Negligence is an essential concept in the personal injury laws of West Virginia, as in every other state, and it refers to the failure of someone to exercise reasonable care toward others. In the case of auto accidents, it would be the failure of drivers to look out for other drivers as well as for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
There are many forms of negligence. For example, drivers may break traffic laws by speeding, failing to signal a lane change and running red lights. They may not consider road conditions. On icy or snowy roads, for example, it could be considered negligent even to follow the speed limit. Drivers may also fail to hold to a reasonable following distance.
As a part of reasonable care, drivers must keep their vehicle under control at all times. This can include keeping both hands on the steering wheel and avoiding distractions like phone use. Even activities like eating or talking with passengers can take one’s attention from the road.
Drivers will be to blame for a crash if lack of vehicle maintenance contributed to it. Bad brakes, for instance, can be deemed the cause of a rear-end collision. Lastly, drivers are expected to take other common safety measures, such as the wearing of prescription glasses when behind the wheel.
Those who file insurance claims in the wake of car accidents usually hire a lawyer to assist them. The reason is that victims usually are not able, on their own, to obtain evidence of the other side’s negligence. They may also face stiff opposition from the insurance companies and be forced to accept a low-ball settlement. Victims may benefit, then, to schedule a case evaluation with a lawyer. If their lawyer cannot achieve a good settlement, litigation may be necessary.