Torts: What they are and how they help
What is a Tort Under West Virginia Law?
A tort is a wrongful act that unfairly causes someone else to suffer harm and loss that leads to civil legal liability. There are many kinds of torts under West Virginia law including negligence, trespass, slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery.
Negligent torts, such as failing to obey traffic rules and thus causing an automobile accident, are perhaps the most common and well-known. However, intentional torts and strict liability torts are the other two general tort categories.
The person harmed by the negligence or other tortious conduct has rights to recover some or all of the harms and losses caused by the wrongdoer. The legal term for these harms and losses is called damages.
What are Money Damages and Who Pays?
Damages can include past, present and future loss of earnings or the loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering and some medical expenses caused by the wrongdoer. Evaluating a case and accounting for all of the past, present and future damages in a civil case is one of the most important jobs of a personal injury attorney. This is one of the primary reasons why if you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, it’s important to speak with an experienced injury attorney, like those at West Law Firm, who primarily handle personal injury cases.
Who pays the damages?
Although the wrongdoer is generally personally liable for their misconduct, in most instances, the wrongdoer is covered by insurance, and it’s the insurance carrier who pays the claim. For example, in West Virginia, every driver is required to maintain a minimum amount of insurance to cover any harms or losses they negligently cause passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
Unfortunately, West Virginia only requires drivers to maintain $20,000/$40,000 worth of bodily injury insurance. However, drivers can and generally should purchase more than these minimums. If a negligent driver fails to maintain adequate insurance, their personal assets are at risk and can be pursued by someone they negligently harmed.
Purpose of Tort Law
Torts not only compensate people who have been harmed by another’s negligence, they also serve to deter others from acting negligently and putting the community at risk. Tort law allows our community to hold people who choose to act negligently accountable for their actions and the harm they cause.
Just as importantly, tort law provides us a means to encourage and motivate people to act carefully with consideration toward others (for example, while driving). Therefore, tort law serves to reduce negligence and the harm, injuries, and death negligence causes. In plain language, tort law saves lives and helps keep each member of the community safe.
Free Consultation with a West Virginia Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of negligence, including a negligent driver, negligent doctor, dangerous workplace or dangerous property, we invite you to call one of our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-9378. And there’s never a fee unless and until we recover money for you.
Brooks West is a West Virginia personal injury lawyer who helps people who have been injured by negligence or wrongful conduct. He is the President and founder of West Law Firm and has been an attorney since 2005. Brooks is a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member and has been awarded the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.