West Virginia is a nature-lover's paradise, full of trails for hiking, rivers for rafting, and caves for exploring. But if your journey through the Mountain State included a driving mishap or two, you will be thankful that West Virginia car accident compensation laws are much more forgiving than those of the state's neighbor to the East.
“At Fault” and “50% Modified Comparative Negligence” Rules
West Virginia requires injured parties to prove that another driver was “at fault” before any damages will be awarded. In 2015, West Virginia enacted a new law that established modified comparative negligence and allows injured parties to recover as long as the injured party's fault is greater than the combined fault of all of the other parties. In other words, if you suffered $10,000 in damages and the court determined that you were 50% at fault for your injuries, the court would award you $5,000 in damages. This is a much more forgiving rule that the contributory fault rule at play next door in Virginia.
For more about West Virginia car accident compensation laws, take a look at the table below.
In most cases, you will be entitled to both economic and non-economic compensatory damages for your car accident injuries. Compensatory damages are meant to do just that: compensate you for your injury. Almost any cost suffered, including lost income, medical expenses, and car repairs can be recovered as compensatory damages. Lesser known are the non-economic damages which may be available to you. These are the damages you suffered that are harder to assign a cost to, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and disfigurement. Finally, in rare cases, including negligent infliction of emotional distress, West Virginia permits punitive damage awards by the court.
Examples of car accident damages include:
- Loss of earnings
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Vehicle repair costs
West Virginia’s Damage Limits
West Virginia has state-imposed time limits, known as statutes of limitations, for how long you can wait before filing a lawsuit to recover damages from a car accident. In negligence cases, you have two years to file a claim.
If you were injured by someone working for the government, West Virginia has some specific requirements for how you draft your lawsuit, including a requirement that you not specify a number amount for your damages and that you bring your claim within two years. The State also prohibits punitive damage awards in such cases and limits non-economic damages to $500,000 per person.
Injured in a Car Accident in West Virginia? An Attorney Can Help
West Virginia offers plenty of adventure, but recovering compensation for damages suffered in a car accident does not need to be one of them. Whether your sport of choice is bungee-jumping or mountaineering, a West Virginia motor vehicle accident attorney can help you get back to doing what you love.