If you’ve been injured due to another party’s actions or inactions –- whether in a car crash, due to a dangerous property or because of a defective product –- you may have the right to seek compensation. If you’ve suffered a serious injury that will affect your life for some time, you may need to pay medical bills, manage without lost wages and absorb other direct costs.
By holding the at-fault party appropriately accountable, you may be able to spare your family’s budget from having to stretch to account for these losses.
How are fault and compensation connected?
West Virginia follows what’s called the “modified comparative fault” standard. That means if you bear some fault for an injury, the total compensation you’d normally be due will be reduced by that percentage of fault assigned to you. Car accidents, for example, are often not completely one person’s fault, even if they’re primarily responsible for any harm caused.
Say you’re found to have 10% responsibility for a crash. The compensation that you’d be entitled to if you had zero fault would be reduced by that much.
Economic and non-economic damages
Damages that are relatively easy to quantify – like medical bills and lost wages, are known as economic damages. These are calculated using objective loss assessments. Non-economic losses are challenging to calculate, as they are not objective. Pain and suffering, including anxiety, fear and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), worry and depression caused by the event responsible for your injuries, is one kind of non-economic loss that can be accounted for in a personal injury case. Calculus for non-economic damages varies by state.
Punitive damages are sometimes a possibility
In some circumstances, it’s possible to collect punitive damages as well. These are rarely ordered, however, as they are meant to deter or punish, not to compensate a victim for a specific loss.
It’s crucial to seek experienced legal guidance to have the best chance of getting the justice and compensation you deserve if you’ve recently suffered harm due to another’s actions or inactions. You could be owed significant compensation, depending on the nature of your circumstances.