Whether you were hit by a car as a pedestrian, involved in a collision with another vehicle, or hurt in a single-vehicle accident due to a malfunction with your own vehicle, a motor vehicle accident can change your life forever. The consequences of your injuries can affect you for the rest of your life, financially and in terms of quality of life. Your loved ones suffer for it too.
Full and fair compensation for your injuries, losses and your future losses can correct the financial harm and give you access to medical care and other services that can help you get your life back.
Unfortunately, insurance companies will not hand over the money they owe you without a fight, and they have teams of attorneys dedicated to standing between accident victims like you and the money you deserve.
You need a tenacious motor vehicle accident attorney on your side. Attorney Jeff Mehalic will fight aggressively for to ensure you receive full compensation. If you or someone you love was injured in a West Virginia motor vehicle accident, call Mehalic Law PLLC at 304-346-3462 today to schedule your free consultation. We welcome clients from Morgantown, Wheeling, Martinsburg and nearby areas in West Virginia.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Mehalic Law PLLC handles a wide range of motor vehicle accidents including:
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- ATV accidents
Protecting Your Motor Vehicle Accident Claim
The steps you take, or fail to take, after an accident can make or break your case no matter how much you deserve compensation. You can protect your legal rights and the value of your claim by doing the following:
- Get medical attention immediately after the crash, even if you do not feel like you were injured. It is important to document any injuries right away, even though you may not feel the pain or notice the symptoms until much later, after you have calmed down and the adrenaline has worn off. If you wait, the insurance company may try to claim that your injuries were caused by something else.
- Talk to an experience West Virginia motor vehicle accident attorney right away. As time passes, evidence gets lost or destroyed and witnesses are harder to locate and their memories fade. Your attorney will want to start the investigation right away.
- Keep time limits in mind. Another reason to talk to an attorney right away is that time limits will apply to your case. The statute of limitations is your time limit for filing your lawsuit, but you may have other deadlines that come up much sooner. For instance, if you must sue a government entity you have a very short amount of time to take legal action.
- Do not sign anything or accept any offers from the insurance companies without talking to an attorney first. If you accept, you will not have the right to go back later and ask for more when you discover that the insurance company did not give you nearly enough to pay for your injuries.
- Keep off of social media. The insurance company will be looking for anything to use against you. This means not only twisting anything you might say about the accident, but also using posts about your daily life or activities to try to show that you are not as seriously injured as you say you are.
Driver negligence is at the heart of most motor vehicle accident cases. Examples of the types of negligence that can cause or contribute to a crash include:
- Distracted driving
- Intoxication with alcohol or drugs, including prescription or over-the-counter drugs
- Drowsy driving
- Failure to yield right of way
- Speeding – over limit
- Excessive speed for the conditions, even if under the speed limit
- Failure to signal
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Following too closely
- Failure to maintain lane
- Unsafe lane change
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Improperly secured cargo
- Aggressive driving
Distracted driving contributes to far too many crashes, and it is completely preventable. Texting and device use may be common driving behavior, but that does not relieve drivers of their responsibility when they cause an accident. Old, no-tech distractions are also still a real threat on our roadways. Common distractions that lead to accidents include:
- Texting, using social media, watching videos, and other device use
- Talking on the phone
- GPS use
- Adjusting vehicle settings, such as seat position or climate control
- Adjusting the stereo
- Eating and drinking
- Personal grooming
- Tending to children
- Talking to or roughhousing with passengers
Proving distracted driving takes skill and experience, but just as today’s technology makes distracted driving more prevalent, it also provides us with more sources of evidence. Examples of the types of evidence that may be used to prove distracted driving include:
- Phone records
- Footage from traffic cameras, web cams, surveillance cameras, and other cameras in the area
- Photos and video taken by witnesses, passengers or even the distracted driver, often posted to social media
- Witness statements
Defective vehicles are behind many senseless tragedies. You have probably heard about a few high-profile recalls on the news, but they represent only a small portion of defects that cost lives every day. More common are the defects that never make the news and do not prompt recalls. The defect that caused or contributed to your injuries does not need to be in the news or be the subject of a recall in order for you to recover compensation through a product liability lawsuit.
Some defects cause accidents, while others cause injuries to be worse in accidents that have another cause. A few, such as airbags that deploy when they should not, can do both. Examples of defects that can cause accidents or injuries include:
- Faulty suspension
- Defective steering systems
- Defective tires
- Faulty brakes
- Faulty ignition switch
- Defects leading to unintended acceleration
- Electrical system defects
- Faulty sensors
- Defective design leading to rollover
- Defective electronic stability control (ESC)
- Fuel system defects
- Collapsing seat backs
- Defective seat belt
- Defective air bags
- Poor roof crush resistance
- Defective window glazing
- Defective door latch
It is worth mentioning that there are also defects that can cause injury or death to people who are not in the vehicle and without the vehicle being in use. These types of events typically involve cars parked inside garages, injuring or killing people in the home and include electrical system defects that cause fires and keyless ignition defects leading to carbon monoxide poisoning.
If a defective vehicle has caused your accident or contributed to the seriousness of your injuries, we will seek compensation from one or more of the following:
- Auto manufacturer
- New or used dealership
- Parts manufacturer or seller
- Rental company
- Repair shop
- Another along the supply chain, such as car hauler
Even though the majority of ATV accidents happen off-road, you can still recover compensation for your injuries in many cases. All-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents sometimes involve driver negligence, but more often are caused by defective ATV’s. Defects are not limited to those which cause a malfunction. ATVs are often marketed for use by children who are too young to use them safely or for use in ways they cannot safely perform. Many lack the proper warnings of specific dangers that users can avoid.
Accident cases involving commercial trucks are much more complex. State and federal trucking regulations can apply. The trucking company is typically held liable, even in cases where truck driver negligence caused the accident. Trucking companies have many legal duties including proper hiring and monitoring practices and proper maintenance of their vehicles.
Like trucks, buses are also subject to state and federal regulations, and there may be another layer of complexity. Depending on the type of bus you may be suing a government entity such as a municipality or school district. This affects the time limits involved and the rules and procedures for pursuing your case. You need the help of an experienced bus accident attorney to determine who can be held liable and to ensure that all of the details of your case are handled properly and in a timely fashion so that your case is not lost on a technicality.
Bus accidents also frequently involve pedestrian injuries. It is far more common for passengers to be injured while boarding or exiting buses than to be injured in a collision between a bus and another vehicle. And, when injuries involve people boarding or exiting buses, they often involve dangerous bus stop design, which may lead to a defective roadway lawsuit.
Please, don’t go it alone after a motor vehicle accident. The insurance companies will use every trick in the book to stand between you and your money. If you are not represented by an attorney, the insurance adjusters and their attorneys are even more likely to take advantage of you.
When you choose Mehalic Law PLLC to represent you in your motor vehicle accident claim, your initial consultation is free of charge. If you choose to move forward with your case, attorney Jeff Mehalic will represent you on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay attorneys’ fees unless we win money for you.
Call 304-346-3462 or complete the form on this page today to schedule your free consultation. Our firm serves Morgantown, Wheeling, Martinsburg and other areas throughout West Virginia.