(b) For purposes of this article, a qualified claimant must be both a "patient" and a "plaintiff" as those terms are defined in article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code.
(c) Any qualified claimant seeking payment from the fund must establish to the satisfaction of the board that he or she has exhausted all reasonable means to recover from all applicable liability insurance an award of economic damages, following procedures prescribed by the board by legislative rule.
(d) Upon a determination by the board that a qualified claimant to the fund for compensation has exhausted all reasonable means to recover from all applicable liability insurance an award of economic damages arising under article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code, the board shall make a payment or payments to the claimant for economic damages. The economic damages must have been awarded but be uncollectible after the exhaustion of all reasonable means of recovery of applicable insurance proceeds. In no event shall the amount paid by the board in respect to any one occurrence exceed one million dollars or the maximum amount of money that could have been collected from all applicable insurance prior to the creation of the patient injury compensation fund under this article, regardless of the number of plaintiffs or the number of defendants or, in the case of wrongful death, regardless of the number of distributees.
(e) The board, in its discretion, may make payments to a qualified claimant in a lump sum amount or in the form of periodic payments. Periodic payments are to be based upon the present value of the total amount to be paid by the fund to the claimant by using federally approved qualified assignments.
(f) In its discretion, the board may make a payment or payments out of the fund to a qualified claimant in connection with the settlement of claims arising under article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code, all according to rules promulgated by the board. The board shall prior to making payment determine that payment from the fund to a qualified claimant is in the best interests of the fund. When the claimant and the board agree upon a settlement amount, the following procedure shall be followed:
(1) A petition shall be filed by the claimant with the court in which the action is pending, or if none is pending, in a court of appropriate jurisdiction, for approval of the agreement between the claimant and the board.
(2) The court shall set the petition for hearing as soon as the court's calendar permits. Notice of the time, date and place of hearing shall be given to the claimant and to the board.
(3) At the hearing the court shall approve the proposed settlement if the court finds it to be valid, just and equitable.
(g) If and to the extent that any payment to one or more qualified claimants under this section would deplete the fund during any fiscal year, payments to and among qualified claimant's shall be prorated during the fiscal year according to the rules promulgated by the board. Any amounts due and unpaid to qualified claimants shall be paid in subsequent fiscal years from available funds, but only to the extent funds are available in any fiscal year, according to the board's rules.
(h) Payments out of the fund may be used to pay reasonable attorney fees of attorneys representing qualified claimants receiving compensation in respect of economic damages as established by the board of risk and insurance management.
(i) The claimant may appeal a final decision made by the board pursuant to the provisions of article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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