Cart v. Marcum
In Cart v. Marcum, 188 W.Va. 241, 423 S.E.2d 644 (1992), the Court held that "generally, a cause of action accrues (i.e., the statute of limitations begins to run) when a tort occurs; under the 'discovery rule,' the statute of limitations is tolled until a claimant knows or by reasonable diligence should know of his claim."
With regard to when the "discovery rule" could be utilized, the Court stated in Cart that "the 'discovery rule' applied only when there was a strong showing by the plaintiff that some action by the defendant prevented the plaintiff from knowing of the wrong at the time of the injury." Id. at 242, 423 S.E.2d at 645, syl. pt. 3, in part. The Court recognized that in some circumstances causal relationships are so well established that we cannot excuse a plaintiff who pleads ignorance.
In those instances where a cause of action against a defendant is patently obvious, and the plaintiff cannot claim that through the exercise of reasonable diligence they were unable to discover the existence of a cause of action, a higher burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff.
The only way a plaintiff can toll the statute of limitation in such circumstances is to make "a strong showing . . . that some action by the defendant prevented the plaintiff from knowing of the wrong at the time of the injury."