awarded depends on the degree of negligence on each side.
For example, assume an accident occurs and the plaintiff’s injuries are worth $100,000. The courts, however, find that the defendant was only 70% responsible for the accident and that the circumstances show the plaintiff shares 30% of the responsibility. The plaintiff could only recover $70,000 (70%) of that $100,000.
Collect Damages with an Auto Accident Attorney
The existence of comparative fault can make it trickier to collect damages in an auto accident case. Insurance companies will go to lengths to reduce the responsibility borne by their client, and consequently the money they have to pay for your injuries. From claiming you were responsible for trying to show that you aren’t as hurt as you claim, they’re experienced at reducing the value of your claim.
That’s why it’s important to have someone equally experienced in your corner who can counter their accusations and make sure that everyone involved remembers you’re the innocent one. You have rights, and they deserve to be protected. That’s where a qualified auto accident attorney comes into the picture. Attorneys like those at Stewart Bell, PLLC have for years stood up for our clients against aggressive insurance company tactics and have come out on top. We can help to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve for your accident. Just give us a call today for more information or to schedule a time we can sit down and review your case at no charge!