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Knowing Your Rights:  5 Facts You May Not Know About Car Accident Cases and Compensation Rights

by Personal Injury Claims Blawg on June 24, 2018

Contribution regarding car accident compensation from a personal injury lawyer in the US. 

Human error causes over 90 percent of the car crashes in West Virginia. Typically, these crashes are not “accidents.” Rather, they involve negligence, which is a lack of ordinary care. If that is the case, substantial compensation may be available.

However, the insurance company earns money by collecting premiums, not by paying damages. Therefore, insurance company lawyers use any means necessary to reduce or deny compensation to the victims. So, to ensure fair compensation for your injuries, you need aggressive legal help for your auto crash. Only an experienced attorney knows how to navigate issues like the ones discussed below.

The EDR

Many people do not know that their car probably has an Event Data Recorder. The government requires these devices to be in all new cars. This device records important information like:

  • Engine acceleration or deceleration,
  • Vehicle speed, and
  • Steering angle.

Hard evidence from an EDR is one of the easiest ways to establish a lack of ordinary care. However, this information is not easy to access. First, due to privacy laws, an attorney may need a court order to inspect it. But before that can happen, an attorney usually sends a spoliation letter to the defendant. That way, the insurance company does not destroy the EDR when it destroys the totaled vehicle.

Medical Bills

Most health insurance companies do not pay injury-related medical bills for liability reasons. As a result, many victims are faced with tens of thousands of dollars in emergency care bills alone.

An attorney helps here. With a letter of protection, a lawyer can arrange for a victim to receive medical care at no upfront cost. This letter guarantees payment to the provider when the case is resolved. So, victims get the care they need to get better, instead of the care they are able to afford at the time.

The Burden of Proof

Some people think that a negligence case is rather like a divorce case, and the victim really needs to prove nothing. Others believe that a negligence case is like a murder case, and the victim must prove fault beyond a reasonable doubt.

But neither extreme is true. The victim must establish negligence, but only by a preponderance of the evidence. That is a legal term which means “more likely than not.” So, if there is just a little more evidence favoring the plaintiff, the plaintiff normally wins the case.

Comparative Fault

Similarly, many people believe that if they were partially at fault for the crash that they cannot collect damages. For example, perhaps the victim was speeding and the tortfeasor (negligent driver) was intoxicated.

In 2015, West Virginia changed its contributory negligence law. Now, victims are eligible for a proportional share of damages as long as the tortfeasors were at least 51 percent responsible for the crashes.

A Trial

Contrary to popular belief, only a few cases go to trial. Most settle out-of-court during mediation or during informal settlement talks between the parties. Such settlements save time and eliminate the risk of a trial. So, assuming that your lawyer can get favorable terms, a settlement is usually in the victim’s best interests.

If you were hurt in a crash, get a good lawyer today.

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

Personal Injury Claims Blawg

PI claims blogger at PIClaimsBlawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg is a personal injury law blog, inviting contributions from practitioners, PI law firms and legal academics across the UK, US and beyond. The post above has been published because of the high value associated with the author's work. Contact us if you'd like to get published today.
Personal Injury Claims Blawg
Personal Injury Claims Blawg

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