› What is the Legislative Claim Commission?
› What type of claims are eligible?
› Is there a filing fee?
› How is a claim processed?
› What are hearings?
› Where are hearings held?
› Do I have to hire an attorney?
› How is a hearing conducted?
› What can I expect in road hazard claims?
› Is there a limit to the amount recoverable?
› Who represents State agencies?
In 1967, the Legislature created the Court of Claims to hear claims against State agencies. The Legislature changed the Court of Claims’ name to the West Virginia Legislative Claims Commission in 2017. The Legislative Claims Commission continues to hear claims against the state for money damages. Awards are made subject to final approval by the Legislature. Upon request, the Commission issues advisory opinions to state agencies. It also investigates and hears claims made by victims of criminally injurious conduct for awards from the Crime Victims Compensation Fund. There are three Commissioners .
A claim for money damages for:
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Property damage
- A contract
- An individual wrongfully arrested and imprisoned
- An individual wrongfully convicted and imprisoned
- Claims may be filed against a State agency by any person, firm, or corporation
Once a claim is filed, the claim is investigated by the respondent State agency, which files the results with the Claims Commission in a pleading titled “Answer”. The Answer sets forth the position of the agency. The claim is set for hearing. Hearings are held throughout West Virginia.
The claim is heard by the Claims Commission and transcribed by a Claims Commission reporter.
The Claims Commission reviews the transcript and exhibits and issues an opinion either making an award or disallowing the claim.
If an award is made, the award is included in a Claims Bill presented to the next legislative session for approval.
Once claims Bill passes, governor signs the bill.
Release forms are sent to claimants.
Claims are processed for payment after release forms are returned.
- An individual resident of West Virginia may appear and conduct his or her claim without counsel unless the Claims Commission, for good cause, shall otherwise direct.
- Nonresident counsel appearing in the Claims Commission shall conform to the requirements of Rule 8.0 of the Rules for Admission to the Practice of Law of the West Virginia State Bar.
- Partnerships, firms, or corporations in contested claims are required to be represented by counsel.
- The claimant must prove the claim.
- The claimant and witnesses testify and are cross-examined by the State’s attorney.
- The State’s witnesses testify and are cross-examined by the claimant.
- Written statements are not normally admissible when the author of the statement is not present at the hearing.
- The claimant may obtain subpoenas for witnesses from the Clerk of the Claims Commission.
- Vehicular damage – The claimant is the titled owner.
- For personal injuries – The claimant is the injured party.
- For wrongful death claims – The claimant must be the qualified personal representative of the estate.
- The driver of the involved vehicle should testify as to the circumstances of the accident
- Evidence that the State agency knew or should have known of the existence of the hazard in the road is necessary to establish negligence on the part of the State agency.
- Negligence on the part of the State agency must be proven.
- The amount of damages to a vehicle may be established through an estimate of repair or a paid repair bill, but the claimant is limited in recovery to the amount of the deductible provided in the claimant’s insurance policy. However, if the estimate or cost of repair for the vehicle exceeds the difference in market value immediately before and immediately after the damage occurred, the damages are limited to the difference in the fair market value.
No. Claims may be filed in any amount but the amount must be proven.
- Attorney General of West Virginia
- Legal Division attorneys for Division of Highways
- In house counsel assigned by certain agencies.