In West Virginia, victims in personal injury cases (auto accidents, slip and falls, product defects, medical malpractice, etc.) are allowed to sue negligent individuals, companies or manufacturers for “damages” as a result of injuries incurred. Damages are monetary awards recovered through the court system that are designed to cover the costs associated with personal injuries.
What Do Damages Cover?
Damages can cover a variety of losses, including actual monetary losses as well as physical and mental pain. Monetary losses are those associated with present and future medical expenses, lost wages, present cash value of future earnings, household services (the cost of hiring someone to take care of the household upkeep during recovery) and vehicle repairs. Damages for physical and mental pain can include mental anguish, loss of consortium (loss of the benefits of a marital relationship because of injury or accident), loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, permanent disability and disfigurement.
How Much Will I Receive from a Settlement?
Most personal injury cases (95%) are settled out of court. Determining monetary losses is typically pretty straightforward, but calculating the costs of physical and mental pain can be more complicated. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side who knows the court system, national and regional precedents and state laws extremely well so that you can recover all that is due.
Many times, after an incident has occurred, the negligent party’s insurance company will quickly offer you a settlement. Before you accept anything, you should consult with your lawyer to make sure you’re being fairly compensated for your loss. Keep in mind that insurance companies pay you to absolve them of all further liability in the matter, so the moment you accept a settlement, you can no longer pursue them for additional funds. Also, they are paying you because they know they must. You have the upper hand in a personal injury case, so be sure to find a lawyer who understands how to fight for you.