Every state handles personal injury claims under its own legal system. Filing a West Virginia personal injury claim therefore requires the assistance of an attorney familiar with operating in the state legal system. An attorney accustomed to civil claims in the state is best suited to advise you on which damages to seek and the amount of compensation that may be possible in a case like yours. He or she will also understand the statute of limitation requirements within West Virginia and the processes for establishing negligence, fault and liability.
West Virginia is a “Comparative-Fault” State
Just as every state’s laws determine how personal injury claims are reviewed, each state also has a system for determining fault and subsequent compensation due in any particular case. West Virginia is a state that recognizes contributory negligence or comparative-fault in personal injury claims. Basically what this means for you is that you can be partially at fault for your own injuries and still potentially receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, provided you are no more than 49 percent responsible.
The degree of fault for every party in your claim must be established in order for damages to be awarded. That includes your degree of responsibility for your injuries, as well as that of all the parties you name in your claim. As long as you are not more than 49 percent at fault, you can potentially be awarded damages, but the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced according to your own percentage of responsibility. In other words, if you are 15 percent to blame for your own injuries, then you could only receive 85 percent of the total damages awarded in the case.
Potential Damages for Personal Injury in West Virginia
Damages which can be sought in a personal injury claim in West Virginia include compensation for economic and non-economic losses. Non-economic losses or damages include pain and suffering, which while more difficult to substantiate are no less important.
Economic losses include the more readily apparent financial expenses and costs associated with your injuries, including medical expenses, property damage costs, lost wages, cost of household help or skilled home care, and loss of future earnings ability, if applicable. A personal injury attorney familiar with West Virginia claims will be able to advise you on the damages you should include in your claim.
Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in West Virginia
Every state has an established limit for the timeframe to file a personal injury lawsuit. In West Virginia, the statute of limitations for filing is two years from the date you realize you’ve suffered harm. While in most cases, injuries are obvious from the start, not all incidents result in immediate and obvious injuries.
If your claim is one in which you only later realize you’ve suffered harm, a personal injury attorney familiar with handling exceptions will be required for filing a successful lawsuit. He or she will be able to prove there is an inarguable link between your injuries and the incident that caused them, even when the onset of injuries is delayed, like in the case of a toxic exposure or poisoning incident, for example.