Thomas v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
In Thomas v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 181 W. Va. 604, 383 S.E.2d 786 (1989), the Court recognized that an insured was entitled to recover attorney fees and the damages of the type which the appellants seek in the present action when an insured substantially prevails on a claim against his own insurer.
The Court further stated in Syllabus Point 2 of the Thomas case that:
"The question of whether an insured has substantially prevailed against his insurance company on a property damage claim is determined by the status of the negotiations between the insured and the insurer prior to the institution of the lawsuit. Where the insurance company has offered an amount materially below the damage estimates submitted by the insured, and the jury awards the insured an amount approximating the insured's damage estimates, the insured has substantially prevailed."