Injured In A Car Accident In West Virginia? Know Your Legal Rights!

Kingwood Car Accident

Morgantown WV car accident

Take a moment to reflect back on what happened at the instant of the collision, while your mind and body were still in the process of reacting to the traumatic event. Your initial thoughts most likely turned to immediate needs like assessing your own physical condition and, if possible, deciding whether to stay in the vehicle or get out of it. You may have called 911 to report the collision and requested emergency medical support. You may have even been able to check on the physical condition of the other persons involved in the collision. If you were coherent and realized some unsafe condition still existed, like your vehicle being in a dangerous position on the road, or you smelled gasoline, you may have felt that you needed to take additional steps to protect yourself and others from further injury.

Little consideration, if any, was probably given to how you thought others would view your immediate reactions to the collision and the actions you took immediately following the collision. All your actions or omissions (your failure to act) will have an effect on your ability to pursue your legal rights for full and fair compensation for your injuries.

West Virginia law provides that you have two years from the date of the auto collision to take legal action (i.e., file a lawsuit) against responsible individuals and companies, including insurance companies, to seek compensation for the damages (i.e., your injuries and losses) you sustained in the auto collision. If your child is injured in a collision, your child will have two years from the date of adulthood to file such claim. Waiting until your child is an adult, however, creates a significant loss of evidence you will need to prove your child’s claim. For adults, if you do not file a lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations period, your claim will be forever time barred.

Two years may sound like a long time from now, but believe me, it is not when considering all the things that must be done to secure your legal rights against the responsible parties. Every day that you wait to seek legal counsel equates to a loss of opportunity to obtain full compensation for your injuries. In reality, it is the first 60 to 90 days following your auto collision that will make or break your case. It is within this shorter time period that necessary evidence and testimony must be secured, treatment rendered and medical opinions obtained.

If you wait until after this time period has passed, and you have not developed your claim properly, it will make the job of even a good lawyer very hard to obtain a full recovery for you. Worse yet, if you wait until close to the two-year statute of limitations period to consult with a lawyer, it is almost guaranteed that your claim will be compromised. It is somewhat like getting cancer diagnosed early — your chances of improvement are greater the earlier the diagnosis is made. So, don’t wait to get your legal claim diagnosed by a qualified lawyer.

In a typical auto injury case, the injured person is entitled to pursue compensation for their past and future pain and suffering, past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and their loss of enjoyment of life. If the injuries are very serious and diminish the relationship with a married spouse, loss of consortium (physical and emotional intimacy and services) da-ages may be awarded to the spouse for those losses they have sustained stemming from your injuries.

Finally, if the at-fault driver was intoxicated or was guilty of grossly negligent behavior, punitive damages may also be awarded in a court of law. With each category of damages, however, there are complex laws and trial court procedures that must be strictly followed in order to prove your injuries in a court of law.

If you are unrepresented, there will be no one to advise you on the law and to ensure that you have met all your legal obligations — any failure on your part to follow these strict rules will have an adverse impact on your auto injury claim. Remember, only those damages that can be proven in a court of law will be considered for compensation.

West Virginia Accident Lawyers:  We would be glad to personally answer your questions.

This information has been provided by the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC as a public service and does not in any way establish a lawyer/client relationship, but if we can be of any further assistance to you, it would be our pleasure to speak with you personally about your injury claim.  Visit us at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC, West Virginia Injury Lawyers.

We provide free books to WV accident victims — Call us today: 304-216-6695 or 304-594-1800 for your free copy of Righting the Wrong: WV Serious Injury Guide; Collision Care: WV Auto Injury Guide; or Beside Still Waters: WV Fatal Injury Guide for Families. We are glad to answer your questions.  Call 304-594-1800 today.

 

Don’t Wreck Your Personal Injury Claim

Above all, be Honest!

The number one way to ruin your otherwise legitimate claim is to lie about anything that relates to your claim. The veracity, that is the truthfulness of your story of your injury, has to be ultimately believed by a jury, and if you lie about even a seemingly insignificant thing, you may not be believed about your injury.

As a true illustration, a client lied to the police about who was driving the vehicle to shield blame from the actual driver who wasn’t supposed to be driving. Irrespective of whether my client or her friend was the driver, it should not have mattered since the collision was caused by the driver of the other vehicle who ran a stop sign. The insurance company and defense lawyer used the lie to refute my client’s injury claims, even though her injuries were legitimate, permanent, and painful. Ultimately, the jury did not fully believe the magnitude of the client’s injuries because she had lied to the police.

If you are the type of person that doesn’t like this type of confrontation, you are going to feel nervous when the insurance adjuster calls to have a chat about your injury claim.  Sure, you want to tell the truth, but you also want to receive just compensation, and the questions that are asked make you feel uncomfortable (if not intimidated).  When it comes to giving information that will be scrutinized by the insurance adjuster and defense lawyer, guessing about information is not a good idea. You will be characterized as someone who just “makes up” information to fit their financial motives, or worse, you will be considered a liar.Car in snow in ditch

While lying is an act of commission, that is what you do say knowing it is untrue; concealing information is an act of omission, which is what you didn’t say knowing it to be true. Both are wrong and both will ruin your auto injury claim. Before you decide to discuss your case with the insurance adjuster you ought to give careful consideration to the difficulties you will face without legal counsel. It is easy to get confused and say the wrong thing when the insurance adjuster is firing questions at you and you feel the sense of urgency to answer each one, hoping your responses will satisfy the insurance adjuster. Take my word for it, the insurance adjuster is laying traps for you to fall into and will allow you to hang yourself if you are not very careful.

Don’t Exaggerate or Minimize Your Injuries

If you try to play your injuries down, like a lot of people do, you will not be taken seriously. And when your injuries don’t get better, you will be accused of being a malingerer (a person who fakes their injuries). But, on the other hand, if you exaggerate at all the symptoms of your injuries at the outset, you will be labeled as a faker or money-grubber. For instance, if you are losing quality sleep because of neck pain from the auto collision, you should not say that you haven’t slept a wink for two nights. You should say you have tried to sleep, but could not get restful sleep because of the neck pain. Because your symptoms change, sometimes day to day, it is not advisable to speak with an insurance adjuster early on after your auto collision. Of course, it is best to consult an attorney before you speak with an insurance adjuster.

When you visit the emergency room or medical express clinic for your injuries you are routinely given a form that tells you what is expected of you in treating your injuries. If you are prescribed medications it is expected that you will promptly go to a pharmacy and fill the prescription and take the medicine. If you don’t, you will not be taken seriously when you tell an adjuster or jury that you had pain. Likewise, if the physician instructs you to apply hot or cold compresses to your neck and stretch every day, and you don’t, others will minimize your injuries.

Many people work in pain, even with a lot of pain. I know many persons who have worked for years with chronic, constant pain. But early on in your assessment, if you attempt to do normal things in pain, you will be viewed as normal. Pain is invisible; nobody can see your pain. What they can see is how you respond to the pain. So if your conduct resembles that of a normal person, even though you are in pain, your injury will be minimized and so will your compensation.

Don’t Give a Recorded Statement or Sign Anything without Counsel

We have all watched the news programs that tell of the latest investigations or indictments for wrongdoing. Have you noticed how many times the newscaster stated that the accused or involved party was unavailable for comment, or they have no comment? Well, there’s a good reason for this – they don’t have all the information and they know that if they say something wrong, it will be used against them. I have previously explained the hidden dangers of giving a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster. There are times when giving a recorded statement to an adjuster may be in your best interest, but only an experienced lawyer will know when to do so.

When you are injured in an auto collision, which was not your fault, you are viewed in the eyes of the law as a victim. The insurance adjuster, however, doesn’t view you as a victim, but a claimant, a money-grubber (someone who is motivated to get something they don’t deserve). The more the insurance adjusters cheat you out of your recovery, the more applause and promotions they receive. When you are told that you won’t get any recovery until you sign a medical release, you feel like you don’t have any choice in the matter. But when you sign the medical release, an entire world of your personal information is given to the individual who looks on you as a money-grubber, and your records will be used to prove it. I have seen this scenario work out hundreds of times. The motivation of the insurance company to get your records is to disprove or minimize your claim. Additionally, all your medical history will be recorded on national insurance indexes that the insurance industry uses to defeat claims. You have to ask yourself whether giving the insurance adjuster access to all your medical records is necessary and wise.

Hire a Good Lawyer

There is a common saying in the practice of law, “Don’t hire yourself to act as your own lawyer.” The reason for this is that the client lacks objectivity. Objectivity means that you can analyze the law correctly and evaluate the facts of the case in a neutral way. That way you are not overlooking a key weakness in your case. I have known many who represented themselves, and even filed their own lawsuits, but in the end finally come around to the obvious need to have a professional oversee and handle their legal matters. If you had a common cold, you would likely go to the local grocery store and buy some cold medicine. But if you had a severe laceration on the leg, you wouldn’t likely stitch your leg. Many people try to represent themselves because they think it will be like treating a common cold. By the time they realize that a professional is needed, a lot of damage to their claim has already occurred.

By now you know that handling your own auto injury claim has significant challenges, and you decide to hire a lawyer. Keep in mind, though, not every lawyer who takes personal injury cases has the necessary experience to provide excellent representation. There are plenty of average lawyers who are looking for quick answers to solve their client’s complex problems, because they don’t have the experience and knowledge to answer their own questions. Hiring an inexperienced, but well-intended lawyer, to handle your case will be no substitute for an experienced lawyer with a thorough knowledge of auto injury law, and trials and appeals. And, if you expect to collect any money from the insurance company, you had better hire a lawyer that knows insurance law, too. Without question, having no lawyer is a worse mistake than hiring an inexperienced lawyer. But since you are wisely choosing to hire a lawyer, hire a good one.

Not Deciding is a Decision regarding your Injury Claim

Last, but not least, you will sabotage your claim if you remain undecided. This often resembles “doing nothing” about your claim. The problem is that “doing nothing” is actually “doing something” after all, but not the “something” that will help your case. While you wait week after week, month after month, the clock is ticking on the statute of limitations on your claim, witnesses vital to your claim are not interviewed and move out of the area.  Furthermore, evidence about the collision is destroyed, the police officer can’t remember the collision anymore, the time period when you are expected to seek treatment has passed, and a whole host of other negative things happen to your claim while you are making no decisions. So, as it turns out, waiting around for things to get better on their own actually worsens the situation. Many individuals, though, have difficulty taking the first step to meet with a lawyer. You’ll be glad you did.

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC:  We’re here to help.

If we can be of any further assistance to you, it would be our pleasure to speak with you personally about your injury claim.  To learn more about car accident injuries or other injury claims, click here  or call our law office at 1-304-594-1800.

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WV Worker Killed in Elevator Accident at Preston Memorial Hospital

A Tunnelton, WV man died instantly Monday morning in an elevator shaft at Preston Memorial Hospital while on duty with the maintenance department.  Preston County Sheriff ’s deputies and OSHA are investigating what appears to have been an accident.  A spokesman of Preston Memorial said the employee “was killed in the course of his job duties” and had worked at the hospital for six years.  She further commented,  “He was a valuable member of our team. It is a very sad time for Preston Memorial Hospital.”  The accident victim is survived by his wife of thirty years and a daughter in Terra Alta, WV, a son who attends WVU, and a grandchild.  

Sgt. R.V. Turner, of the Preston County Sheriff ’s Department, said he is continuing the investigation into the death and will continue to interview those who witnessed Monday’s accident.

Kingwood firefighters and a KAMP Ambulance crew were called to the hospital, on South Price Street in Kingwood, at about 11:36 a.m. Monday for the elevator rescue.   So far, the results of the investigation indicate that Likens had climbed into the elevator shaft to retrieve a set of keys, and was impacted by the elevator as it moved through that shaft.  Likens was pronounced dead at the scene. Turner said he died instantly.

Submitted by http://www.robinettelaw.com, workplace injury/wrongful death lawyers.

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Workplace Injuries: NFL Faces New Lawsuit By More Than 100 Ex-players For Football Related Brain Injuries

ATLANTA — More than 100 former NFL players have filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta claiming that pro football didn’t properly protect its players from concussions.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include former Atlanta Falcon Jamal Anderson, ex-Georgia star Lindsey Scott and veteran quarterback Don Majkowski.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Georgia, claims the league failed to protect NFL players from brain injuries linked to footballrelated concussions.

They are among more than 1,000 former NFL players suing the league. The cases say not enough was done to inform players about the dangers of concussions in the past, and not enough is done to take care of them today.

The league has said any allegation that the league intentionally sought to mislead players is without merit.  AP

Robinette Legal Group, PLLC

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