At Saluja Law Offices, we offer experienced personal injury representation to clients across West Virginia who have sustained an injury due to negligence, or who have been accused of causing injury to another person. Anyone involved in a personal injury accident should be mindful of his or her legal rights and obligations. At Saluja Law Offices, we are prepared to fight aggressively for the rights of West Virginia residents involved in personal injury matters, and will work diligently to get the results that our clients need.
What is Personal Injury?
When accidents happen and someone is injured, the first question most often asked is, “who is to blame?” Depending on the type of personal injury claim, and as discussed in further detail below, the answer to this question can differ significantly.
Negligence – In the case of a negligence claim, the company or person who was negligent is the liable party. This may include a property owner who has failed to maintain reasonably safe public areas, or a distracted driver who caused an automobile accident.
Strict Liability – Another important concept to understand is that of strict liability, such as when an individual is willfully reckless or participates in behaviors that are extremely dangerous to those around them. A prime example of a strict liability claim is when an owner of a vicious animal does not taken measures to control and/or contain it, leading to an attack and animal bite claim.
Products Liability – Products liability claims result from injuries or illness caused by a defective or dangerous product. Products commonly involved in products liability claims include recalled medical devices/products, vehicles, and food items.
Wrongful Death – Wrongful death claims are common in cases where an individual has died due to an automobile accident, equipment malfunction, or other negligent reason. In these instances, the family of the individual who died may file a wrongful death action against any party deemed negligent in contributing to the wrongful death.
The state of West Virginia utilizes a legal concept referred to as “modified comparative negligence” to assign fault to the parties involved in the incident, which can be highly complicated to sort out. The first attribute of this concept is that the legal party who was injured may only recover damages from the other party if he or she is less than 50 percent responsible for the incident. The second attribute of the concept states that if the injured party was at all liable then the negligent party is only responsible for the percentage of the damages he or she caused.
Statutes of Limitations
One of the most important aspects of personal injury law that clients should be mindful of is the statutes of limitations. West Virginia law places specific guidelines on when personal injury claims can be filed, such as:
- Negligence Claims (slip and fall, car accidents, toxic torts, etc) – 2 years
- Strict Liability – 2 years
- Products Liability – 2 years
- Wrongful Death – 2 years
After determining who is negligent in a personal injury case, the next step is determining what amount of damages, or monetary compensation, is due to the established victim. There are several types of damages that may be recovered in West Virginia personal injury cases, including:
- Lost wages
- Reimbursement for medical expenses.
- Reimbursement for loss of property or damage to property.
- Damages for loss of consortium, which is defined as the loss of childcare, companionship, or income.
- Compensation for pain and suffering, and/or emotional distress caused by the injury or loss.
- Punitive damages, which are damages meant to punish the negligent or reckless party, and to deter the individual from future similar behaviors.
- Damages are an important consideration for any personal injury case. The best way to determine what damages may be applicable is to have a personal injury attorney carefully examine all aspects of your case.