A grand jury chose not to indict a West Virginia man on vehicular homicide charges, believing that there was not enough evidence. The Athens County Grand Jury had convened following a tragic situation where two seniors — Mary and Fred Hart — were killed after being struck from behind by a vehicle. The accident happened on an interstate highway in neighboring Ohio.
The grand jury determined that the driver, a 34-year old from Fairmont, West Virginia, did not have alcohol in his system at the time of the accident. Rather, investigators at the scene blamed inattentiveness for the collision. The case will now be referred back to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which will likely file misdemeanor charges against the driver.
Car accidents are sadly common, with an estimated 5.5 million occurring each year. In West Virginia, they are especially common along Interstate 79 and Interstate 68, and several routes throughout the state. The results can include everything from whiplash to serious injuries to your neck, back, and brain — or, in the case of the unfortunate couple here, death. Those fortunate enough to survive car accidents may be left with debilitating injuries. Even a “mild” injury like whiplash can have results that last for years.
If you or your loved one is in a car accident, what can you do? One of the first things to do is hire a West Virginia car accident attorney to help you get relief. Although insurance companies are tasked with paying for car accident injuries, they may not cover everything, and often will act resistant when you try to argue with them. Therefore, you need someone who can help you get more monetary funds to pay the medical bills that crop up as a result of the accident. An attorney has the experience and resources to help you determine if the insurance company settlement is fair or not, or whether the other driver’s fault was so great that you could obtain a large award at trial.
If the other driver was largely responsible for the car accident, you would file a suit in court stating that the driver was negligent. You would argue that the other driver had a duty to people on the road (including yourself) to drive safely, and the other driver breached that duty through careless driving. The breach was the direct or proximate cause of your injury, and you suffered physical and property damage as a result. Even if you were partially at fault for the car accident, you can still collect a monetary award in court as long as you were less than 50% at fault. That’s because West Virginia has a “modified comparative negligence” system, as opposed to a pure comparative negligence system (where a party can collect no matter what their level of fault as long as it is not 100%) or a contributory negligence system (where a party cannot collect even if it is only 5% at fault). Often a negligence case will be settled before it goes to trial. If not, the outcome of the case will be decided by a jury.
We at the Wolfe Law Firm have more than two decades of experience with car accident lawsuits. If you were in a car accident and need relief, contact our attorneys right away for a free consultation.