An Overview of Noneconomic Damages in West Virginia

If you’ve been injured in West Virginia, you may be entitled to financial compensation, also known as damages. In West Virginia, damages are divided into two major categories: economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate, as they include compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other injury-related costs. Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, are not quite as easy to determine, as they consist of intangible losses. And although they can be difficult to calculate, noneconomic damages can be substantial. For example, West Virginia places a cap of $250,000 on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases for common injuries, but it allows awards of up to $500,000 for catastrophic injuries. In addition, these amounts are subject to increases at the pace of inflation as detailed in the Consumer Price Index. Common noneconomic damages include:

  • Disfigurement — Accidents that result in disfigurement are compensable under West Virginia law. Visible parts of the body, such as the face, tend to result in higher compensation than scars on covered parts of the body.
  • Mental suffering — Accident victims often suffer severe emotional pain. When such pain can be demonstrated to the court, mental suffering is considered a compensable noneconomic damage. Examples of mental suffering include PTSD, nightmares, and anxiety.
  • Loss of consortium — When an injury is so severe that it prevents an accident victim from being intimate with his or her spouse, he or she may be awarded noneconomic damages as compensation for this loss.
  • Loss of quality of life — Economic damages may be awarded when an accident victim can prove that pain, disability, or emotional trauma has resulted in an overall loss of qualify of life.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life — When an injury prevents an individual from performing a specific activity that he or she previously enjoyed, compensation is possible.
  • Physical pain — Physical pain, whether acute or chronic, can result in the award of noneconomic damages to accident victims. However, pain is difficult to quantify and often requires the use of circumstantial evidence.

Luckily, experienced West Virginia personal injury attorneys understand how to prove that accident victims have suffered from the ailments described above. Therefore, if you’ve been injured in an accident, it is important to immediately contact an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss your situation. An experienced personal injury attorney will protect your legal rights and guide you towards the proper course of action based on your situation. At Hewitt & Salvatore, we pride ourselves on providing the personal attention to each case that bigger case mills cannot match. We treat each individual case as our top priority, and we take pride in meeting the needs of our clients. You can trust us to see your claim through to a successful conclusion. Contact our office today and get the legal help you need.