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Any car accident can result in serious injuries to you as a driver or passenger. Rear-end accidents are among the most common and occur when a driver has been hit from behind, even at low speeds.
When you have suffered an injury from a rear-end accident in West Virginia, you should seek the advice of a lawyer after you have gotten immediate medical care. A trustworthy car accident attorney can explain how the law works in these situations and what you could expect to recover.
Rear-end accidents can cause certain “whiplash” injuries from the abrupt impact at the rear of the vehicle. A person’s head might make a quick snapping motion and possibly make hard contact with the steering wheel or headrest.
Whiplash injuries can cause chronic pain and can affect mobility in the head, neck, shoulders, and back. Common whiplash injuries from a rear-end accident in West Virginia can include:
A person hurt in a rear-end accident should seek medical attention and document their injuries throughout treatment. Doing so immediately after an accident can help show the extent of their injuries, which can be used in settlements or in court.
In general, any person who caused injuries to another person could be considered at-fault. As defined in West Virginia Code § 55-7-13b, a person’s “fault” is their action or lack of action that is the primary or “proximate” cause of another’s injury, including the person’s negligence.
Showing that a person was negligent—and that the negligence should lead to a successful claim of damages—requires showing several different elements. A plaintiff must show the defendant had a duty of care that was breached and that the breach caused the injuries and damages.
A rear-end accident claim in West Virginia might see a plaintiff prove the driver who hit them had a duty not to endanger other drivers, and that was breached through their actions, such as driving while distracted or driving drunk. A lawyer would then show that the rear impact caused their injuries, which can be claimed as damages for medical costs, lost wages, and even pain and suffering.
West Virginia uses a system of comparative fault, which allocates responsibility among the people involved in an accident, under Section 55-7-13d. As a result of this allocation among different parties, a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by the percentage of their own fault, and a person can lose the chance to recover anything if they are more than 50 percent at fault.
Finally, a plaintiff must file a claim for damages within two years of the accident. Certain circumstances can extend this time window, like if the victim is under 18 or their injuries lead to death, but working with a lawyer shortly after an accident can ensure a claim can be made in time.
The risks of severe injuries from an accident—and the damage they can cause in medical costs and possible disability—should not be underestimated. Even if you receive medical treatment and know who caused your collision, you should still seek out legal advice on how to pursue compensation.
Personal Injury claims from rear-end accidents in West Virginia work under the general liability rules mentioned here, but an attorney with experience with car accident cases can provide more in-depth knowledge specific to your situation. Discuss your circumstances with a member of our team during a free initial meeting.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law