West Virginia medical malpractice lawyers are chasing the path set by Illinois malpractice lawyers (and trying to avoid the path of Maryland malpractice lawyers) in contesting the cap on noneconomic damages in West Virginia malpractice lawsuits.
In 1986, West Virginia enacted a cap on pain and suffering awards in malpractice cases. The cap was originally set at $1 million, but has been knocked back to $250,000 for most malpractice lawsuits and $500,000 for the most severe claims. Additionally, the cap applies no matter how many plaintiffs there are, so multiple plaintiffs have to split the award, which can be no more than $500,000.
After their $1.5 million verdict was reduced in a malpractice claim involving rhabdomyolysis, a West Virginia couple is making the same case that was argued successfully in Illinois and unsuccessfully in Maryland: the cap is unconstitutional because it deprives plaintiffs of their right to a jury trial.