Princeton Personal Injury Attorney for West Virginia Car Accidents
Hundreds of people die every year in auto accidents on West Virginia roads and highways, and thousands more are injured. When you are injured because of another driver’s negligence, recklessness or distracted driving, it is only fair that they should pay for the damages they caused, including paying for your medical expenses, making up for any lost wages, and compensating you for the pain and suffering you have had to endure. The other driver’s liability insurance may be a source of payment available to you, but getting a fair settlement can be a difficult and challenging proposition. To make matters worse, many drivers don’t bother to carry liability insurance, hoping they will never cause an accident and be held accountable for their actions. Regardless of the situation, the Bayless Law Firm is here to offer hope and help for victims of car accidents in southern West Virginia.
Liability Insurance Only Goes So Far
West Virginia law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance at a minimum of 10/20/40 – $10,000 for property damage and $20,000 for bodily injury to one person, up to a total of $40,000 for all persons injured in the accident. Of course, insurance companies can and do offer higher policy limits, but many people stick with the minimum amount to save money on their premiums. The mandatory minimum amount may be adequate in some instances, but in the case of a serious accident or injury, or one involving injuries to multiple parties, insurance policy limits may be insufficient to properly compensate the injured persons.
In addition, although the existence of liability insurance promises hope that you will be reimbursed for your expenses, this is by no means certain. Insurance companies maximize their profits by denying claims or paying as little as possible, and they employ vast networks of insurance adjustors and lawyers to settle claims as cheaply as they can, or take the case to court if they feel it is in their best interests to do so. Without talking to an experienced lawyer who is on your side, you may not know how much your claim is worth and wind up settling for far less than you will actually need to cover your expenses now and into the future.
Hope for Victims of Uninsured Motorists
Despite the state law mandating liability insurance and the relatively low premiums, about one in every ten drivers on West Virginia roads at any given time is not carrying any insurance. What happens if you are struck by one of these drivers?
Hopefully you keep up with your own insurance coverage, which includes Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, your UM coverage will kick in to cover your costs. Your UM coverage may be anywhere from the 10/20/40 minimum up to 50/100/300, depending upon how much you bought. Given the high number of uninsured drivers and the relatively cost of UM coverage, it is recommended that you carry more than the minimum amount. West Virginia law also requires insurance carriers to offer Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage up to the limits of your liability policy, to help you cover your costs when the other driver is insured but only carries the low minimum amounts.
Keep in mind, however, that even though you are dealing with “your” insurance company in a UM/UIM claim, your interests are different than theirs. You want to be covered for your injuries and expenses, but they want to pay as little as they can get away with. It is still vital to have an attorney negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on your behalf, and take them to court if they will not settle for an adequate amount.
Help is Available from an Experienced West Virginia Car Accident Injury Lawyer
Kay Bayless is an experienced West Virginia trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of car accident cases on behalf of injured victims and their families, including cases of serious injury or wrongful death. If you have been injured in a car accident in Princeton, Charleston or anywhere in southern West Virginia, contact the Bayless Law Firm for a free initial consultation to find out how we can help you recover the compensation you need and deserve.