Workplace accidents, car crashes, and defective products are all things that can cause injuries to West Virginia residents. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or disability in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be encouraged to file a workers’ compensation or insurance claim. In many cases, however, the initial settlement offered isn’t enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You may then decide to initiate a personal injury lawsuit. But what sort of compensation can you expect? What if you hire a lawyer and spend time on the case only to end up with a similar settlement offer from the liable party? Many people choose not to pursue personal injury suits for this reason. Unfortunately, that means they usually end up receiving less-than-fair compensation.
Pursuing a personal injury case can seem overwhelming, especially when it’s not clear how your potential compensation will be decided. The expert team at Prim Law has years of experience helping West Virginia residents get fair compensation for injuries and wrongful death. We’ll help you understand your options and explain the possible outcomes of your case. Call our Hurricane office at 304-201-2425 to schedule a consultation.
What type of damages can you sue for in West Virginia?
In a personal injury lawsuit, there are several types of damages you may be able to sue for (depending on the details of your case):
- Medical expenses related to your injury
- Lost income
- Reduced earning potential
- Value of household services you are unable to perform
These examples of compensation are called economic damages, because they’re designed to offset the financial cost of the injury. However, you may also pursue non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (loss of physical/sexual affection)
- Loss of enjoyment
Because these items don’t have a “cost,” the judge may determine how much to award in your case based on the circumstances of the injury. Additionally, a court may decide to add punitive damages if the liable party acted recklessly. Every situation is different, which is why it’s essential to consult an experienced personal injury attorney to see what sort of damages are possible for your case.
What West Virginia laws affect compensation?
West Virginia is a modified comparative fault state. This means that every party involved in an accident is liable for some portion of fault (in most cases).
For example, if your case is about a motor vehicle accident where you were partially liable, your compensation will depend on the percentage of liability assigned to you after the accident investigation. The higher percentage of liability you have, the less compensation you can get. If you are over 50 percent liable for the accident, you are not eligible to receive compensation.
There are also things that can affect compensation in a workplace injury case. Usually, accidents that happen on the job are covered by an employer’s workers’ compensation policy. However, some employers (e.g. very small companies) aren’t required to carry workers’ comp insurance, so you may be able to seek compensation through a lawsuit. West Virginia also allows workers to sue employers that knowingly place their employees in danger (Mandolidis claims).
What factors go into the compensation calculation?
West Virginia law imposes limits on some types of compensation. In most cases, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000. If there are catastrophic injuries, damages may be up to $500,000.
The details of your accident can affect your eligibility for compensation. Your percentage of fault/liability affects how much money you can receive. The extent of the injuries can also play a role. In most cases, catastrophic injuries are eligible for more compensation than less-severe injuries. If there is a temporary or permanent disability, that can also affect compensation.
No two cases are the same, which is why it’s not possible to know right away what sort of compensation may be available to you. A personal injury lawyer can help you know whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit and what the possible outcomes may be.
Contact Prim for advice about your injury case
Getting compensation in an injury case seems complicated, and so many people agree to an initial insurance or workers’ comp settlement immediately. Unfortunately, that means that most people end up inadvertently leaving money on the table. Filing a personal injury lawsuit is often the only way to get fair compensation for you or your family member’s injury.
At Prim Law, we know that it’s confusing to try to understand the way compensation is calculated in an injury case. That’s why we work hard to help West Virginia victims and their families figure out the best strategic approach to pursue compensation after an accident.
When you contact our office in Hurricane, WV, for a free consultation, we’ll listen to your story and explain your legal options. We’ll help you understand what level of compensation may be available to you and your family. Contact us online or call 304-201-2425 to get started. Like Prim Law on Facebook to get current news and information on injury claims.