I Have Been Hurt by a Negligent Driver, What Can I Claim?


My new personal injury clients often tell me, “All I want is my medical bills paid.”. We can do that, assuming:

a. Fault by the other party; and,

b. A fund of insurance or others resources to satisfy your claim.

West Virginia personal injury law permits you to claim reimbursement for reasonable medical expenses proximately caused by the negligent act, lost wages, physical pain, suffering, and discomfort; emotional loss (psychic pain); loss of enjoyment of life; aggravation and inconvenience; permanent impairment; and disfigurement.

Such damages are typically several times, two to ten, of your medical expenses.

Although claims can be reduced by pre-existing conditions, I usually recover more because a vulnerable, pre-existing, condition often leads to more severe injury. Common sense tells us that a weak or sore back is likely to be more seriously injured in a rear end collision or fall on ice than a strong, healthy one.

BUT, I urge my client not to brag to a friend in the check out lane at their food store about the “big bucks” they expect to get. Once, I got a call from the checkout clerk alerting me to my client’s brags and the impact it had on others in the line. DON’T DO IT!

A settle pre-suit of $75,000 is worth as much as a $125,000 jury award when risk, delay and expense are considered. Our fee percentage is less (20%-25%) if suit does not have to be filed. After suit it is % 33 1/3 to % 40, depending on the complexity.

A valuable tool, after AND before suit, is mediation with a capable civil mediator. No competent personal injury lawyer will send you alone to mediation. They know that would be crazy. Sadly, in much of our state, family law lawyers often are not so perceptive.

A good lawyer can negotiate twice the settlement that you can, covering her/his fee and expenses and still netting you more, and quicker.

Don’t hesitate to write via comment here, or to hunterjb@hunterlawfirm.net, or call 304 472-7477 , for more information.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

1 Comment

  • Almost forgot! The spouses of married claimants usually have a claim of their own, loss of consortuim. That is, loss of services such as intimacy, work around the home, or gardening. Rarely is loss of consortium even 10% of the total claim. If my clients report marital problems, I may recognize that each consult a lawyer regarding potential conflicts.

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