West Virginia Car Accident Lawyers
For over 30 years, the auto accident attorneys at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson have helped people in Martinsburg and throughout West Virginia who have been injured in a car accident. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of car accident cases, recovering millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured clients.
Text Messaging and Cell Phone Use
According to a National Safety Council study released in 2010, nearly thirty percent of traffic accidents occur because people talk on cell phones or send text messages while driving. The vast majority of those crashes, approximately 1.5 million annually, are caused by cell phone conversations, and 200,000 are blamed on text messaging.
Text messaging and cell phone use result in inattentive driving, contributing to an increased number of car accidents in West Virginia and throughout the nation. Texting and talking on the phone impairs a driver’s overall focus and ability to quickly react to potentially dangerous situations on the road. Research shows that people who text while driving are significantly more impaired than if they were driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Drivers who text are unable to concentrate on driving as the driver’s eyes, hands, and mind are all focused on reading, typing, and sending the text message. Distracted driving can result in:
- Inability to react to road hazards
- Reduced control of the vehicle
- Following at an unsafe distance
- Drifting or swerving between lanes
Several states have completely banned the use of cell phones and texting while driving. West Virginia law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 who hold either a learner’s permit or intermediate license from using a cell phone or texting while driving. Drivers over the age of 18 are banned from using hand-held cell phones. Despite increasing awareness of the dangers of using a cell phone or texting while driving, drivers continue to text and talk from behind the wheel.
Despite increased public awareness of the hazards of drunk driving and stiff penalties for driving under the influence, drunk drivers were responsible for 106 fatalities in West Virginia in 2011, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In West Virginia, a driver can be charged with a DUI (Driving Under the Influence of alcohol, controlled substances or drugs) if he or she operates a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. Drunk driving accidents occur because alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment and reflexes, increasing the likelihood that he or she may cause an accident or be unable to avoid a dangerous situation.
Dram Shop Liability
West Virginia has enacted a “dram shop” law, meaning that an establishment that serves alcohol can be held liable for an accident caused by a customer who was noticeably intoxicated while on the premises. Establishments serving alcohol, such as bars and restaurants, have a responsibility to their customers and the public at large to refuse to serve a visibly intoxicated patron.
Seek Experienced, Effective Representation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash in West Virginia, contact Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson for a free consultation. There is no obligation, and we only collect a fee if we recover for you.