Personal Injury Law or Tort law is a branch of civil law that compensates victims in money for accidents or social wrongs as a result of a person’s negligence or harm. Such injuries can be physical, emotional or even metal. In cases where the accident resulted in wrongful death, the family of the deceased may represent him instead. Workers’ compensation is also included in personal injury cases but it seldomly results in lawsuits.
The amount of compensation for a personal injury case is dependent on the severity of the injury, serious injuries that cause pain and suffering usually receive the highest amount of settlement. The losses they may have incurred due to the accident are also included in the compensation.
When is personal injury applicable?
Any occasion that resulted in an injury due to an accident because of a person’s negligence or harmful act may constitute a personal injury case. Most injuries are due to negligent conduct rather than intentional acts. The most common types of personal injury accident are vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, assault claims and many more, other common accidents include:
- Slips and falls
- Trips and falls
- Medical malpractice
- Animal bites
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Accidents – are the most common sources of personal injuries because of someone’s negligence that causes harm to another person. Some cases included in this category are car accidents or other motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice and other types of cases.
Intentional Acts – can be also the result of a personal injury. This occurs when a person intentionally harms another. Some cases include assault, battery, and other intentional acts.
Defective Products – are also included in personal injury on occasions where the defendant is made liable to the harm caused even without negligence or intentional fault. Certain kinds of product liability claims usually arise from defective products.
Dog Bites – there is a specific law in West Virginia making the owner “strictly liable” for the injuries caused by his/her dog regardless of the circumstances.
Statute of limitations in West Virginia
Like all states, West Virginia has a time limit for filing a personal injury case. The time limit is 2 years. Hence, one must observe the time since there are prescriptions or statutes of limitations. If you fail to file within the time limit, the case will be time-barred leading to it being dismissed and you won’t be able to receive the compensation through the court system.
Special Rules in Injury Claims against the Government
In cases where the government employee or agency is the cause of the injury, a person may file an injury claim against the government. While some states have special rules when it comes to government claims, West Virginia does not, a simple notice of claim sent to the government may help but you simply have to be sure that the personal injury case is filed within the 2 years allowed by law. In order to make sure about the steps needed, consulting with a personal injury lawyer will be very helpful to you since injury claims related to a local municipality such as towns, cities or counties may have special procedures in order to get compensation for your injuries.
Comparative Fault Rules
West Virginia is a state that practices the comparative fault rules. This is a rule where a plaintiff partly responsible for the injury will get lesser compensation depending on his fault. For example, if a person is 30% at fault for the injury he suffered, he is only compensated 70%. The overall compensation you get will be adjusted to the percentage of fault.
A “damages cap” is present in West Virginia. It is where the amount of maximum compensation an injured person may receive is limited by law for certain types of harm. In cases of death and catastrophic injury cases, the limit on non-economic damages (compensation for pain, suffering, and similar losses) is $500,000. A “catastrophic injury” is an injury that is permanent or substantial.
Additional compensation for medical expenses and lost wages may still be collected but in all other cases, for non-economic damages, the limit is $250,000.
Got into an injury accident? Get yourself an injury lawyer!
When facing personal injury charges in West Virginia, consulting a personal injury lawyer well-versed in handling injury cases is important especially if you’re not certain of your specific situation. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help you explore the legal action you may have, seek compensation, personal injury protection and other legal services available to you, as well as represent you in an injury lawsuit if the case goes on trial. Call us now in Ghaphery Law Offices, PLLC for a free consultation.