If you have been injured in an accident in West Virginia and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it’s imperative that you understand West Virginia’s comparative fault system. Comparative fault applies when a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is partially to blame for the accident that caused his or her injuries. Under West Virginia’s modified comparative fault system, a plaintiff may only recover for his or her injuries in a personal injury lawsuit if his or degree of fault falls below a certain percentage. Below is an overview of modified comparative fault in West Virginia.
Effect of Plaintiff’s Fault on Recovery
A plaintiff in a West Virginia personal injury lawsuit may still be eligible to recover damages if he or she is found to have been partially at fault for the accident. However, in order to recover in a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff must have been less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. If a plaintiff is 50 percent or more at fault for an accident, he or she will be barred from recovery.
Effect of Plaintiff’s Fault on Award
Once the percentage of fault for each party in a West Virginia accident has been established, the court will adjust the award accordingly. Specifically, a plaintiff who is partially at fault for an accident will have his or her award reduced by the percentage of his or her fault. So, if a plaintiff is 20 percent to blame for an accident, the court will reduce his or her award by 20 percent.
Cases Involving Multiple Defendants
West Virginia’s modified comparative fault law also addresses situations involving multiple defendants. In a case involving multiple defendants, each defendant only must pay the amount for which he or she is found to be responsible. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, including:
- A defendant charged with a DUI,
- A defendant who illegally disposed hazardous waste, and
- A defendant who committed a crime.
Burden of Proof
In West Virginia, the burden of proof to demonstrate comparative fault is on the party making the claim of comparative fault. Regardless of whether one wishes to prove comparative fault or dispute a claim of comparative fault, it is necessary to seek the assistance of an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney.
Contact a West Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been hurt in an accident in West Virginia, you need an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney on your side. At Hewitt & Salvatore, our experienced West Virginia personal injury attorneys will guide you through your West Virginia personal injury lawsuit and do everything in our power to ensure that you are compensated for your injuries. Our firm takes pride in providing our clients with the type of personalized treatment that larger firms can’t match. Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.