No one ever plans for a serious injury. Even if you had the foresight to think ahead by purchasing great health insurance and disability insurance, a serious accident may result in more costs than either of these insurance types can possibly pay for. When a personal injury is caused by the negligent or reckless actions or omissions of another party, the injured party deserves to be compensated.
At the office of The Masters Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers understand that you may not be prepared for the costs and losses that accompany a serious injury, and we are here to help. When you retain our legal team, we will work hard to build your case, prove fault, and recover a settlement that fully compensates you for your losses.
We Help Those Who Have Suffered Serious Injuries
If you have suffered a serious injury, our legal team can help you understand your rights and pursue the compensation award you deserve. We have helped those who have been involved in a variety of tragic accidents over the years, and who have suffered a range of catastrophic injuries. Our personal injury practice areas include but are not limited to:
Wrongful death. While suffering an injury yourself can be very traumatic, losing a loved one to an accident caused by another’s negligence is nothing short of tragic. If you can prove that the accident and death would not have occurred but for the at-fault party’s actions, you can bring forth a wrongful death claim for damages.
Car accidents. Car accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of injury and death in West Virginia. If you’ve been in a crash caused by another party’s negligence, we can help you to understand our state’s “fault” insurance rules and bring forth a claim for liability.
Motorcycle accidents. Even more dangerous than getting in a car, riding a motorcycle is a risky way of getting around. With few protections to prevent injuries in the event of a crash, the injuries that a motorcyclist suffers if a crash does occur are often very severe and debilitating.
Nursing home negligence and abuse. Learning that a nursing home staff member has neglected or even abused an elderly family member who is depending on care can be nothing short of shocking. If the elderly resident suffers harm, the nursing home can be held liable.
Premises liability accidents. When headed to the park, a friend’s house, or the grocery store, being involved in an accident is surely the last thing you expect. But when dangerous conditions on a property exist, accidents can happen. When they do, the property owner may be held liable in some cases.
Defective product injuries. When a product is made available for consumer purchase and use, the manufacturer of that product has a duty to ensure that it is safe. If it’s not and a consumer is harmed, the manufacturer could be held liable.
Workplace injury claims. People go to work expecting their employer to follow safe practices, to have safe equipment, and to comply with health and safety laws. At times, an employer does not follow safety rules, and it can cause you great harm. Under certain circumstances you can file a lawsuit against your employer, in addition to filing for traditional Workers’ Compensation. We also serve workplace injury victims in Parkersburg, WV.
Catastrophic injury claims. A catastrophic accident refers to any event that causes permanent and disabling injury. Examples of catastrophic injuries may include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, burn injuries, amputation injuries, and serious fracture injuries.
Pedestrian injury claims. We are all pedestrians at some point, so we can all identify with the fear of being struck by a vehicle. We handle such cases, and help provide financial relief to victims of pedestrian injuries.
Your Right to Recovery After a Personal Injury
After being involved in an accident, who is to blame for your injuries or what your rights are may not be obvious. When you call our lawyers, we’ll work with you to guide you through your rights and legal options. If you can prove that another party’s negligent actions were the proximate cause of your accident and injuries, you can hold that party liable for the full extent of your losses, seeking damages for your:
Medical bills. You deserve compensation for 100 percent of your medical bills and future medical bills.
Lost wages. Being injured often means being unable to work, sometimes long-term or permanently. If you have lost wages and suffered other income-related benefits, such as the future value of a 401(k) or investments, you can seek compensation for the full value of these losses as well.
Property damage costs. Was your car, motorcycle, or another type of personal property damaged or destroyed in your accident? If so, you are entitled to compensation for the full value of this property.
Pain, suffering, and other non-economic losses. Finally, in addition to the value of all of the economic damages you have suffered, you also deserve compensation for all of the non-economic losses, such as the value of the pain and suffering you have endured.
Here are some critical mistakes to avoid during a personal injury case:
Putting Off Getting Medical Attention
One of the first mistakes people often make after suffering a personal injury is to put off going in to see a doctor. This happens frequently with accidents in which it takes a while for the injuries to be felt. For example, you might be involved in a high-speed collision and the trauma of the crash accelerates your heart rate and gives you an explosion of adrenaline. While at the accident scene, you might not have felt any immediate pain, but after a day or two, you start to notice aches in various places like your neck and back.
If there is any hint that you might have any injuries, you should always get medical attention right away. This will help ensure that any injuries you have are quickly diagnosed and you receive the appropriate treatments. You have a legal duty to mitigate your losses after a personal injury, and if you put off seeing a doctor, your recovery could take longer, and your legal claim might be in jeopardy as well.
Ignoring the Doctor’s Advice
Recovering from an injury is hard work, and you need to be diligent about following your doctor’s orders. It is easy to get complacent and miss appointments or not do your physical therapy exercises. It is also very tempting to want to get back to normal life and do the things you were doing before you got injured. It is very important to avoid any of these behaviors as they can set your recovery back significantly. You could also end up in trouble with your legal claim if the insurance company finds out that you are not following your doctor’s advice.
Being Active on Social Media
In today’s digital age, just about everyone has at least one social media account that they like to use to keep connected with their friends and family. This is fine under normal circumstances, but when you are in the middle of a personal injury case, it is best to unplug from social media until the case is over. Insurance companies have ways of uncovering your posts even if you take steps to make them private, and they are very good at taking comments and photos out of context in ways that may undermine your claim.
Accepting a Quick Settlement Offer
Insurance companies know that an injured person is usually highly motivated to receive compensation to get their medical bills paid and get caught up on other household expenses, and they will often offer to settle early on so they can get the case off of their books. While it might be tempting to take the offer, it is usually not wise from a financial standpoint.
Early settlement offers are typically for a significantly lower amount than your case is really worth. In fact, you may not even know the extent of your injuries at this point in the process, so it would be impossible to fully calculate all of your losses. As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait”. It may be tough in the short term to hold off on taking a settlement, but it will most often yield much better results in the long run.
Handling the Claim on Your Own
In some circumstances, an accident injury victim might be able to handle the claim on their own. For example, if you got rear-ended by another vehicle, sustained mild injuries, and the insurance company has given you a settlement offer that you think is fair, then you might be okay to accept the settlement and move on with your life. But even in a situation like this, it would still be beneficial to run this by an attorney to make sure there are no complicating factors that you might have overlooked.
If there are any complicating factors, then you will probably need a lawyer to help ensure that you recover full and fair compensation for your injuries. Here are a couple examples of situations when having an attorney will be extremely beneficial:
You Have more Extensive Injuries
There are many cases in which accident injuries are more serious than they originally appear. For example, at the time of a vehicle crash, you might not feel any pain initially because of the adrenaline rush you are experiencing, but a few days later, you might start experiencing neck and back pain that gets progressively worse and doesn’t go away. Whenever you are involved in an accident, particularly one in which the collision occurs at a higher speed, you should always get prompt medical attention.
If you do end up suffering moderate to severe injuries, this could involve being out of work for an extended period of time and significant medical bills. You should be compensated for these as well as intangible losses such as the physical pain and suffering you have to endure, the anxiety and psychological distress of having to deal with the injury, and diminished quality of life if the injury is keeping you from participating in activities you once enjoyed. A lawyer will be able to accurately calculate all of your losses and seek a settlement that fully reimburses you.
You are Being Treated Unfairly by the Insurance Company
Maybe you have already started working directly with the insurance company on the claims process and you are finding out that it is a lot more difficult than you anticipated. Maybe the insurance company is trying to pin some of the blame on you, or maybe they are slow walking the claim and not contacting you in a timely manner in hopes of frustrating you into giving up and/or accepting a lowball settlement. You also need to be aware of the statute of limitations in which to file a personal injury lawsuit, which is generally two years in West Virginia. When an insurance company delays processing of a claim, they are “running out the clock” on this deadline, which means eventually you will not have the option to take them to court if they do not give you a fair offer.
If you are running into any problems dealing with the insurance company, then you should get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you get an attorney involved in your case, the better your chances of securing a favorable resolution.
Dealing with the insurance company on your own is wrought with pitfalls. Negotiating with the insurance company can also be a difficult process if you are not experienced with these types of proceedings, and it is often better to have an experienced attorney handle this for you.
Negotiating a Full and Fair Settlement for Your Car Accident Injury
n many auto accidents, drivers walk away without being aware of what they are owed, how they need to be compensated, or their legal rights. Sadly, insurance companies use this lack of knowledge to downplay claims, convince claimants to accept less than they deserve, or limit payments.
In such scenarios, where the thought of negotiating with your insurer or that of the other motorist is daunting, a seasoned car crash attorney can guide you through the complex process of negotiating a claim and securing a settlement. An attorney with a proven track record at trial can negotiate from a greater position of strength knowing that the case can be litigated if the other side is not willing to be reasonable.
According to studies, people who hire a lawyer are more likely to collect a larger compensatory settlement than those who attempt to negotiate directly with insurers.
Maintain Accurate Records about the Car Wreck
It is a good idea to maintain a file of records on your car crash that is organized in chronological order. In this file, there should be a police report (if one exists), records of medical appointments, vehicle repair bills, and anything else that is pertinent to your car crash. These documents will often be presented during negotiations, and the settlement process will be made faster if these records are on hand.
Calculate a Reasonable Settlement Amount
You will need to calculate what you believe your claim is reasonably worth before sending a demand letter to your insurer. The following should be taken into account when determining the settlement amount:
The costs related to your medical care and associated expenses
The loss of income you incurred due to your inability to work
Whether you need long-term medical attention or are permanently disabled
Any pain and suffering you experienced following the crash
The expenses related to the repair or replacement of your vehicle, or any other property that sustained damage due to the accident
On the basis of the above, you can determine a minimum settlement amount that you are willing to accept. A car accident lawyer can assist you in calculating a fair settlement for your losses.
Send a Comprehensive Demand Letter to the Insurer
Upon determining what you believe your claim is worth, send a detailed demand letter to the insurer. This letter describes your car crash, your injuries, the medical treatments you required, any associated medical problems you have, how severely your car was damaged, and any other losses you experienced due to the car accident.
After this, tell the insurer how much money you demand with the given circumstances. Importantly, you should quote an amount that is 25 to 100 percent above what you are willing to settle for, which helps counter the fact that insurance companies typically reply with a lower settlement amount than what you asked for in the demand letter.
It is vital to have paperwork and evidence to support every element in your demand letter. You may not receive the offer you deserve if there is a lack of evidence.
Don’t Accept the Initial Offer
An initial offer made by an insurance adjuster may be too low. The insurance company might check whether you know what you claim is worth by sending an unreasonably low first offer. In such situations, you should ask the insurance adjuster to state their reasons for the low offer and why they believe your claim is so low.
Draft a reply letter explaining your reasons for rejecting the offer as well as responding to each of the points the insurance adjuster makes. Wait to see whether the insurance company raises its offer, and do not propose a reduced figure.
In case the initial offer is fair but still too low, you may counter with a somewhat reduced amount than you sought in your demand letter. The insurer will be more than ready to settle if your counteroffer is reasonable.
You Need a Skilled West Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer on Your Side
Knowing your rights can be difficult enough; bringing forth a personal injury claim and navigating the legal landscape on your own after suffering a serious injury can prove impossible. When you call our law firm, we will handle the process for you.
Our process begins with an investigation into your case. During this time, we will gather evidence, talk to eyewitnesses, and, if necessary, consult with experts to reconstruct your case and determine exactly what happened and who is to blame. Then, we will calculate your damages and determine what your claim is worth. From there, we can issue a demand letter against the at-fault party’s insurer, review a settlement offer, and negotiate an award on your behalf. While we always seek to settle claims out of court for the benefit of our clients, we will be prepared to file a lawsuit and bring your claim to litigation (when necessary) in order to pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Call The Masters Law Firm for Your Free Consultation Today
Suffering a serious injury can turn your life upside down. We want you to know that you are not alone. When you call our law firm, we will sit down with you to discuss your case free of charge, providing you with the valuable information you need to make the most informed decision about how to proceed.
To learn more about how we can serve you, please call us today at 304-342-3106 or toll free at 1-800-342-3106, visit our office in person, or send us a message telling us more about your injuries using the contact form on our website.