If you were recently involved in an auto accident in Charleston or elsewhere in West Virginia, there is a high probability that a driver’s speeding caused the crash.
As the Governors Highway Safety Association reports, speeding is a major safety issue on roads throughout the country. In fact, speeding causes roughly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., according to the GHSA.
When a driver speeds, it often goes beyond careless conduct. A driver who speeds may be acting with a completely reckless disregard for the safety of others.
If you have been harmed by a speeding driver, the auto accident lawyers of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, will work hard to hold the driver accountable and seek the compensation you deserve.
We understand how the victims of a speed-related crash often face severe injuries or the loss of a loved one. We want to help you to move past such a traumatic experience. Contact us today by phone or online to get started with a free consultation.
To understand whether speeding contributed to your crash, you need to understand what is meant by the term. Generally speaking, “speeding” refers to:
Driving faster than the posted speed limit – In most urban areas of West Virginia, the posted speed limit will be 35 mph. The speed limit on most rural highways is 55 mph, while the interstate speed limits are set at 65 mph.
Driving too fast for road and weather conditions – Even though a driver is going slower than the posted speed limit, the driver may still be traveling too fast through a curve or through rainy, foggy, snowy and icy weather.
In either situation, a driver is engaged in unsafe conduct that puts others at risk. This is negligence. Depending on how fast the driver is going, it may be considered gross negligence.
For this reason, if you are injured in a crash caused by a driver’s speeding, you can and should take legal action to hold that driver legally responsible for any injuries you may have suffered.
When you consider the many dangers created by speeding, you can understand why no reasonable driver would engage in this driving behavior. These dangers include:
Additionally, when a crash occurs at a high speed, devastating injuries can result due to the force of the impact. These injuries can include traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage. Frequently, the injuries suffered in a speed-related crash prove to be fatal.
Most people recognize that speeding is dangerous. For instance, in a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 60 percent of respondents agreed that it was “not acceptable” to drive more than 15 mph over the speed limit on a highway.
The problem is that, too often, people ignore the danger of speeding. In the same AAA survey, 51 percent of respondents admitted they had recently driven 15 mph or more beyond a highway speed limit.
To recover compensation in a car accident claim in West Virginia, you generally must establish that another driver’s negligence caused your injuries.
As described above, speeding is clearly a breach of a driver’s basic duty to operate his or her vehicle safely and to refrain from putting others in harm’s way.
In fact, speeding can amount to negligence per se. In other words, based on a driver’s illegal speeding, the driver’s negligence is presumed as a matter of law.
Your ability to prove that the driver who caused your crash was speeding, in this sense, can be essential when it comes to seeking a full financial recovery.
At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, our attorneys have many years of experience with handling West Virginia motor vehicle accident claims. We know what evidence can be relied on to establish that a driver was speeding. This evidence includes:
Our law firm works with highly qualified accident reconstruction specialists and engineers. They can help us to determine the role a driver’s speeding played in your crash and allow us to present a strong case for your financial recovery.
If another driver is legally responsible for your car accident because he or she was speeding, you can seek compensation through that driver’s liability insurance coverage. The damages you seek may include:
Additionally, pursuing punitive damages may be an option when you are injured by a speeding driver. These damages are available if you can show that the speeding was done with “a conscious, reckless and outrageous indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others.”
A driver’s history of speeding or reckless driving violations, in this sense, may be highly relevant evidence.
A punitive damages award in West Virginia would be capped at $500,000 or four times the amount awarded in compensatory damages – whichever is greater.
In some situations, you may need to file a claim with your own auto insurance company to recover damages. For instance, you may need to file an uninsured motorist / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) claim if you were injured by a hit-and-run driver, a driver with no insurance or a driver whose insurance fails to fully cover your losses.
The auto accident attorneys of Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, have a record of case results that reflects our commitment to seeking maximum compensation for our clients.
We can put more than three decades of combined legal experience on your side if you have been injured or lost a loved one due to another driver’s speeding.
We serve clients in Charleston and throughout West Virginia. We are ready to get to work for you today. Call or reach us online to receive your free consultation.
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