West Virginia’s Comparative Fault Rules for Personal Injury Claims
In 2015, West Virginia adopted a new set of modified comparative negligence (also known as comparative fault) laws for personal injury claims. The bill was signed into law March 2 of that year, and since then it has been the basis of determining personal injury damages in cases throughout the state.
Below are some of the crucial provisions contained in the law:
- The amount of damages applicable to each party in the case is directly proportional to each party’s percentage of fault for the injury
- Liability for all compensatory damages shall not be joint, but several
- Joint liability is only applicable in cases in which there is a “conscious conspiracy” between two or more defendants
- The party seeking to establish comparative fault has the burden of proof
A practical example of comparative fault rules
What does all this mean? Basically, the percentage of fault a victim has for an accident will affect the amount of money he or she can receive when seeking compensation through a personal injury claim.
Imagine you are involved in a car accident during which the person who caused the crash failed to yield the right-of-way to you. However, you were also speeding at the time of the accident. A judge might rule that you had 10 percent of the fault. If the total value of the claim was $20,000, you would only be able to recover $18,000, as you would lose 10 percent of the claim’s total value.