Personal Injury Law in West Virginia

Were you hurt due to another’s negligence in West Virginia? If so, it may have far-reaching consequences such as a loss of wages or extensive medical treatment. Personal injury law allows an injured person to get damages if the responsible person acted recklessly. A personal injury attorney in West Virginia can help navigate the lawsuit to make sure you receive all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is Personal Injury Law?

Personal injury law in West Virginia relates to the legal process of getting compensation for an injury caused by someone else’s negligent behavior. These cases involve one party, the plaintiff, trying to seek financial compensation for expenses incurred and money lost as a result of the defendant’s reckless behavior. These cases involve both parties’ insurance companies and may even settle before proceeding to litigation.

Examples of Personal Injury Claims in West Virginia

Some personal injury claims are more common than others. However, almost any incident that ends with a physical or mental injury could qualify, depending on the circumstances.

A few of the most common personal injury claims are:

  • Car Accidents
  • Slip and Fall
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Burn Injuries

Most Common Injuries in West Virginia 

There were approximately 2.5 million emergency department visits and 282,000 hospitalizations nationally in 2013 due to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In West Virginia, over 750 residents were hospitalized due to traumatic brain injuries in 2015. According to the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, 292 state residents were hospitalized due to motor vehicle crashes in 2015. Unintentional drug overdoses accounted for 322 additional trips, the most common cases being opioid and heroin related.

Steps in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in West Virginia

Once you determine that you wish to proceed forward with a personal injury action in West Virginia

A lawsuit begins when a complaint is filed with the court and served on the defendant. The complaint alleges your assertion as the plaintiff that the defendant’s negligent behavior resulted in damage to your body or mental state. As the process proceeds forward, you may have to go through depositions, independent medical evaluations and document production. This discovery process is lengthy and ends in either settlement or a court appearance.

The Mountain State handles most personal injury cases at the circuit court level. In some situations, they may be appealed to courts higher up in the system, such as the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.

West Virginia Personal Injury Settlement

With most personal injury cases, insurance companies and injured parties prefer settlement negotiations rather than going to court for a trial. You may wonder how much you should seek in your settlement and factors that impact the final amount.

Settlements in West Virginia can range from a few thousand dollars for minor slip-and-fall injuries to hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical malpractice damages. In 2015, the state-wide total payout for malpractice cases was over $50 million. Your specific damage amount will be dependent to the type and severity of injury you suffer. In addition, the figure is determined based on the amount of fault linked to both your actions as well as those of any other party.

If the other party has insurance, the insurance company likely wants to settle out of court to avoid leaving the final settlement decision to a jury. Settlements benefit injured parties as much as they do insurance companies. This is because accepting a settlement means you receive compensation sooner rather than later. Also, by going to court in WV, that means you risk not receiving any compensation at all.

Damage Awards in West Virginia

If your West Virginia personal injury lawsuit goes before a judge or jury, your legal team will be ready with a request for damages. In personal injury cases, there are three types of damage awards a court may order the defendant to pay to compensate you for the damage he or she inflicted.

Special compensatory damages reimburse you for things such as lost income, medical bills and insurance deductibles. You submit receipts proving these losses.

General compensatory damages are subjective. If you receive special compensatory damages, you may also collect general damages. If your injury was particularly painful, you might request that the judge order the defendant compensate you for the pain and anguish.

Punitive damages are the most rare and are up to the court. The judge or jury may determine that the defendant’s negligence was particularly heinous and the resulting injury to you was equally horrific.

For almost all West Virginia injury cases, the non-economic (ie. pain and suffering) damage limit is $250,000. In cases where injury is permanent and substantial, the cap on non-economic damages is $500,000. These restrictions do not affect compensation for economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Statute of Limitations in West Virginia Personal Injury Law?

The injured party may have a set amount of time to file suit for a personal injury case. State law establishes statutes of limitation. Commonly, the plaintiff’s injury or discovery of the injury begins the statute of limitations. However, the latter factor is trickier, as the plaintiff will have to prove when the injury was first realized.

The time frame during which you must file your suit in West Virginia is two years from the discovery of your injury. Unlike states that have distinct rules for government claims, West Virginia allows the same time frame across the board.

We recommend you speak with a personal injury lawyer for this matter. Don’t wait too long and miss out on receiving the compensation you deserve for your injury. 

Work With an Experienced West Virginia Lawyer

Pursue a personal injury claim in West Virginia against the responsible person if you are dealing with an injury caused by someone else. One of our experienced lawyers can help you navigate your personal injury claim.  We can even help you connect with an attorney across West Virginia state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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