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Personal Injury FAQs

At Manchin Injury Law Group, we believe every client deserves open and clear communication with their West Virginia personal injury attorneys.

Every client deserves to stay well-informed about their personal injury case. Our firm receives many questions from West Virginia residents about personal injury law, insurance claims, and lawsuits. Whether you live in Fairmont, Huntington, or Charleston, our law firm can help you. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we get about our work in personal injury law.

What is a Personal Injury?

A personal injury is a term used for any injury to a person as a result of someone else’s negligence or harm. These injuries can be physical and mental/emotional. Insurance companies may discuss personal injury as bodily injury. West Virginia personal injury law practice often involves settling claims for these cases.

What is a Claim?

A personal injury claim is a lawsuit filed in a civil court against the person or entity who caused a person to sustain a personal injury. Personal injury claims focus on establishing liability for the accident that caused the injuries. If a person or company is liable for an accident, defective product, or site negligence, then they have a legal obligation to compensate the victim for their injuries and losses. Manchin Injury Law Group holds significant experience proving liability in all types of West Virginia personal injury law cases, collecting millions of dollars in settlements for our clients.

What Types of Accidents Can Be Personal Injuries?

Any accident caused by someone else’s negligence or harmful act that resulted in injury can be a personal injury case. The most common type of personal injury accident is a car accident, but other common accidents include:

  • Defective products
  • Slips and falls
  • Animal bites
  • Medical malpractice
  • Trips and falls
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Workplace accidents

Manchin Injury Law Group practices personal injury law for cases involving the actions listed above and more. We provide comprehensive, diligent legal representation for our clients in all types of personal injury accidents in Fairmont, Charleston, and other major West Virginia cities.

I Was Just in an Accident. What Are My Options?

Under West Virginia law, you have three filing options for compensatory action following an accident:

  • Insurance claim with your own insurance company.
  • Insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • Personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

Insurance companies may seem like the easiest route to obtaining compensation, but these companies can only provide compensation up to their policy limits. They may also attempt to lowball you if you do not have proper legal representation.

If you have severe injuries, lots of damages, or want to obtain maximum possible compensation, consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at Manchin Injury Law Group can help you file your lawsuit in West Virginia civil court.

How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

To be a personal injury case, your accident has to satisfy the following four factors:

  1. The at-fault party owed you a duty of care, such as to provide a correct medical diagnosis or to respect the right of way on the road.
  2. The at-fault party breached that duty of care. For example, a doctor misdiagnosing a patient or a car failing to respect the right of way.
  3. You suffered damages — or physical, financial, or emotional losses. Damages can include injuries, illnesses, lost wages, and property damage.
  4. Your damages are a direct result of the at-fault party’s breach of care. For example, if a doctor misdiagnosed you and your condition worsened because of this misdiagnosis, this would satisfy a personal injury claim.

If you’re unsure if your case satisfies these requirements, visit Manchin Injury Law Group at our Fairmont offices. Our trained injury attorneys will be able to tell you if you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit during your free consultation.

How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

Each personal injury case is different. Courts award damages based on your losses, so the more severe your injuries are, the higher your final settlement will be. In West Virginia personal injury law, you will recover enough compensation to make you whole again. This compensation aims to put you back in the comfortable position you were at prior to the accident. Our attorneys at Manchin Injury Law Group can help you estimate which damages you may be eligible to receive.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Case?

There are three types of damages that you can collect from a personal injury lawsuit in West Virginia.

  • Economic damages: the financial damages you suffered as the result of an accident. These damages are due to medical expenses, inability to work, property damage, and other factors.
  • Non-economic damages: the emotional damages you and your family suffered as the result of the accident. Emotional trauma, PTSD, and other forms of mental anguish can lead to these damages.
  • Punitive damages: damages given out as punishment by the courts. If heinous negligence caused the accident, such as drunk driving or medical malpractice, the court may require the defendant to pay these damages on top of the settlement.

The courts calculate your final settlement amount based on the damages you suffered as the result of the accident. Common compensatory damages for West Virginia personal injury cases include:

  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Hospitalization expenses
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Permanent scars
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Surgery expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • All other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, including transportation costs, rental car fees, and household services

Manchin Injury Law Group will work closely with you from start to finish to determine your best paths to maximum possible compensation. We will calculate your expenses, take inventory of your losses, and a craft compelling case in order for you to seek your rightful damages.

Who Pays the Settlement?

In West Virginia, the at-fault party pays for your damages. Usually, the insurance company of the at-fault party will pay you the settlement amount.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims?

The statute of limitations to filing a personal injury claim is two years from the date of your accident. It’s important that you contact a skilled West Virginia personal injury lawyer from Manchin Injury Law Group immediately after your accident.

How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?

Each case is unique, and it’s difficult to provide an estimate for how long your case will take to reach a settlement. The more complex a case is, the longer it tends to take. If you have severe injuries, lots of damages, multiple parties or a corporate entity involved in your case, or liability issues tied to your case, the process may take longer. Most insurance companies settle claims outside of court, meaning that your case may take longer depending on how willing the insurance company is to go to court.

What Should I Do After an Accident?

If you are in an accident, it is important that you do not admit fault. Even if you truly believe that you caused the accident, you may be in shock or not remembering the events clearly. Security footage and witness testimony can corroborate fault at a later time. However, if you admit fault to a police officer or the at-fault party, obtaining compensatory damages may be more difficult.

In the moments following an accident, take these immediate steps:

  • Call 911. It is important a police officer writes a report of the incident and that you subsequently receive medical attention.
  • Collect witness contact information. You will need witness testimony for your personal injury law claim. Before you lose contact with your witnesses, ask them for the names and contact information at the scene.
  • Take photographs. Much of the accident details will disappear after you leave the scene, so make sure you document it clearly through photographs.
  • Receive medical attention. Insurance companies and courts will need medical reports detailing your injuries after an accident. These reports are a crucial piece of evidence for personal injury cases. Even if you don’t “feel” hurt, you may have internal injuries or a concussion. Always visit the doctor or hospital after an accident.

If you were unable to collect this information at the scene due to shock or injuries, do not worry. Manchin Injury Law Group’s skilled firm of personal injury attorneys hold years of experience in case investigation and evidence collection. We will review security footage, interview witnesses, examine medical and police reports, and gather as much evidence as possible to support your case.

Should I Discuss My Accident on Facebook or Over Social Media?

No. Under West Virginia law, anything that you say about the accident over the internet or to your friends is possible evidence in court. A judge or opposing attorney may call your family and friends to the stand and compel them to say what you told them about the accident. The defense may also use your social media accounts as evidence against you and your character. To defend yourself against these attacks, avoid posting about your accident on any public social media forum. If you are unsure about what you should or shouldn’t do online, Manchin Injury Law Group’s personal injury attorneys can offer you advice on how to use social media safely.

The Insurance Company Just Offered Me a Settlement. Should I Take It?

No. If you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company and an adjuster calls you to conduct a “preliminary investigation” of your case, do not speak with them. Often, insurance companies will call victims of accidents and gain their trust, encouraging them to sign a release and settle the claim. These releases are usually much lower than what the victim needs in terms of compensation. If this happens to you, do not take the deal and contact Manchin Injury Law Group immediately. We can tell when a settlement is less than what you deserve and we will enter into negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf.

When Should I Hire a Lawyer?

We encourage you to contact an attorney as soon as possible for your West Virginia personal injury case. The closer to the accident date you hire your lawyer, the fresher the evidence will be and the easier it is for your attorney to begin working on your case. If you are a recent victim of a personal injury accident, then please contact Manchin Injury Law Group as soon as possible.

For more information on personal injury law or to discuss your legal options, contact Manchin Injury Law Group. Our West Virginia personal injury attorneys are available to discuss your case and help you with the lawsuit process.