West Virginia law regarding personal injury is generally like the laws of all other states. The basis of liability under the law pertaining to car accidents in all states is the principle of negligence. Where an operator of a vehicle is negligent in causing an accident and injuries to others, the wrongdoer is liable to pay damages to the injured or to the estate of a deceased individual, generally to the extent or percentage of fault attributed to that operator.
The negligent operator is liable to pay damages for passengers in his or her vehicle who were injured or killed in the accident. Recently, there was a tragic one-car crash in West Virginia on State Route 16 near Bickmore. According to the authorities, a 53-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle and crashed, causing the car to land on its side. The driver and two passengers were ejected during the incident, according to police.
The driver and her 9-year-old granddaughter were killed. A 7-year-old granddaughter of the driver survived the crash with minor injuries. The exact cause of why the driver lost control has not yet been reported. In a one-car accident where loss of control is cited as the cause, the operator will likely be determined to have been negligent.
At one time, most states followed a policy of intra-family immunity, which prevented a tort recovery by victims of car accidents against a negligent immediate family member. That doctrine has been largely abolished in all states, including in West Virginia. The estate of the deceased granddaughter may therefore make a claim for wrongful death damages against the grandmother. The applicable automobile liability insurance carrier is compelled by state law to defend and insure against the claim.
Source: washingtontimes.com, "Girl, grandmother killed in one-car West Virginia crash", Dec. 29, 2016