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Car Accident Laws

Car Accident Laws in West Virginia

Man in a car accident reading document

Basic Virginia Car Accident Laws:

  • Any accidents causing property damage or personal injury must be reported
  • You may file a personal injury lawsuit up to 2 years after the accident
  • Virginia enforces comparative negligence laws which may reduce the amount of damages awarded in a car accident lawsuit

A car accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if you are injured or experience significant damage to your vehicle. Without the right Morgantown car accident lawyer or an understanding of the West Virginia car accident laws, the trauma can continue well after the accident takes place.This guide will provide helpful information regarding the car accident laws in West Virginia.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations in West Virginia

West Virginia law provides two years to bring about a car accident lawsuit according to West Virginia Code section 55-2-12. This two year period begins on the date of the accident.

What this means is if you are involved in a car accident in Morgantown or anywhere in West Virginia, you should seek legal guidance very soon after your accident. Once the two-year statute of limitations is up, you will no longer be allowed to bring about a lawsuit, even if an injury from the accident worsens after that time period.

One thing to note is that the statute of limitations is different than a car insurance claim. Car insurance companies will generally expect a claim to be requested within a few days or weeks of the accident.

When to Report a Car Accident in West Virginia

It is advised to contact the police after any car accident; however, under West Virginia law, law enforcement must be notified of any car accident that results in injury or death, or that results in property damage of $1,000 or more.

In these cases, any driver involved in the crash must contact either:

  • The local police department
  • The county sheriff
  • The West Virginia State Police

West Virginia Comparative Negligence in Car Accident Cases

When it comes to compensation for West Virginia car accident cases, it is important to understand the modified comparative negligence rule under West Virginia Code section 55-7-13c.

This rule means the overall amount of damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage of liability the party is responsible for. For example, if a person is awarded $20,000 for losses, but that person is also judged to be 10 percent responsible for the crash, the total award for the losses will be $18,000.

Car Insurance Requirements in West Virginia

West Virginia is a Fault state, which means that the at-fault driver's insurance company will be responsible for paying for any damages (up to policy limits) that occurred as a result of the accident.

Every driver is required by state law to carry the following minimum insurance:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for property damage
  • $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability

Drivers who fail to maintain the proper insurance requirements risk having their license suspended or their registration revoked (West Virginia Code section 17D-2A-7).

Car Accident Lawyer in West Virginia

While this guide outlines the West Virginia car accident laws, it should not replace a professional Morgantown car accident lawyer. A Morgantown personal injury firm like Hayhurst Law will be able to guide you through the entire process and will give you the best chance at getting the compensation you are entitled to.

Contact Hayhurst Law, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation and discuss your case with Attorney Eric Hayhurst.