West Virginia has a law regarding comparative fault, meaning your compensation is based on what percentage of fault you had in your accident.
For example: if you are driving 70mph in a 65mph zone, and a car side-swipes you, you may be held partially responsible for any injuries you sustain during the accident. If the jury decides that your injuries were more severe because you were speeding, then you might be 10% at fault for the accident. If so, you can still collect compensation. If, however, you are determined to be 50% or more at fault, then you cannot collect anything.
Types of damages in West Virginia
Damages fall into three major categories:
- Economic damages. These are your medical bills and your lost wages.
- Non-economic damages. These include pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded as a way to “punish” companies whose products or services are dangerous.
The courts have been known to make exceptions to the rule about damages, but the exceptions are rare.
The rules governing personal injury lawsuits in West Virginia are complex and subject to change. That is why it is imperative that you seek the help of a skilled injury attorney who understands the laws and can practice in West Virginia. Your best chance of obtaining the most compensation possible comes from working with a lawyer who knows how to build a case for you, as opposed to an attorney whose primary practice area is something different. You only have two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, or you case could be time-barred.
To learn more about West Virginia’s comparative fault laws or to ask questions about personal injury lawsuits, we invite you to contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC.