5 Steps to Filing an Auto Accident Claim in West Virginia

How to File an Auto Collision Claim in West Virginia

If you have been involved in a car accident in West Virginia – and suffered injuries and/or property damages – it is important that you file an auto accident claim promptly and seek compensation for your losses. You pay your monthly auto insurance premiums with the expectation that your insurance company will come through and recompense you after your car accident. However, we have seen in numerous instances that the process doesn’t quite work as smoothly for the auto accident victims.

Isn't it easy to avoid the accident?

An injured auto accident victim needs the guidance and counsel of an experienced West Virginia auto accident lawyer who will remain on his or her side, fight for their rights and help them secure the compensation they rightfully deserve. Here are the five steps to filing an auto accident claim in West Virginia.

Step 1: Reporting your West Virginia auto accident

As a driver who has been involved in a collision, it is crucial to stop immediately and remain at the scene. You should also file a police report. Provide your account of the incident to the responding police officer. If you or any of your passengers have been injured, make sure you call 911 and get medical attention right away. It is important to get a copy of the police report, which often helps establish the facts of the incident. The investigating officer will often times determine fault for the accident, which may prove very useful to your auto accident claim particularly if the other driver has been deemed clearly at fault for causing the collision.

Step 2: Collect as much information as possible from the accident scene

Evidence forms the basis of a strong auto accident claim. Much of these pieces of evidence are collected soon after the accident. Among the details that must be gathered at the scene of the crash include:

• Details for other parties involved in the crash (driver’s license number, auto insurance details, vehicle license plate numbers, contact information, etc.)
• Contact information for eyewitnesses, anyone who may have seen what occurred and can corroborate your account of the incident.
• Photographs and/or video of the accident scene, which should include such details as your injuries, your passengers’ injuries, damage to the vehicles, the position of the vehicles, traffic and roadway conditions, any debris that is strewn on the roadway, skid marks on the roadway, etc.
• If possible, also write down notes and draw diagrams of what you see at the accident scene because you are likely to forget most details and your memory may become fuzzy as time goes by.

If you are unable to gather this information at the scene because you are injured and have to go to the emergency room or hospital, ask if a friend or family member can help you get this crucial information for you.

Step 3: Call your insurance company right away.

This is a critical step if you would like your insurance company to reimburse you for your losses quickly. Contact your insurance company from the accident scene or as soon as you get home and are in a safe location. Your insurance company will ask for all the basic details including the time, location and circumstances of the crash. Write it all down accurately so you are able to provide the details with ease. When you talk to the insurance company, never admit fault or make any guesses as to what occurred. Stick to the facts and to what you know. Your insurance company will assign an adjustor to your case and let you know where you can take your vehicle to be repaired. They will also provide you with a claim number, which will serve as your case number when you want to follow up.

Step 4: Save all your receipts and invoices

Auto accident victims may have to deal with a number of medical expenses such as emergency transportation, hospitalization, surgeries and cost of medication and medical equipment. It is important that you are diligent about saving each and every doctor’s report and invoice because these documents serve as evidence of the injuries you suffered and the treatment you received for them. Also, document the number of days of work you missed and the wages you lost as a result of the accident and the injuries. Include other items here such as whether you had to hire a housekeeper, gardener, nanny or other services because of your injuries. You should be reimbursed for all these and other expenses you incurred as a result of your accident and injury.

Step 5: Contact an experienced West Virginia auto accident attorney

If you were injured and had to take time off work to recover from your injuries, it is imperative that you have a car accident lawyer on your side who is not only a skilled negotiator but can also represent you in a jury trial, if it becomes necessary. In such instances, you would be well advised to seek the services of an experienced West Virginia auto accident lawyer.

You may be entitled to damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain, and suffering. A knowledgeable West Virginia accident attorney will be able to evaluate your claim, determine what it is worth and help you receive fair and full compensation for all your losses. Please call The Robinette Legal Group PLLC to find out how we can help you.

New Mediation Center In Morgantown, West Virginia

Morgantown Mediation Center
Morgantown Mediation Center

Mediation Center Opening August 2018


The Morgantown Mediation Center, an elegant solution for all mediation and small conference needs in North Central West Virginia, will be available starting in August 2018. Located in the Ridgeview Business Park, the center is convenient to I-68 and I-79. Parking is free and fully accessible. Three conference rooms are available in the Mediation center, and up to six separate rooms can be booked for your next legal mediation or settlement conference.

Attorney Jeff Robinette is available as a mediator for personal injury, professional and medical malpractice, and contract issues.   Based on availability, Mr. Robinette would be pleased to serve as your mediator, and of course you are always free to choose your personal favorite for mediating your legal settlement proceeding at the Morgantown Mediation Center.

Book your next mediation at the Morgantown Mediation Center.


(304) 216-7108

Battling Depression after an Accident

A car accident is a traumatic event, and for some, life is suddenly drastically different in one moment.  There is a broad spectrum of events that could contribute from financial hardship to life-altering injury, to the passing of a friend or family member.  All these sudden issues are difficult and overwhelming at first, but as time passes, it usually gets gradually easier.  For some, however, depression can develop, and the passing of time does not decrease the difficulty.  This is a condition that, like an injury, needs to be attended and not ignored.

Depression Often Results After A Car Accident

Allow Others to Help

Depression is a difficult period of life in which your mind and emotions are greatly affected.  You should not try to fight the battle on your own.  You need responsible friends and family members that you can trust to help and support you.  View depression as an illness rather than a deficiency.  Communicate your thoughts and feelings to your trusted friends and family, and let them help you through the difficult times.  Since your emotions are affected, they may be able to better identify problems and know if you need to seek a doctor’s care.

Face Reality

This can make you feel better in some ways and worse in others, but it is important for recovery.  No matter the source of your depression, it is probably a circumstance that might never be ideal again.  While this can be upsetting, bring this up in your mind and talk out your feelings to yourself and trusted friends and family.  You may even need to find a trustworthy counselor, like a pastor, pastor’s wife, school counselor, or other professional.  Be honest about your feelings.  In doing this, you will have to face the source of your depression, but if you are truly facing reality, you will see that there is still a lot of good in life, and in time, there is still a lot of good that you can do.

Take Care of Yourself

With depression, it is easy to take poor care of yourself, but be sure you eat plenty of healthy foods, rest, have good hygiene, and take your medicines on time.  Also, these steps contribute to staying in a daily routine.  Depression makes it difficult to be motivated, but a routine helps you to keep moving, which is a crucial step to battling depression.

Get Moving

Many people who battle depression feel constantly fatigued.  They don’t want to get up and do anything because it does not feel like it would be worth the effort.  The best action to fight this fatigue is to get up and get moving.  Simple exercise, like walking, can help to reduce feelings of fatigue after a short time.  Once you get started, you may feel like you cannot do it, but keep going and the feeling will gradually subside.  A couple ways to make walking even more beneficial is to walk with a friend and to walk outside if the weather is nice.

Pick Up a Hobby

Do you have something you enjoy doing, like crocheting, cooking, gardening, or writing?  If you do, take some time to do these activities.  If you don’t have a hobby yet, find one.  Think of something that interests you, and pursue it.  This type of activity will usually keep your hands and mind busy, and after a while, you have a beautiful completed work to show for it.  If you are stuck when trying to think of a hobby, there is a huge list on Wikipedia to help you get started (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies).

Help Others

This is very difficult to begin while battling depression, but getting out and helping others is a great way to find fulfillment.  This might be another area where another trusted friend or family member could help.  You and this trusted person could go together and find a place to volunteer.  This accomplishes so many things that greatly help with depression symptoms.  You are a valuable creation whether you find ways to help others or not, but volunteering your time and talents can help you to see just how valuable you are and how helpful you can be to someone else.

Have a Good Attitude

This advice goes completely against the grain of depression symptoms, but making an effort to have a good attitude can help recovery from depression.  Remember that depression is an illness and it needs to be treated like an illness.  With physical illnesses, it is very important to believe that you can recover.  Depression is no different.  Believe that recovery is very possible and that brighter days are coming soon.

Be Patient

While having a good attitude and positive outlook on recovery is important, realize that complete recovery from depression will not happen in a day.  Some days will be harder than others.  This is discouraging, but it is to be expected.  Instead of just enduring those difficult days, make a plan for yourself.  Being faithful in completing your daily routine is a great place to start.  Have some other activities in mind for these especially difficult days.  Maybe you could visit an elderly person or call a friend.  Interaction with other people is important on these difficult days.  Keep reminding yourself that recovery is coming, but that it can be slow.


Depression is difficult, no matter what the source is.  There are no two cases exactly alike, so the best way to treat them will be different, but following these steps is a good place to start.  Be sure to allow support from trusted family and friends as they can be your most valuable asset in this journey, and remember that with time, recovery is very possible.


Competitive Advantage https://www.competitivedge.com/rebounding-injuries-0

DBSA http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_brochures_coping_unexpected_events

Help Guide https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/coping-with-depression.htm

Lotsa Helping Hands http://lotsahelpinghands.com/blog/how-to-battle-depression/

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies

Lawsuits Filed After Scaffolding Collapses

Construction workers face danger daily in the ordinary course of their workday. Even so, when a work site has been secured by safety procedures which have been carefully implemented, builders have every reasonable expectation of returning home to their families intact.  When an ordinary work day turns disastrous and lives are forever changed, these hard-working men and women can no longer provide for their families.  After a construction accident, what remedy exists for the injured to obtain necessary medical care and for these families to build new lives?

In October, 2015, two tragic scaffold collapses in Houston, Texas have resulted in injuries, deaths, and at least one worker left in a vegetative state.  So, who was at fault, and who will provide care for these workers and their families?

Building Scaffolding
Building Construction, Scaffold Collapse

Investigations are on-going, and whether the collapses were caused by anchors at the top of the building breaking loose after these anchors were improperly secured, faulty construction or materials used in building the scaffolding, faulty concrete causing a lack of integrity in the soundness of the scaffold’s attachment to the building, or bolts not properly secured, the investigations will point to the parties or party responsible for the failure of the scaffolding to provide protection and support.

Some of these workers will suffer life-long injuries, and will most likely collect Worker’s Compensation benefits, unless the companies involved have opted out of Worker’s Comp Insurance as provided by Texas law.  Many large retailers, trucking companies, health care, and food companies have already opted out, which means the employer has almost complete control over the medical and legal process after workers are injured.

Worker’s Compensation exists because employers owe a duty to workers injured on the job and their families and pays for the workers’ medical bills and lost wages.  According to an investigation by ProPublica and NPR, the Texas alternative to Worker’s Comp usually cuts off treatment after two years and doesn’t pay compensation for most permanent disabilities and strictly limits payouts in the event of a death or catastrophic injury.

The families directly affected by these scaffolding collapses in October have retained lawyers to obtain any and all benefits due to them as a results of the workplace accident which has caused these horrific injuries.  Their construction accident attorney will investigate the cause of the accident, the extent of injuries and long-term impact on these individuals and their families, and whether or not a third party can be sued, such as the contracting company which installed the scaffold system or the manufacturer of the scaffolding.

These families have acted wisely in obtaining legal representation right away.  All states have a time limit (statute of limitations for work injuries) for injury claim lawsuits to be filed, and as time passes, evidence and witnesses can become difficult or impossible to find.

The personal injury lawyers at the Robinette Legal Group, PLLC based in Morgantown have represented many construction accident victims in West Virginia during the past twenty-five years, and are ready to help you if you have been hurt or are suffering after the death of a loved one.  We have successfully handled a wide variety of claims ranging from slip and fall injuries to wrongful deaths from coal mine explosions and power plant accidents.  If you were injured in West Virginia, protect your legal rights by calling us today for a free case evaluation:  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695.


What is Vehicular Manslaughter?

In general, vehicular homicide, also called negligent homicide, involves a person’s death that is the result of a driver’s negligent operation of a motor vehicle, or resulting from operating a vehicle while committing some unlawful act that may not necessarily amount to a felony.  The charges are compounded if the negligent driver was drunk, DWI, or under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision.

The victim of a vehicular homicide wrongful death can either be a pedestrian, another motorist, or a cyclist, or the victim can be the passenger in the car, SUV, boat, truck, bus, or motorcycle.

In West Virginia, when the  wrongful death of any person happens within one year as a  result of injuries received by an individual who is in reckless disregard of the safety of others, the person who caused the collision may be guilty of negligent homicide.

In WV, this crime may be punished by imprisonment for up to one year and/or by a fine of $100.00 to $1,000.00 and that driver may lose his or her license if convicted of negligent homicide.

The term “vehicular homicide” has been discussed lately as Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner faces charges stemming from a deadly four-car accident in which Jenner was involved.  One woman was killed in the wreck and others injured.

The police investigation into the deadly four-car accident involving Jenner is finished and the results could lead to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge.  The laws pertaining to vehicular homicide have the legal effect of calling a vehicle which is being recklessly driven a potentially deadly or dangerous weapon.

Jenner was driving a black Cadillac SUV that was the third vehicle in a multiple rear-end collision.  Jenner’s SUV hit a car from behind, sending it into oncoming traffic where it was hit by another SUV.  That driver died at the scene.

Even though Jenner was traveling under the posted speed limit, the investigation determined that Jenner was going at an unsafe speed for the conditions at the time of the collision.

The DC Caller recently featured an editorial which contemplates the question that is on the minds of some:  if Jenner is criminally charged and found guilty, does he/she face time in a male or female prison? Of course this will never happen, as Jenner will hire the best defense attorney available.  That’s an interesting question which will have to be decided by the courts, but nevertheless, male or female, that issue would not affect the insurance issues related to the personal injury and wrongful death claims resulting from that collision.

As far as compensation for a family who has suffered such a tragic loss due to the negligence of another motorist, insurance may not only be limited to policy limits, but also punitive damages resulting in greater compensation may be pursued if the negligence was due to DUI or DWI.

Morgantown Wrongful Death Attorney

If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one, provider, or child, just as the offending driver must retain a criminal lawyer for the protection of his or her legal rights, it is imperative that the suffering from that driver’s actions retain an attorney to represent their best interests.  The insurance companies are just that, companies most concerned with their bottom line.

To secure your financial future after such tragic loss, contact a Morgantown personal injury attorney for a free consultation today.  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 to speak directly with a National Board Certified Trial Attorney for his opinion of your case based on twenty-five years experience with insurance companies and collision claims.

You May Also Want to Check Out These Articles:

Other articles you will find helpful:

Should I use Facebook or other Social Media if Considering an Injury Claim?

If you wait, it may be too late.

It is Your Responsibility to Protect Your Legal Rights after an Accident.

Why is the Insurance Company Offering so Little for my Claim?

CNN, “Caitlyn Jenner could face misdemeanor manslaughter charge in car crash,” By Steve Almasy and Paul Vercammen, August 20, 2015.

Two Major Crashes on I-68 in Two Days ~ Please Drive Carefully

Multi-car Accidents on I-68

When the days are short and the temperature drops below freezing, driving hazards are increased exponentially.  Snow, ice, and foggy conditions make driving treacherous, often causing vehicle wrecks and injuries.  When winter driving is made even more dangerous by debris on the road, the results can be fatal.

In December, a young New Jersey man was killed and several others injured in a chain-reaction accident on Friday, December 19, 2014 on interstate 68 in Preston County near the Monongalia County line close to the Coopers Rock exit. While it was originally reported that six other vehicles were involved, later reports indicated that seven vehicles were involved in the collisions.  The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. and closed both east and westbound lanes of the interstate for several hours, creating a several mile-long traffic backup.

I-68 crash.jpg

The next day, on Saturday December 20th at about 6:30 p.m., a series of tragic collisions shut down I-68 again at mile marker 29. On I-68 Eastbound, both lanes were closed from Hazelton Exit to Friendsville Exit in Garrett County, MD, and the closure was expected to last for 3-4 hours.  Two people died, one a Morgantown man, following the chain of wrecks on Interstate 68 in Garrett County near the West Virginia state line.  The initial wreck was the cause of the death of the first accident victim, and the police reported that while traffic was stopped in the eastbound lanes to allow a helicopter to land at the scene, there was a chain reaction accident that claimed another life.

Our hearts and prayers go out for the crash victims, families, and friends who have been directly affected by these tragic accidents. Grief and recovery were not in their plans; the holiday season will never be the same for these families.

Drivers need to take into account that a different weather exists up on those elevated mountain passes and take precautions accordingly.  The unexpected is more likely to occur, so heightened vigilance and attention to the road is required during these winter months.

For more information from Robinette Legal Group, PLLC about these collisions or multi-car collisions in general, please click here to visit our website.


WVMetronews, “Chain-reaction crash on I-68 claims one life” by Jeff Jenkins, December 20, 2014.

Topix, “Chain Reaction on I-68 claims one life, backs up traffic,” December 20, 2014.

WV Lawsuits Claiming Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals in Coal Waste

American Electric Power has been named as a defendant in a host of lawsuits claiming exposure to dangerous chemicals in coal waste.

Those injured claim they were exposed to dangerous chemicals in coal waste – fly ash, flue gas desulfurization material, bottom ash and boiler slag – which has caused numerous illnesses and several deaths.

The plaintiffs are divided into four categories – 39 working direct claim plaintiffs, 11 non-working direct claim plaintiffs, nine loss of spousal consortium plaintiffs and 18 loss of parental consortium plaintiffs. Of the 50 direct claim plaintiffs, six are deceased.

The complaints focus on AEP’s Gavin Landfill site in North Cheshire, Ohio, which is just across the Ohio River from Mason County. The Gavin Landfill – adjacent to AEP’s Gavin Power plant – is used primarily for collecting, shoveling, hauling, dumping, spreading and transporting the 2.6 million cubic yards of coal combustion waste byproducts produced at the plant each year.

“Coal waste contains a multitude of contaminants that are dangerous to human health, and individuals can be exposed through contact on skin, inhalation and ingestion,” the attorneys state. “These toxins have been shown to be directly related to incidences of cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease, chromosomal abnormalities and birth defects, among others.”

The complaints alleged the plaintiffs were assured on numerous occasions that such coal waste was safe and non-hazardous, and that there should be no increased concern about health effects.

“Repeatedly, individuals were not provided with protective equipment, such as overalls, gloves or respirators when working in and around coal waste,” the attorneys state. “These working men and women, already exposed to the contaminants at the job site, then, in turn, carried the coal waste home to their families on their clothes and shoes, thus even exposing family members to the deadly toxins.”

In the complaint, the plaintiffs claim they asked Workman, a supervisor who lives in Mason County, about the dangers of working with the coal ash.

Workman responded “by sticking his finger into the coal waste and then placing his fly-ash covered finger into his own mouth, then misrepresented to the workers that coal waste was ‘safe enough to eat.”

Source: West Virginia Record, “AEP named in 77 exposure lawsuits,” Chris Dickerson, September 3, 2014.


Three WV Teens Killed in Head-on Collision with Fire Truck

Due to the sheer physics involved in head-on collisions, the resulting injuries are typically severe and catastrophic. All too often, head-on collisions result in fatal injuries.  Tragically, such was the case in January 2014 when three, 16 year-old teenagers were killed in a violent crash with a fire truck on a Saturday night in Hancock County, W.Va., in the state’s northern panhandle.  The three firefighters were treated at the hospital and released.  I have been seated across the table with families far too many times as they are experiencing the greatest sorrow of their lives.  “If only…” is everyone’s recurring thought.

Sheriff’s officials said the fire truck was traveling north on state Route 8 near Tomlinson Run State Park, responding to a call about a chimney fire at about 9 p.m., when a southbound vehicle pulled into the northbound lane in an attempt to pass another vehicle. The driver was unable to return to the southbound lane and collided with the fire truck from the New Manchester VFD.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on collision caused by another driver’s negligence, it is important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side.  At Robinette Legal Group, we are dedicated to helping injured people and their families recover compensation for the losses they have suffered. We are prepared to handle the most complex cases involving serious injuries and wrongful death.Beside_Still_Waters_-_Covers_3D

We have the skill and resources to handle cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. If you have been seriously injured, an experienced car accident lawyer will carefully assess the full extent of the damage and how it will affect you today and in the future.

West Virginia Motor Vehicle Collision Attorneys:  We Can Help.

Questions?  Call us today:  304-594-1800 or after hours, 304-216-6695 or click here to visit our website.

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Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2014/01/19/Three-high-school-students-die-in-West-Virginia-traffic-accident/stories/201401190199#ixzz2r0B3QtVS

How Do Court Reporters Keep Straight Faces?

court reporter funnyThese excerpts are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

Which one is your favorite?

ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?
WITNESS: Forty-five years.

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?
WITNESS: July 18th.
ATTORNEY: What year?
WITNESS: Every year.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He’s 20, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death..
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

I hope this adds a smile to your day.

Source:  Disorder in the Court:  Great Fractured Moments in Courtroom History, by Charles M. Sevilla, WW Norton & Company, NY, 1992.

What if a Police Officer Caused my Injury?

police state trooper cruiserWe all understand the need to call the sheriff, city police, or state police if we are involved in a serious accident on a motorcycle, or while driving a car, or truck.*  But, who do you call and what can you do if the collision was caused by a local police officer or WV state trooper?

Every year accidents and injury are caused by police officers while in the line of duty.  In a recent West Virginia auto collision, a motorcyclist was clipped by a police cruiser in pursuit of another motorist, causing substantial injury to the rider.

It was an unintended collision, and the policeman was just doing his job, but this injured biker now is suffering from injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and may be facing surgery and therapy in the future to gain a more full recovery after the accident.  This is all going to be very expensive.  Who is going to pay?

Can I sue a police officer, police department, state agency, or city for damages?

Even if the police officer was on-duty, the standard of care the officer must abide by is the same as any other citizen, except when the officer is in pursuit of another individual.  In the latter circumstance, the rules for the operation of his motor vehicle change to allow him to exceed posted speed limits and the like.  However, the officer is not permitted to disregard the safety of other motorists.

When a public employee causes a motor vehicle collision, there are special laws that govern the liability of the State and political subdivisions. Generally, state agencies such as the Department of Highways are immune from civil lawsuits except in certain circumstances. When a public agency or political subdivision can be sued, the claim is limited to a modest insurance coverage limit. When a police officer causes a collision, it must be determined whether the police department is insured under the State policy. So, an officer can be sued, but there will likely be a limit of insurance coverage available.

What type of damages can be recovered after a car or motorcycle accident?

Accident victims can be compensated for economic damages: actual dollar losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and lost future income earning ability. Pain, suffering, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and grief over the loss of a loved one are some of the non-economic losses for which a person may receive compensation. Punitive damages are also awarded in rare cases which serve to punish a defendant for extreme negligence and serve to deter future similar conduct by that defendant and others (such as in a NC case where the police officer caused a collision due to road rage incident).

Recently another lawsuit was filed in WV wherein a man is suing the West Virginia State Police for injuries he sustained in a car accident caused by one of its state troopers.

A West Virginia State Trooper negligently struck the front left side of the plaintiff’s vehicle and caused him to veer off the road and strike an electric pole.  The plaintiff claims as a result of the defendant’s negligence and carelessness, he sustained damages and injuries, including broken ribs, a permanent back injury, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity and loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.

In Indiana, top-tier personal injury attorney William Hurst has been involved in many cases where a police officer’s negligence caused a motor vehicle accident, killing or seriously injuring a client or client’s family member.  In his blog, he outlines the special difficulties in bringing suit against police officers such as partial “waivers” of the sovereign immunity to allow the State, Cities, etc. to be sued for personal injury when their employees caused injury but have imposed restrictions and limitations as who can be sued and what an injured party can recover.

West Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys

Because of the complexity involved in crashes directly involving police vehicles, it is imperative you contact an experienced personal injury attorney to find all applicable insurance coverage and have an advocate on your side to fight for your right to compensation for your injuries.

If you have questions about a West Virginia road incident, Attorney Jeff Robinette would be glad to answer your questions.  Call today:  304-594-1800 or after hours 304-216-6695.

* West Virginia accident law states the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more shall immediately by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such crash to the local police department if such crash occurs within a municipality, otherwise to the office of the county sheriff or the nearest office of the West Virginia State Police.