If you or a loved one gets injured as a result of an act of preventable negligence on the part of a health care practitioner, you can pursue justice and financial compensation by filing a medical malpractice claim. In West Virginia, as is the case in many states, state law caps or limits the amount of damages you can recover.

What Are Damage Caps?

A damage cap is a controversial law that limits how much financial compensation an injured party (plaintiff) can receive when going up against an at-fault party (defendant) for a careless, negligent, reckless or wrongful act.

A damage cap restricts how much money is available to the plaintiff, regardless of how much his or her damages are actually worth. A damage cap has the power to reduce a plaintiff’s award even if a jury grants a higher amount during a personal injury trial.

The main reason behind damage caps is to prevent damage to the economy. It allows important institutions, such as hospitals and government agencies, to avoid large payouts that may force them to go bankrupt. For this reason, damage caps are most commonly used in cases against health care providers and government entities. Placing a limit on the amount of money a plaintiff can potentially make on a medical malpractice case also discourages frivolous or fraudulent lawsuits, keeping the justice system more efficient. 

West Virginia Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

Currently, West Virginia limits damages in medical malpractice cases to $250,000 per claim. However, this cap only applies to noneconomic losses, not economic losses. Noneconomic losses describe intangible losses, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost quality of life. Economic damages are tangible losses, such as medical expenses and losses of income. 

According to West Virginia’s damage cap, no medical malpractice claim can result in more than $250,000 in noneconomic damages. There is an exception in certain cases, however, if medical malpractice caused the victim a catastrophic injury or wrongful death. Catastrophic injuries include permanent disabilities and serious disfigurement or scarring. Any injury that prevents a plaintiff from being independent and performing life-sustaining activities him/herself could bump the noneconomic damage cap up to $500,000. 

It is also worthwhile to note that West Virginia has an additional cap on punitive damages. A plaintiff in West Virginia cannot receive more than the greater amount of four times the compensatory damage award or $500,000. 

West Virginia’s Cap Has Survived a Challenge of Unconstitutionality

Many states have ruled damage caps unconstitutional and barred them from practice. Legal challenges to damage caps were brought and won in these states based on the argument that they went against the state’s constitution. Challenges often argued that damage caps violate a plaintiff’s right to a jury trial, restrict his or her access to courts, and/or deny substantive due process. 

Whether or not challenges to damage caps succeed depends on the specific language in that state’s constitution. West Virginia’s damage cap on medical malpractice cases has already survived a challenge based on the grounds of unconstitutionality. Currently, this cap is still in place and may apply to you if you file a medical malpractice case. However, state laws are constantly changing. Contact an experienced West Virginia personal injury attorney for an in-depth case review. 

How to Maximize Your Financial Recovery

If you wish to maximize the amount you receive for your serious injuries from a negligent doctor or hospital in West Virginia, at least up to the state’s damage cap, hire a medical malpractice lawyer. A lawyer can help you negotiate with an insurance company for an amount that adequately covers your injuries and other losses. If negotiations fail, your lawyer can take your malpractice case to trial instead. A lawyer will do everything possible on your behalf to achieve top results for your medical malpractice case, even with the state’s damage cap. 

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

  • Taylor Downs was easy to talk to (I do not speak the legal language well!) and was very upfront and honest about the entire process of my case. He kept me updated as the case progressed, and answered my relentless questions. The end result was a favorable settlement that I’m not sure could have been any better with anyone else. In short, go see Taylor if you have a case. Don’t be intimidated to go seek his help, he won’t blow your brains out with “legal speak”.


  • Being referred to Taylor was the best thing I could have asked for. Taylor and staff are very easy to talk to. I would highly recommend them to anyone.


  • If I ever have to go through it again I would definetly call Taylor right away. The group was so helpful through my situation and handled everything that needed to be done. They made a stressful situation a stress free situation. With Taylor you dont have to worry about one thing. Definietly would recomend to anyone.

    - TAYLOR G.

  • Efficient, knowledgeable, and friendly.


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Manchin Injury Law Group, Took care of me when I got into a car accident while I was pregnant. Very scary moment for a first time mom but thankfully Manchin Injury Law Group had my back and treated me great. They made me feel as if I was part of their family. My son is now 7 Months Old and very happy and healthy. I’m very thankful for them for helping me through everything and getting me what we deserved. I 100% would recommend them to anyone. If I ever have an accident again they will be my number 1 phone call!


  • The support given helped me to feel like I was included in my personal injury case every step of the way. I was informed about the entire process throughout. It was amazing how quick the turn around time was and I would definitely recommend Attorney Timothy J. Manchin to anyone!


  • Taylor and Kelly worked hard on my case so I didn’t have to. Thanks guys!


  • Excellent experience dealing with Manchin Injury Law. They were very responsive, professional and easy to talk to. I did my homework before I hired a lawyer after my accident and I am so glad I found Manchin Injury Law Group. If you are injured, give them a call!


  • Taylor and Tim helped make a difficult moment in life, a little more bearable. Easy to communicate with and informative. I will absolutely recommend them to everyone.


  • Kelly and Taylor did all the hard work so that I didn’t have to. They both cared about my circumstance and got me a nice settlement. Taylor knows what he is doing and I felt comfortable with my case in his hands.


  • Great lawyers. They helped me with a West Virginia case.


  • Such a great experience with Taylor and this firm. Thankful for their diligence and their work on our case. Thank you to all!


  • Had a easy and smooth experience with a great attorney so when you go there make sure you ask for Taylor.


  • My experience at the Manchin Injury Law Group was extremely positive, and I would recommend them to anyone who needs a compassionate and experienced lawyer on their side.


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