West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
When someone suffers injury through no fault of their own, it can be a life-altering experience. The injury can keep you out of work for an extended period time as medical and other household bills start to pile up, causing a major financial hardship. On top of that, the untold physical suffering, fear of an uncertain future, and inability to do the things you once enjoyed can lead to a severely diminished quality of life.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., we understand the enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll personal injuries can take, and we are committed to providing strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. We are a nationally recognized firm with over 40 years of experience successfully representing those who have been injured through no fault of their own. Our attorneys focus primarily on personal injury law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases.
We work closely with our clients, putting our extensive experience to work to thoroughly investigate their case and explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. No matter what type of personal injury you (or someone close to you) may have suffered, we have the knowledge, skills, resources, and dedication to help ensure that all parties responsible (for your injuries) are held fully accountable.
What Type of Accident Caused your Personal Injury?
Some of the most common personal injury cases we handle include:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: Each year, tens of thousands of individuals are killed, and hundreds of thousands are seriously injured in motor vehicle crashes on the nation’s roadways. While some accidents are due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, most are caused by negligent or reckless actions. We also handle pedestrian accident cases.
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents: Semi-truck accidents are among the deadliest that occur on the roads. There are a number of potential factors that contribute to commercial truck accidents, and multiple parties that could potentially be responsible; including the truck driver, truck owner/lessor, trucking company, shipping company, or the designer or manufacturer of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
- Medical Malpractice: When we have a health issue and we go in to see a medical professional, we have a right to expect that we will be given proper care. Sadly, many of our nation’s medical facilities deliver substandard care, often resulting in various forms of medical negligence.
- Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect: There is a crisis in our nation’s senior care facilities. Aging demographics, industry consolidation, and other factors have created major staffing shortages in many nursing homes. The result has been on an alarmingly high number of nursing home abuse and neglect cases.
- Catastrophic Injuries: A catastrophic injury is one that is permanent, debilitating, and usually robs an individual of their ability to participate in gainful activity. We handle cases involving catastrophic injuries of all types, including brain injuries, spine injuries, paralysis, loss of limbs, burns, scars and electrical injuries.
- Premises Liability: We spend a lot of time during a typical week on the property of others. We go to work, shop and go out to eat at commercial establishments, or just go for a walk in the park. Owners and caretakers are responsible for the safety of those who use their property, and when an accident and injury results from their failure to keep their property safe, those who are injured have a right to compensation.
- Tree Stand Hunting Accidents: West Virginians love to hunt, but far too many hunters are injured in preventable accidents. Accidental gun discharges and tree stand falls are two of the most common reasons for tree stand hunting accidents, and these types of accidents are often due to negligence on the part of the gun or tree stand designer or manufacturer.
- Wrongful Death: There are few incidents in life that are more painful than the untimely loss of a loved one. And when a loved one’s death is caused by someone else’s negligence or reckless actions, those who are closest to the victim deserve to be compensated. In West Virginia, many wrongful deaths occur in the coal mines, oil fields, and other dangerous workplaces. These types of cases can be very complicated, and you need someone in your corner who has an in-depth understanding of the state laws and statutes, and the proven ability to successfully recover full and fair compensation.
What Must I Prove to Demonstrate that a Personal Injury Occurred?
In order to have a valid personal injury claim, you must prove four basic elements:
- Duty of Care: The first thing you must show is that the defendant owed you a duty of reasonable care. For example, a vehicle driver has an implied duty to drive in a safe manner and take reasonable steps to avoid causing others harm.
- Breach of Duty: After you have established a duty of care, you must show that the defendant breached this duty by their actions or omissions. For example, the driver was sending a text and did not look up in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian that was crossing the road in front of them.
- Causation: Next, you must show that the defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Using the previous example, the pedestrian would not have been hit had the defendant been watching the road rather than looking at his/her phone.
- Damages: Finally, you will need to show that the accident or incident caused by the defendant resulted in compensable losses. For example, the collision into the pedestrian resulted in several broken bones, an extended hospital stay, and several weeks out of work.
Our Approach to Personal Injury Cases
The approach we take always depends on the unique circumstances of each case. It starts with an in-depth analysis of the facts and evidence to determine the root cause of the injury and which party (or parties) responsible. From there, we work tirelessly to construct the strongest possible case. From the outset, we prepare relentlessly for trial, and when needed, we are able to call on top experts from various fields to help substantiate your claim.
We are skilled litigators and strong negotiators. Whenever possible, we look to negotiate a settlement with the other side that fairly compensates our clients for their injuries. And because of our reputation and successful track record, the other side knows that we have the proven ability to litigate the claim if they are not willing to be reasonable. This results in most of our cases settling before we ever get in front of a jury. That said, we stand ready and able to pursue full damages at trial and upon appeal if necessary.
Damages Available from Personal Injury Claims
Those who suffer injury through no fault of their own are eligible for compensation not only for direct monetary losses such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property damage, but also for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, loss of consortium, and permanent disability.
In rarer cases in which the actions of the party responsible for your injuries were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages are not meant to make the injured party whole, but rather to punish the responsible party for their wrongdoing and help deter them (and others) from similar behaviors in the future. In West Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or four times the compensatory damages.
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in West Virginia is two years from the date of the injury. If you miss this deadline, you may lose out on your right to recover compensation for your injuries. This is one of many of reasons it is best to get in contact with a seasoned attorney sooner rather than later.
Mistakes that should be avoided during a personal injury case:
Waiting Too Long to Seek Medical Attention
One of the most critical mistakes that an injured person makes is failing to get prompt medical treatment. A serious injury is not likely to go away on its own, and you need to see a doctor and get on the road to recovery as soon as possible. You also need to have medical documentation if you hope to recover compensation from a legal claim, and the longer you wait to see a doctor, the more complicated your case will become.
Not Keeping Documentation of the Accident and Injury
In addition to getting medical treatment and documenting it, another common mistake people make is failing to keep detailed records of their accident and injury. Ideally, you should have photos of the accident scene from various angles that can help show how the injury was caused, and you should have retained the contact information of any individuals who may have witnessed the event. You should also create a detailed report of what happened while everything is fresh in your mind, and it is a good idea to keep a day-to-day journal of your experiences as you go through the long and arduous recovery process.
Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
Putting off filing a legal claim is another mistake that can make things more complicated. For one thing, there is a deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In West Virginia, for example, it is two years for most cases. The deadline might be sooner though if you are suing a government agency. Waiting too long can also make it more difficult to investigate the accident and recover important pieces of evidence that might be critical to winning your case. The bottom line is that the sooner you file, the better your chances of a successful outcome.
Talking About the Case on Social Media
Any good personal injury lawyer will tell you never to admit fault for the accident you were involved in, and to say as little as possible about it to anyone outside of your legal counsel. But with social media so prevalent in our lives today, it is easy to forget these rules when you go on Facebook or whatever your favorite social platform is.
Keep in mind that anything you post on social media is considered public information, and even if you have strong privacy settings, all of these posts are discoverable in a lawsuit. This is why the best rule (with regards social media activity during a personal injury claim) is to unplug for a while and stay silent until your case is resolved.
Accepting a Quick Settlement Offer
Insurance companies know that injury victims are usually highly motivated to get a settlement check as soon as possible, and they will often use this to try to take advantage of the situation and pay out as little as they can get away with. It might be tempting to accept the first offer that you receive, but this offer is usually for far lower than what your case is worth. Never accept any type of settlement offer without speaking to an attorney first. Even if you do not ultimately retain the services of an attorney, it is still good to talk with them about your case to make sure that the offer you have received is fair.
Not Obtaining Experienced Legal Representation
If your personal injury case has any type of complicating factors at all (such as a moderate to severe injury or a question over who might have been at fault), you should strongly consider not only hiring a lawyer, but obtaining a lawyer who has extensive experience with personal injury cases. This is a very complex area of the law, and there are a lot of important nuances that only become known through years and decades of trying cases like these.
Tips for Coping with the Physical and Emotional Effects of an Injury
Although facing the effects of a personal injury can seem overwhelming and almost impossible in the moment, there are ways to help cope with the physical and emotional toll that the injury takes:
Get Your Immediate Family Involved
Personal injuries are not only devastating for victims; they can adversely impact families in numerous ways as well. In many cases, however, victims are inclined to remain silent about the issues they are facing so they do not become a burden to those around them. But this can actually make things more tense and stressful in the household, which might make it more difficult to recover.
Most family members will want to know what is going on and how they can help. This is a good time to speak with them about what the doctor has said about the injury, what the recovery process will look like, and what changes might need to be made in order to deal effectively with the injury. If you get your family involved, you may find that they will become an invaluable source of encouragement and support as you go through this.
Reach Out to Relatives and Friends
Another place where you can find a lot of support and encouragement is from your circle of close friends and relatives. They will often be willing to help you with things that you need done or pickup items that you are unable to get yourself. Those closest to you are also the ones you can usually count on if you just need someone to talk to about the things you are dealing with. Maybe they cannot make an in-person visit for safety reasons while the pandemic is ongoing, but you might still be able to arrange virtual meetings using a platform like Skype or Zoom.
Focus on What You Can Control
Getting injured is tough on anyone, and we as humans have a tendency to make things worse by replaying events in our head and thinking about what we could have done differently to avoid what happened. This is a natural reaction, but it is very important not to spend too much time dwelling on past events that you cannot change. Take the time you need to “grieve” the things you have lost because of the injury, then try to focus most of your attention on getting recovered or reaching maximum medical improvement (MMI).
Seek Professional Help If Needed
For many people, there is a stigma attached to seeing a therapist for emotional and psychological issues they are facing. But the truth is that millions of people face issues that they have a hard time working through on their own. When this is the case, there is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help. A therapist who has worked with many others facing similar issues can provide you with some of the strategies and tools necessary to help cope with the psychological impact of your injury.
Free Initial Consultation with an Accident Lawyer in West Virginia
If you or a loved one suffered an injury that was someone else’s fault, Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. s here to help! Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys in Charleston, Logan or Summersville.
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.