West Virginia Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 2 years from the discovery of the injury
- Damage to Personal Property – 2 years
- Medical Malpractice – 2 years
- Legal Malpractice – 2 years
- Other Professional Malpractice – 2 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $5,000 - West Virginia Magistrate Court
- Personal injury claims over $5,000 - West Virginia Circuit Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
- Forms: Civil Complaint (Form SCA-M207); Summons. The clerk of the Magistrate Court will issue the Summons once you file your Civil Complaint.
- Where to file: You can file your West Virginia personal injury case where the defendant lives or where the plaintiff was injured.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Any adult not interested in the case may serve the defendant.
- Proving the defendant was notified: You must file a return of service with the clerk of the West Virginia Magistrate Court.
- Attorneys: An attorney may represent you in West Virginia Magistrate Court.
- Appealing a small claim: You can appeal from a West Virginia Magistrate Court to a West Virginia Circuit Court within 20 days of the judgment.
West Virginia Circuit Court: A West Virginia personal injury attorney can help you understand the complexities of your case, and can assist you in filing your case to insure that no costly mistakes are made.
- Forms/Process: Civil Case Information Statement (Form SCA 100); Summons. These forms should be filed with the clerk of the West Virginia Magistrate Court. Next, have an adult uninterested in the case serve a copy of the Civil Case Information Statement and the Summons on the defendant.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in West Virginia: 20 days
- If the plaintiff was injured at your home or business, contact your insurance company. Your insurance carrier may supply you an attorney if the accident is covered by your policy.
- You should also discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney, who can help you defend yourself against the plaintiff’s claims.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
If you do not reply to a Civil Information Sheet and Summons in West Virginia within 20 days of receiving the service of process, a default judgment may be entered against you and you will have to pay the plaintiff what he seeks for his injury, even if you do not think you are responsible for the injury.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in West Virginia: A West Virginia Circuit Court can set aside a judgment for surprise, excusable neglect, mistake, or newly discovered evidence not more than one year after entry of the judgment
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- Success in your West Virginia personal injury lawsuit means that you must then collect your judgment. Debtors often do not pay legal judgments against them. Contact a debt collection attorney who can help you get your judgment from the debtor through garnishment, or by placing a lien on the debtor’s property.