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West Virginia Car Insurance Laws

February 25, 2020 | Personal Injury

While nobody wants to get into a car accident, the fact is that accidents are a regular occurrence in and around our area. According to the latest reporting year of data, there were 268 fatalities and 1,381 serious injuries as a result of traffic accidents in West Virginia. Many thousands more sustained less serious injuries that still required costly medical care.

It is important to understand West Virginia car insurance laws because victims in these incidents should be able to count on insurance coverage to recover compensation for their losses.

What are the West Virginia Car Insurance Requirements?

Every state has laws requiring car insurance for drivers. In West Virginia, the minimum requirements and limits for drivers include the following:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist property damage: $25,000 per accident

Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage is not required in West Virginia and can be rejected in writing by the policyholder when they obtain coverage.

West Virginia is a “Fault” State Concerning Car Accidents

Unlike some of the “no-fault” states in this country in which drivers use their personal insurance to cover injury in property damage expenses, insurance and lawsuit compensation in a West Virginia accident will be determined based on who was at-fault for the car accident.

In the aftermath of a car accident, every driver involved will report the incident to their insurance carrier. The insurance carrier will then conduct an investigation to determine which party was at fault. The insurance carrier of the at-fault driver will be responsible for covering compensation for any damages, up to the monetary limits outlined in the policyholder’s coverage.

What if More than One Party is At-Fault?

Under West Virginia’s modified comparative negligence laws, any driver who is 50% or less at fault for an accident is able to recover compensation for their losses. However, any compensation awarded will be reduced based on the driver’s percentage of fault.

For example, if it is determined that a driver sustained $10,000 in total damages due to the car accident, but that driver was also 10% responsible for the incident, they would only receive $9,000 in total compensation. Any driver who is more than 50% responsible for an accident will not be allowed to recover compensation for the incident.

While the state’s comparative negligence laws may seem like a good thing, particularly for those who are partially at fault, they can also be used by the insurance carrier to try to lower a settlement amount. Insurance carriers will do what they can to pay as little as possible in any settlement. They will work diligently to lay as much blame on the other party is possible in order to reduce their liability. That is why it is vital that anyone involved in a car accident secure their own car accident attorney so they can be properly represented and secure maximum compensation.

What Type of Compensation is Available?

There are various types of compensation available in the aftermath of a car accident. It is not uncommon for a car accident victim to receive the following in an insurance settlement:

  • Coverage of all medical expenses
  • Compensation for lost wages if they cannot work
  • Compensation for property damage

If a car accident victim’s expenses exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver at-fault driver.