Morgantown is a college town with a metro area population of around 130,000. Our community is also home to West Virginia State University, Mountaineer Field, WVU Coliseum, and several popular tourist attractions: Morgantown not only features sports, the University, plenty of shopping, and places to stay, but it also features white water rafting, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Popular events include the All American Grand Bash, the MountainFest Motorcycle Rally, a cupcake and beer fest, the Monongalia County Fair, a wine and jazz festival, and a country festival. People come from all over the country to enjoy the town that has just about everything.
Unfortunately, with the influx of students and tourists taking advantage of these opportunities throughout the year, the rate of car accidents is also troublingly high. Morgantown drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike are all at constant risk of injury due to another party’s negligence.
Accident victims should first seek medical care, and then contact a Morgantown car accident lawyer immediately; one of the compassionate Morgantown car accident attorneys at Wagoner Desai, PLLC can help with filing insurance claims, identifying liable parties, and, if necessary, filing lawsuits to get the compensation clients deserve.
How Many Car Accidents Happen in Morgantown?
A multi-vehicle accident on I-68 near the Pierpoint Road exit resulted in the deaths of two people in Morgantown. The accident occurred when a vehicle allegedly entered the eastbound lanes while driving the wrong direction. The Chrysler 300 reportedly sideswiped an SUV before striking another vehicle head-on. A fourth vehicle was also involved. The driver of the vehicle that was sideswiped was ejected and died at the scene. The wrong-way driver in the Chrysler was transported to the hospital, where she later died of her injuries.
As horrific as the accident was, serious car accidents are actually not an uncommon occurrence in Morgantown and beyond. Nationally, around 143 million Americans commute each day, resulting in the deaths of around 40,000 people each year and injuries to hundreds of thousands more.
In recent years West Virginia had 304 traffic fatalities and 1,063 serious traffic injuries. An older study showed that West Virginia saw 20.56 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 12.38 deaths per 100,000 people nationwide. The vehicle miles traveled fatality rate was also higher in West Virginia during that time, with 1.89 fatalities per 100 million VMT compared to 1.27 fatalities per 100 million VMT for the nation. At the time of the study, Kanawha had the highest number of fatalities with 8.2 percent, while Monongalia had 4.2 percent.
Of the 55 counties in West Virginia, Monongalia—where Morgantown is situated—came in with fourth for the highest number of traffic accident fatalities. Berkeley, Raleigh, and Kanawha ranked third through first, respectively.
All West Virginia Traffic Fatalities
What to Do After an Accident?
Your actions after an accident may depend on your injuries. If all you can do is call first responders, then do that—don’t assume that someone else will call. If able, check on other drivers. If you can safely move without causing harm, take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to get photos from all angles.
Get the contact information, driver’s license and registration information, and insurance information for anyone involved in the accident. Finally, get the contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident. Once the police release you, contact your insurance company to let them know your name, and the date, time, and location of the accident.
Do not give the insurance company any other information other than your Morgantown car accident attorney’s contact information. The representative may try to twist your words in an attempt to later deny your claim or to justify a low-ball offer.
Remember, insurance companies are in business to make money. Any claim they have to pay out reduces their bottom line, so they will usually try to pay the least amount possible. If they think they can get away with denying your claim, they will do it. Don’t bother playing their game: Refer any insurers to your Morgantown car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
What Are Common Accident Injuries?
The injuries you could suffer from a car accident vary widely and depend greatly on the circumstances of the accident.
Injuries could range from:
- Bruises, cuts, and scrapes;
- Road rash;
- Strained, sprained, torn, or pulled muscles and other soft tissue injuries;
- Simple and/or compound fractures;
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Back and spinal cord injuries;
- Paralysis; and
What Are Recoverable Damages?
West Virginia allows you to recover three types of damages: Economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. The court orders the defendant to pay economic and non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again. If the court awards punitive damages, it does so as a punishment against the defendant, and only when the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentionally malicious.
What Are Economic Damages?
Special damages, or economic damages, have a specific monetary value to them. The court orders the defendant to pay economic damages to reimburse you for any out-of-pocket expenses you have that are related to the accident.
Economic damages include:
- Past and future medical expenses, including expenses for ambulatory aids and accessibility modifications for homes and cars;
- Past and future cognitive, physical, and psychological therapies;
- Past and future lost wages;
- Replacement and/or repair of destroyed or damaged property; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
General damages, or non-economic damages, do not have a specific value. The court also orders the defendant to pay non-economic damages in an attempt to make you whole again. Although no amount of money can remove long-term or permanent disabilities caused by car accident injuries, nor can it bring a loved one back, the money does go a long way in reducing financial stress and promoting a return to normalcy.
Non-economic damages often include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of use of a body part;
- Loss of use of a bodily function;
- Loss of companionship;
- Loss of consortium;
- Paralysis; and
Generally, the court only awards non-economic damages if you have long-term or permanent disabilities due to your car accident injuries. Additionally, you might win non-economic damages when the car accident injuries exacerbate pre-existing disabilities. The Social Security Administration defines a long-term disability as one that doctors expect to last at least 12 months or to result in your death.
What Are Punitive Damages?
The court typically only awards punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were intentionally malicious or grossly negligent. Additionally, West Virginia caps punitive damages. Consult your Morgantown car accident lawyer to learn more about what damages might apply in your case.
When Should You Contact a Morgantown Car Accident Attorney at Wagoner Desai, PLLC?
While Morgantown is a fantastic place to live, work, and visit, our community is also not immune from the constant risk of injury due to a reckless or irresponsible motorist. The compassionate associates at Wagoner Desai, PLLC are here to ensure no member of the Morgantown community should suffer injury or loss without receiving justice. If you suffer from car accident injuries or lost a loved one in a car accident, contact Wagoner Desai, PLLC at (304) 470-2056 or email us through our contact page for a free consultation.
“After a car accident I was represented by Chirag Desai. He made the whole experience so much less stressful as I was pregnant at the time. He explained everything very well and answered all my questions when I had them. He went above and beyond to make sure everything was handled fairly and was very quick to reply or answer any phone calls. Would definitely work with him again if ever needed. Highly recommend.”
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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