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Top Causes of WV Car Crashes

West Virginia personal injury law firm that puts your best interests first - Klie Law Offices

Auto accidents happen for many different reasons. Sometimes, drivers aren't paying attention. Other times, they're driving recklessly and putting everyone on the road at risk. Whatever the reason, you shouldn't have to suffer physically or financially if another driver crashes into your vehicle on Interstate 79 in Sutton, Route 33 in Buckhannon or anywhere else in West Virginia.

At Klie Law Offices, our experienced West Virginia car accident lawyers are familiar with many of the common causes of motor vehicle accidents. That's why we have a strong track record of success handling many different types of car accident claims. We know what evidence to look for to uncover the cause of specific accident - and hold the negligent driver accountable.

The following are some of the top causes of West Virginia car wrecks:

Driver distraction

Far too many drivers fail to pay attention. Distracted driving is nothing new in West Virginia, but technology has created a seemingly endless number of distractions. Common examples of driver distraction that sometimes result in motor vehicle accidents include:

  • Talking on a cellphone while driving
  • Eating while driving
  • Looking for directions on a GPS
  • Changing the radio station
  • Personal grooming (putting on makeup, combing hair, etc.)

According to distraction.gov, the U.S. government's official website for distracted driving, 3,328 people died in distraction-affected car wrecks in 2012. About 421,000 people sustained injuries, which is about a 9 percent increase from the previous year when 387,000 people were injured.

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Texting and driving

Texting while driving is against the law in West Virginia. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the law and end up causing serious accidents while texting and driving. That's why this particular form of distracted driving has become increasingly popular in recent years. Studies have found just how dangerous texting and driving can be. In fact, some studies show that texting while driving is worse than drunk driving. Someone who is texting while driving 55 mph takes his eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. When drivers text, they are at more risk of causing a rear-end collision because they don't see that traffic has slowed or stopped. They might drift out of a lane and cause a head-on crash.

If you were injured because of someone sending or receiving text messages, you should consult with an experienced attorney at our firm. Often, the driver will deny texting while driving. But our legal professionals know how to hold the other driver accountable. We may be able to examine cellphone records to prove the driver was texting.

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Drunk driver negligence

The dangers of drunk driving in West Virginia have been well documented for decades. Even so, some drivers still drink too much and get behind the wheel of a car, putting everyone's lives on the road at risk. In West Virginia, alcohol-impaired fatalities averaged about 120 per year, according statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the fatalities have declined each year, we know that one death is one too many. Any driver who is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 or higher can be arrested. If drivers cause a serious injury or fatal accident, they also may be named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit.

If a driver under the influence of alcohol crashed into your car and caused a DUI accident, Attorney Kolenich or one of her fellow lawyers at Klie Law Offices can work with you and make sure your case receives the attention it rightfully deserves. We can help you pursue compensation for damages, including medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and possibly punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant and send a warning to others not to engage in similar dangerous behavior.

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Fatigued drivers / asleep at the wheel

Car accidents caused by tired drivers and drivers who fall asleep at the wheel might seem like innocent mistakes. But these drivers made a choice to keep driving, rather than pulling off to the side of the road and taking a break. In West Virginia, a fatigued driving accident shares similarities to drunk driving accidents. Prior to the crash, the driver may be drifting across lanes. The driver might run stop signs or traffic lights. One study in Australia found that drivers who were awake for 18 hours had an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .05 percent. After 24 hours of being awake, the driver's reaction times were similar to someone with .10 BAC, which is higher than the legal threshold for being drunk - 0.08 BAC.

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Aggressive or reckless drivers

Tailgating, changing lanes without warning, driving too close, weaving in and out of traffic - these are some common examples of reckless and aggressive driving. There's absolutely no excuse for anyone to drive this way, yet we see these kinds of drivers every day on roads in Upshur County and throughout West Virginia. Studies show that more than 60 percent of drivers view unsafe driving by others as a major threat to public safety.

Aggressive driving is difficult to quantify. You may see another driver's behavior as pushy or selfish. That driver might think such behind-the-wheel behavior is "normal." After a rear-end accident due to following too closely or a sideswipe crash due to a dangerous lane change, the driver may deny carelessness or recklessness or try to argue you were being aggressive.

We know that someone who drives recklessly or without any regard for other people on the road is significantly raising the risk of causing an accident that may seriously injure or kill an innocent person. According to the Kentucky Department of Transportation, about 23 percent of all fatal accidents can be traced back to aggressive driving. And when these accidents happen, our aggressive accident attorneys are prepared to do whatever it takes to hold drivers accountable for their actions.

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Speeding

Another form of aggressive driving, speeding is one of the major contributing factors in accidents. Between 2006 and 2010, speeding-related fatalities in West Virginia jumped by 45 percent, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation. There were 133 West Virginia speeding-related fatalities in 2010, compared to 73 in 2006. Speed limits exist for a reason. When people drive too fast, they may not have adequate time to stop and avoid crashing into another vehicle. And because speeding drivers are going so fast, the accidents are often more severe and result in very serious injuries or fatalities.

Telltale signs of speeding accidents include longer skid marks on the highway - or no skid marks at all because they didn't have time to slow down or stop. We know what evidence to look after such accidents. We understand how to analyze an accident report. That's why we're able to consistently deliver results in case after case.

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