At Prim Law Firm PLLC, we represent people who incurred injuries or lost a family member due to the negligence of others, including safety lapses in the workplace and medical settings.
Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience in personal injury cases involving mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers and lung disease, as well as injuries caused by negligent medical and nursing care or defective products. We have the knowledge, skills, and tenacity necessary to hold negligent parties responsible for the injuries and damage they caused.
Prim Law FAQ
Q: How much is my medical malpractice claim worth?
Each case is different, and the amount your case may be worth will depend on the extent, duration and severity of your injuries. For example, if you are permanently disabled or disfigured by a doctor or other medical professional's negligence, then your settlement or verdict award is likely to be higher than if your injury is temporary or more minor. In West Virginia, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs of medical care, rehabilitation services, lost wages and future earning capacity and other economic losses, but the amount you may receive for non-economic losses is limited. West Virginia law provides a cap of $250,000 for non-economic damages, which is adjusted annually for inflation but cannot exceed $375,000. In certain catastrophic cases, a non-economic damages award may be capped at $500,000, adjusted annually for inflation, but not exceeding $750,000.
Q: A doctor misdiagnosed my illness, is that medical malpractice?
Whether misdiagnosis is considered medical malpractice depends on the circumstances of your particular case. Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to provide a level of care that meets the standards set by the medical community. If their care meets this standard, but they still diagnose you incorrectly, they may not be guilty of negligence. However, if their misdiagnosis was due to their failure to provide a reasonably acceptable level of care, then you may have a claim for medical negligence. By contacting our office and explaining your situation, our attorneys and medical experts can help you determine whether your doctor's misdiagnosis was reasonable or negligent.
Q: Is there a time limit on when I can sue for medical malpractice?
In general, if you have been injured because of the negligence of a medical practitioner, under West Virginia law you may have up to two years from the date of your injury to sue. If you did not discover your injury immediately, you may have up to two years from the date of discovery of the injury, but no more than ten years from the date of the actual injury, to bring a medical malpractice claim. For instance, if a doctor negligently fails to diagnose you with cancer, your medical malpractice claim must be brought within two years from the date you were correctly diagnosed. If you have lost a loved one because of medical negligence, you have two years from the date your loved one passed away to sue for medical malpractice resulting in death.
However, it is important to understand that each case is different, and that you may have more or less time to sue depending on the particular facts of your case. To ensure that you do not lose your chance to recover compensation for your injuries, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Q: What are the health risks associated with asbestos exposure?
Frequent exposure to asbestos over time increases your risks of developing an asbestos-related disease. If you were exposed to airborne friable asbestos, you may have breathed in fibers that remain embedded in your lungs. Although symptoms may not develop for several years, exposure to asbestos may cause serious lung diseases and cancer, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
- Asbestosis: Asbestosis is a serious, progressive, long-term disease of the lungs. It is not cancer. Asbestosis is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers into the lungs, causing irritation and scarring, which makes it difficult for oxygen to move into the blood. As of yet, doctors have not found an effective treatment for this disease.
- Lung Cancer: Lung cancer is the most deadly asbestos-related disease, and is likely to affect workers in the mining, milling, asbestos manufacturing, and construction industry.
- Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer where cancer cells are found in the mesothelium, a protective sac that covers most of the body's internal organs. There are three main types of mesothelioma: pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lungs; peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the abdominal cavity and pericardial mesothelioma, which affects the heart.
Q: What are the symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases?
The following include some common symptoms of asbestos-related diseases:
- Asbestosis: Shortness of breath and a dry, crackling sound in the lungs when inhaling.
- Lung Cancer: Coughing and changes in breathing, shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness and anemia.
- Mesothelioma: Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are common symptoms of pleural mesothelioma; and weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen, bowel obstruction, blood clots, anemia and fever are common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma. Symptoms of may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure.
Q: Who is at risk for mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases?
Asbestos was a widely used industrial and construction product from the 1940s to the 1980s. It was used in building materials, such as roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and cement products; in friction products, including automobile clutches, brakes and transmission parts; and in heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets and coatings. Shipyard workers, asbestos mines and mills workers, asbestos products producers, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other trades people have been found to have a high risk of asbestos exposure. In addition, family members and others living with asbestos workers may have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases because of exposure to fibers in the hair and clothes of asbestos workers.
However, even present-day workers and their families may be exposed to asbestos. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. Although the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace, asbestos is still commonly used in many products and workers may still suffer from ongoing exposure if safety precautions are not carefully followed. The only way to determine if you have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease is to contact a medical specialist who is experienced in the diagnosis of asbestos-related illnesses.
Q: What is a "product defect?"
A product defect includes any type of product available for use by consumers, including pharmacy or over-the-counter drugs or medical devices, machines or hazardous chemicals found in the workplace, automobiles or auto parts, household products and toys, that fails to perform as expected and causes an injury. There are three types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.
When a product has a design defect, any product made to the same design specifications will also be defective, no matter how carefully manufactured. Design defects can range from automobile defects, such as a car with a dangerously placed gas tank; to drug defects, such as birth control methods that use new, synthetic forms of progestin, which cause higher risks of deadly blood clots. On the other hand, manufacturing defects are those defects, which occur during the manufacturing process, and usually include substandard manufacturing standards, shoddy workmanship or low quality materials. Finally, when a product has inherent dangers that may not be obvious to the consumer, the manufacturer must provide adequate warnings to the consumer detailing the dangers of use. Failure to warn is frequently an issue in pharmaceutical drug litigation, where a manufacturer did not disclose all the possible harmful effects a drug might have.
Q: I was injured by a defective product, who is responsible for my injuries?
When a product or pharmaceutical drug injures consumers because it is defectively designed or manufactured, or failed to contain adequate warnings or instructions, the product's manufacturer and other parties in the chain of manufacture may be held strictly liable for any harm that results. An injured consumer does not have to prove that the manufacturer was negligent, but only that the defective or unreasonably dangerous product or drug caused the harm.
Q: Should I keep the defective product that caused my injuries?
If possible, it is generally wise to preserve the defective product as long as it is safe to do so. The defective product may provide proof that your injuries were caused by the product's defective design, shoddy workmanship, or lack of adequate warnings. If the product is safely preserved and not altered in any way, our experts may be able to examine it as evidence and present testimony on its defects. However, if you are unable to preserve the product, for example, because your injuries were caused by a defective drug, our attorneys may still have enough evidence to prove your case. We keep an extensive database of illness patterns and have had substantial success linking injuries to certain causes. Our firm has had particular success in workplace injury cases arising from defective chemicals because we are able to link injuries to specific chemicals based on the illness patterns of coworkers.