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Recoverable Damages for Medical Malpractice in West Virginia

recoverable damages: court gavel, and book

Medical malpractice can have devastating effects on patients and their families. When healthcare providers fail to meet the standard of care, resulting in injury or death, victims and their families have the right to seek compensation. In West Virginia, medical malpractice claims are governed by specific statutes that outline the recoverable damages and limitations. One key statute is Section 55-7B-8 of the West Virginia Code, which limits the amount of noneconomic damages an injury victim can recover from a negligent doctor or hospital.

Below we provide a thorough review of this section of the law, discuss the caps on noneconomic damages for personal injury and wrongful death, and explain how an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help victims maximize their compensation. If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical errors in West Virginia, contact Burke, Shultz, Harman & Jenkinson to speak with a skilled and experienced Martinsburg medical malpractice lawyer.

Understanding Section 55-7B-8 of the West Virginia Code

Section 55-7B-8 of the West Virginia Code limits the noneconomic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. Noneconomic damages refer to compensation for harm such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Unlike economic damages, which cover quantifiable losses like medical expenses and lost wages, noneconomic damages are more subjective and can vary widely from case to case. Noneconomic damages are often higher than the economic damages in a typical personal injury case.

West Virginia law imposes caps on the amount of noneconomic damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases. There seems to be no reason for this law other than as a favor to doctors and hospitals; it certainly does not help the malpractice victim. Per the current statute, the caps are as follows:

  • Personal Injury: The cap on noneconomic damages for personal injury resulting from medical malpractice is $250,000 per occurrence. This means that regardless of the number of defendants or the severity of the injury, the maximum noneconomic damages award is $250,000.

  • Wrongful Death or Catastrophic Injury: For cases involving wrongful death or catastrophic injury, the cap on noneconomic damages is increased to $500,000 per occurrence. Catastrophic injuries are defined to include severe injuries such as loss of a limb, severe brain damage, or other injuries that result in permanent and significant impairment.

Types of Malpractice Covered

The law applies to a wide range of medical mistakes, including but not limited to:

  • Surgical errors

  • Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis

  • Birth injuries

  • Medication errors

  • Anesthesia errors

  • Failure to obtain informed consent

  • Hospital negligence

Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirement

To take advantage of the protections provided by Section 55-7B-8, healthcare providers must carry medical malpractice insurance covering at least one million dollars per occurrence. This requirement ensures that there is a source of funds available to compensate victims. Without insurance, healthcare providers may not be able to limit their liability as outlined in the statute.

The Role of an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Navigating a medical malpractice claim can be complex and challenging. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can provide invaluable assistance in several ways:

  • Case Evaluation: A skilled attorney can assess the merits of your case, determine the extent of damages, and identify liable parties.

  • Expert Testimony: Medical malpractice cases require testimony from medical experts to screen potential cases for merit and to establish the standard of care and how it was breached. An attorney can secure credible experts to support your claim.

  • Negotiation and Litigation: Whether negotiating a settlement or taking the case to trial, an attorney will advocate on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum compensation available.

  • Understanding the Law: The intricacies of Section 55-7B-8 and other relevant statutes can be difficult to follow. An attorney with expertise in medical malpractice law will ensure that all legal requirements are met and that your rights are protected.

Contact Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson for Zealous Advocacy in West Virginia Medical Malpractice Claims

Medical malpractice can cause profound harm, but victims have legal avenues to seek compensation. With the assistance of a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney, victims can navigate the complexities of the legal system and pursue the compensation they deserve.

At Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson, we are committed to helping medical malpractice victims in Martinsburg and throughout West Virginia. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to advocating for your rights and ensuring you receive the justice and compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact us today for a free consultation by calling 304-263-0900 in Martinsburg or 800-903-0901 throughout West Virginia.

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