Insurance Coverage for West Virginia Car Wrecks
By Greene Ketchum Farrell, Bailey & Tweel
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Three of West Virginia's most popular interstates (I-64, I-77 and I-79) interlace through much of West Virginia, Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. They are to blame for a multitude of accidents and deaths every year. The many coal trucks, big rigs and tractor-trailers that use the freeways contribute to the danger. These large vehicles have been responsible for deadly chain-reaction crashes.
Any time an accident occurs, the possibility of injury exists. Injuries range from a bruise on the head to paralysis, even death. If you are involved in a car wreck, you should seek medical attention immediately. Many injuries, especially those to the back and spinal cord, can take weeks and even months to become fully realized. Slipped discs, whiplash and spinal contusions can all result in months of pain and rehabilitation.
How West Virginia Auto Insurance Works
Once you have been examined, you will want to contact your insurance company and, in many cases, an attorney. West Virginia is an "at fault" state, which means that the driver at fault in the accident is responsible for the damages that occur. Unfortunately, determining fault is not always easy and in some cases accident victims end up paying more than they should.
After the police report is filed, it is usually the insurance company's responsibility to determine who was at fault for the accident. This is not ideal. Most insurance companies' primary concern is limiting how much they have to pay — your needs are secondary, if even considered at all. This is where a personal injury attorney is helpful. It is the attorney's job to work for you. In some situations, trucking experts and accident recreation experts can be employed to support your case.
Depending on your policy, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company to cover the damages that exceed your settlement with the other driver's insurance company. Your attorney can help sort through this complex system of determining fault and obligations.
West Virginia requires all of its drivers to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. Check your policy to see if you have this coverage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage compensates you for the expenses the other motorist should have paid. Better yet, most insurance companies are not allowed to raise your rates for filing a claim due to being injured as a result of an uninsured/underinsured motorist.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Whenever you are involved in an automobile accident, you will inevitably need to speak with an insurance adjuster. The adjuster may employ a stall-and-deny tactic in order to get some of your expenses covered by medical insurance and other sources. Your job, as the accident victim, is to prevent this.
When dealing with insurance companies, get everything in writing and have all vehicle repairs authorized before you begin. If your insurance company begins to stall, remind them that the longer they wait to get the vehicle fixed, the more it costs them in rental car and car storage fees.
Review your insurance policy before you are involved in an accident to make sure you have the right amount of coverage. Always carry emergency numbers in your wallet so you can contact a doctor, an attorney and loved ones immediately. If you are involved in a car wreck, knowing your rights and responsibilities will help make the entire process a little easier to handle.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Greene, Ketchum, Bailey, Walker, Farrell & Tweel.
Greene Ketchum is a respected law firm dedicated to serving clients who have suffered injury or harm through the negligence or wrongful act of another person or organization. For more than 50 years, our trial attorneys have fought to help clients receive the financial compensation they deserve.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.