Did you suffer serious injuries or was your loved one killed in West Virginia as the result of another party’s negligence? You could be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Residents and visitors in the Natural State can be harmed in many different kinds of accidents throughout the state. Despite the common refrain that some accidents cannot be prevented, one or more parties usually bears responsibility for an accident and can be held liable in a civil court for the damages that their neglect caused.
Dedicated Personal Injury Attorneys
Need an Injury Lawyer West Virginia represents clients who have sustained catastrophic injuries or whose loved ones were killed in all kinds of accidents in the Natural State. We assist individuals in Charleston, Wheeling, Beckley, Parkersburg, Martinsburg, St. Albans, Morgantown, Fairmont, South Charleston, Huntington, Weirton, Clarksburg, and many other surrounding areas of West Virginia.
Our firm understands the multitude of challenges that not just victims, but their entire families can face following serious accidents. Some people require very lengthy periods of recovery while many others are never able to be restored to their normal selves.
llowing many accidents, the insurance companies for the negligent parties will attempt to contact victims and offer what can originally seem to be generous settlements. In truth, these amounts are often far less than what victims are actually entitled to—and rarely account for the full lifetime of care that can be required.
You should avoid speaking to any representatives for these insurers or signing any paperwork. Contact Need an Injury Lawyer West Virginia as soon as possible for assistance negotiating a full and fair settlement that accounts for all of your past, present, and future needs.
West Virginia Personal Injury Laws
West Virginia Code § 55-2-12(b) imposes a statute of limitations (time limit) of two years on most personal injury claims. A victim must file an action in a civil court within this time period or he or she will not be able to hold the negligent party accountable.
In order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, the victim will be required to satisfy certain legal requirements. All personal injury claims require plaintiffs (the victims) to prove all of the following are true about the defendant (the negligent party):
- Duty of Care — The defendant had a legal or moral duty of care to conduct him, her, or itself in a reasonable manner;
- Breach — The defendant breached the duty of care to the plaintiff;
- Causation — The defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries; and
- Damages — The plaintiff suffered some kind of physical or financial harm as the result of these injuries.
The burden of proof for a civil claim is far different from the burden of proof for a criminal case. Whereas a defendant’s guilt in a criminal matter must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt (essentially the highest possible legal standard in which a jury must have no doubt that the defendant committed the alleged crime), a civil action only needs to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence—meaning the greater weight of the evidence (or more than 50 percent) supports the plaintiff’s claims.
It is important to keep in mind that West Virginia Code § 55-7-13 establishes that West Virginia is considered a “modified comparative fault” state. Under this statute, a plaintiff’s award can be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to him or her for his or her injuries, but he or she is not prohibited from being awarded damages so long as his or her share of responsibility is not more than the defendant’s. If the plaintiff is found to share equal blame or a greater percentage of the blame for his or her injuries, then he or she will be barred from recovering any damages.
Types of Personal Injury Cases in West Virginia
Need an Injury Lawyer West Virginia handles a wide variety of personal injury claims, including:
- Car Accidents
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI or DUI) Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents
- Uber Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Wrongful Death
Not all personal injury cases result in lawsuits—which can be very lengthy procedures that take several months or possibly even years to resolve. Most insurance companies are reluctant to pay the steep legal fees associated with legal defense for such claims, and personal injury attorneys can often get insurers to agree to settlements to avoid possible litigation.
Damages in West Virginia Personal Injury Cases
When a case does go to trial and a jury rules in favor of the plaintiff, he or she may be awarded an amount commonly referred to as damages. Essentially, there are two kinds of compensatory damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages refer to a plaintiff’s calculable losses that are typically much easier to prove. Economic damages usually include medical expenses, lost income, and property damage.
Noneconomic damages are far more subjective and are usually open to greater interpretation by a jury. The most common noneconomic damages involve pain and suffering, disfigurement, or loss of consortium.
Another less common type of damages that may be awarded are punitive damages. Punitive damages are not intended to necessarily be an award for the plaintiff so much as they are designed to punish defendants for particularly reckless or egregious conduct which demonstrates a certain level of malice.
Punitive damages are specifically to punish a defendant and hopefully deter other parties from engaging in similar misconduct. Punitive damages in West Virginia are capped at $500,000 or four times the compensatory damages, whichever is greater.
Find an West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
Need an Injury Lawyer West Virginia represents individuals harmed in communities all over Berkeley County, Raleigh County, Putnam County, Kanawha County, Wood County, Marion County, Monongalia County, Mercer County, Fayette County, Cabell County, Harrison County, Jefferson County, and many other nearby areas. Our firm handles personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you are not assessed any fees for legal representation unless you receive a monetary award.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys are available 24/7 to answer your phone call and answer all of your legal questions. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free, no obligation consultation that will allow our lawyers to review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.