Changes to West Virginia Liability and Who is at Fault
West Virginia used to follow joint liability laws when it came to establishing fault in an accident but, on March 5, 2015, the state adopted a new comparative fault standard that comes into play when you are attempting to prove fault in your case. House Bill 2002 establishes a standard in comparative fault so that joint liability is no longer used. What does this mean for the many people involved in accidents with another party in West Virginia?
This new law means that a defendant will only be liable for a percentage of your damages if they have played a percentage of a role in your accident. It also means that, if you played a percentage of fault in your own accident, you will not be fully compensated like you once would have. If you are seeking damages following an accident, you might be slightly limited if the court decides that the defendant is not fully liable. This is why it is especially important to understand who is liable for your accident and be able to show it through evidence because, if you are unable to do so, you might find yourself in a difficult position where you are not able to fully compensate for your injuries.
If you are found to be over 50% at fault in your accident, you will be completely barred from bringing a lawsuit. This is a big change for those who used to be able to fully compensate for their injuries. This also means that you will be expected to show that the other party is completely at fault for your accident. How do you prove fault in the midst of your accident case?
Working to Determine Fault in Your Accident Case
In most cases, it is up to the insurance companies to work together to help determine liability in your case. They will do this by working with claims adjusters so that the process of determining fault is streamlined perfectly in your case. The insurance adjuster will use a team of professionals and review all evidence in your case that is available to them. This means that they will be inspecting police reports, witness testimony, and all medical records for injuries you might have sustained.
Sometimes, something known as “no-doubt liability” can refer to certain accident cases. These are accidents where the accident is almost always, without a doubt, the other driver’s fault. In these accident cases, liability is so certain based on the evidence. An example would be when a driver was driving drunk and rear-ended your vehicle with force, causing you to be injured. Obviously, in a case like this, you did not play a role in liability and the other party would be completely liable for your accident.
State laws might also be applied to your case when the insurance company is attempting to prove fault so that they can make a better determination. As you will find, these accidents might not always be cut-and-dry, but there is hope in your case.
How an Attorney Can Help
At Katz Kantor Stonestreet & Buckner, our experienced personal injury attorneys in West Virginia are completely dedicated to determining fault in your case. Collecting evidence and applying a variety of laws to your case to help you through this difficult time and make the process easier for you. Our experienced attorneys will never let you down in the midst of your case as you work toward the damages you deserve. Contact us for more information at 304-431-4050.