Determining fault in a West Virginia car accident is not always an easy thing to do. Despite what many individuals think, it might not always be as cut-and-dry as expected when you are bringing forward a claim. You must be able to show that another party breached their duty of care to you and that, as a result, you were harmed in some way that necessitates recovery. One aspect that can make any car accident claim even more complicated is when you believe that you might also be at fault for your own accident.
What is Comparative Negligence in West Virginia?
Our personal injury attorneys in West Virginia have been handling many car accident claims for years and have worked with a concept known as “comparative negligence,” which are laws that state that both drivers in an accident can be found at fault, which means that they are both responsible for compensating the other party based on a certain percentage that has been assigned to them. For instance, if you are found to be 20% liable for your own accident, this means that the overall compensation that you are awarded by the other party could be reduced by 20% when it comes time to collect that amount.
West Virginia actually operates under what is known as “modified” comparative negligence. If you are determined to be less than 50% at fault for your own accident, this means that you will have the ability to bring a claim against the party that you believe caused your harm. Here’s an example where this might come into play and comparative negligence will be a major consideration: you are driving over the speed limit and, when you come into an intersection, a vehicle pulls out in front of you. The courts determine that, though it was the other party’s fault, you should not have been speeding at the time and now you have been deemed 20% liable for your accident.
Other states tend to follow what is known as pure comparative negligence, which does not apply in West Virginia laws. However, this type of negligence allows the victim of an accident to recover for their losses as long as they are less than 100% at fault. This means that they could have played a small role in the accident and will still receive full compensation for their damages. It also means that both parties are plaintiffs, which can lead to many complications.
If You Have Been Injured in a West Virginia Car Accident
There are many types of complications that can sprout up in these types of accidents. For instance, opposing insurance companies might attempt to show that you were at fault for an accident, even if that was not the case. You want to make sure that you are treated fairly every step of the way, which is why it is imperative to turn to the help of an attorney who can assist you at this time.
Our attorneys at Katz, Kantor, Stonestreet & Buckner have helped clients in the midst of their car accident claims as they work toward the reimbursement they deserve for their losses. Our West Virginia personal injury attorneys are willing to help you work through this difficult time, as we understand the pain that you might be feeling. Please contact us for more information at (304) 713-2014.