Individual States 

WEST VIRGINIA

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk does not bar recovery unless the degree of fault equals or exceeds the combined fault or negligence of the other parties to the accident. King v. Kayak Mfg. Corp., 387 S.E.2d 511 (W. Va. 1989) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.

COMPARATIVE FAULT

A modified system of comparative fault is applied in West Virginia. Plaintiff is only barred from recovering damages in a tort action if his fault equals or exceeds the combined negligence or fault of the other parties involved in the accident. Since the doctrine of contributory negligence is still partially retained, the doctrine of last clear chance is still available where plaintiff's fault acts as a bar. Bradley v. Appalachian Power Co., 256 S.E.2d 879 (W. Va. 1979) .

ECONOMIC LOSS

Strict liability in tort may be used to recover property damages which result from a sudden calamitous event. Damages which result merely because of a 'bad bargain' are outside the scope of strict liability. Star Furniture Co. v. Pulaski Furniture Co., 297 S.E.2d 854 (1982) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

Joint and several liability applies wherever the concurrent negligence of two or more persons combined to result in an injury to a third person. Sitzes v. Anchor Motor Freight, Inc., 289 S.E.2d 679 (W. Va. 1982) .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages are not permitted without an award of compensatory damages, and should bear a reasonable relationship to the potential harm caused by defendant's actions. This generally means a reasonable relationship to compensatory damages, with the narrow exception where actual harm was minimal, but the potential harm was tremendous. Financial position of the defendant is relevant, as well as the cost of litigation, any criminal sanctions imposed on the defendant for his conduct, and any other civil actions against the defendant based on the same conduct. Garnes v. Fleming Landfill, Inc., 413 S.E.2d 897 (W. Va. 1991) .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

When judgment is entered against several persons jointly, and satisfied by any one or more, the others shall be liable for contribution. W. Va. Code §55-7-13 .

A party who settles with the plaintiff prior to a judicial determination of liability is relieved from any liability for contribution. Nevertheless, non-settling defendants are entitled to have the verdict reduced by the previously paid amount(s) of the settling party. Smith v. Monongahela Power Co., 429 S.E.2d 643 (W. Va. 1993) .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

The defense of abnormal use is available against the plaintiff in a product liability action. Star Furniture Co. v. Pulaski Furniture Co., 297 S.E.2d 854 (1982) .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Actions for property damage and personal injury shall be brought within two years, as well as actions where the personal injury was the result of a defective product. W. Va. Code §55-2-12 .

Actions for wrongful death shall be brought within two years. W. Va. Code §55-7-6(d) .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

There is no statute of repose for product liability actions in West Virginia.

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

There are no exclusive Products Liability statutes under this category.