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Pain and Suffering Damages in West Virginia

No matter how careful you are in the Wild and Wonderful state, sometimes accidents happen. But when an accident is keeping you from living your life to the fullest, or has changed your outlook on life, you do not need to suffer in silence. Whether you tripped over a buggy at the store or a winding country road sent another car straight into yours, take a look at the information below to find out whether you might be able to recover pain and suffering damages in West Virginia.

The table and explanations below summarize the most important parts of the laws governing pain and suffering damages in West Virginia.

Statute of Limitations

  • 2 years for personal injury or property injury (§ 55-2-12)
  • 2 years for an action against a government entity (§ 29-12A-6)
  • The longer of 2 years or the minor's 12th birthday, if a minor was injured by the government (§29-12A-6(b))

Damages Limits

  • $500,000 in non-economic losses in lawsuits against the government (§ 29-12A-7)
  • $250,000 in non-economic losses in most medical malpractice lawsuits (§55-7B-8(a))
  • $500,000 in non-economic losses in catastrophic medical malpractice lawsuits (§55-7B-8(b))
  • No pain and suffering in workers' comp cases (WV OIC)

Other Limits

  • A damage amount must not be specified in a lawsuit against the government (§ 29-12A-6)
  • 50% Modified Comparative Negligence (§ 55-7-13a, § 55-7-13c)

Non-economic Losses

Pain and suffering damages are awarded to compensate you for the losses you suffered that are not monetary in nature, whether your injury stems from a car accident, a slip and fall, a product defect, or an animal bite. Your monetary losses are compensated by way of an award for economic losses. In West Virginia, pain and suffering damages are awarded in personal injury cases as part of a larger category of damages called "non-economic losses", which means losses including:

Pain and Suffering Damage Caps

In most cases, if you were injured due to the wrongdoing of a medical professional, you will only be able to recover a maximum of $250,000 in pain and suffering damages. The limit is increased to $500,000 in the unfortunate circumstance that your medical malpractice claim is based on:

  1. The result of the death of the injured party, or
  2. Permanent and substantial physical deformity, the loss of one of your limbs or the loss of a bodily organ system, or
  3. You suffered permanent physical or mental functional injury that permanently prevents you from being able to independently care for yourself and perform life-sustaining activities.

If you were injured by a trolley driver or other public transportation driver, you may have a claim against the state of West Virginia. In that case, your pain and suffering damages will be limited to $500,000. Also in the case of a lawsuit against the government, West Virginia has a very specific procedural requirement that you not state a specific amount.

Time Limits

West Virginia also imposes time limits—statutes of limitations—on how long you can wait before filing your lawsuit. Fortunately, the time limits are easy: whether you are suing the state or anyone else, you have two years to file your lawsuit. Unless, the injured person was a minor. Then West Virginia cuts the kid a break. In that case, the minor has two years or until their twelfth birthday, whichever provides a longer period of time.

Other Limits on Recovery

If you are partially at fault for your injury, West Virginia's 50% modified comparative negligence rule could prevent you from recovering damages. This negligence rule allows courts to award you damages unless you are more at fault than the person(s) you sued and simply reduces your award in proportion to your percentage of fault.

Keep in mind that you cannot recover pain and suffering damages from a workers' compensation claim.

Pain and Suffering Claims are Difficult to Prove: An Attorney Can Help

Whether you were hurt in a holler or in Harpers Ferry, if you've suffered injuries as a result of the initial injury, you may be entitled to compensation for more than just your bills. Pain and suffering claims are hard to prove, though, so you'll want to reach to a West Virginia personal injury lawyer for help.

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