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When can an accident victim sue for pain and suffering?


Drivers and passengers in West Virginia are aware that they must be injured in a car accident in order to file a personal injury claim. Moreover, victims of an automobile collision have various recourses following an accident caused by another party. In some cases, a victim could suffer greatly from the injuries caused by the accident, and because of their pain and suffering, the damages and costs associated with the accident are large.

When can an accident victim sue for pain and suffering? While an accident victim can sue for various damages such as medical bills, damage to property and lost wages as a result of the accident, the victim could also sue for pain and suffering when it is evident that the pain caused by the accident injuries has in fact caused the victim's suffering. This damage places a monetary value on the past, present and future physical and mental pain suffered by the injured party.

There are three factors often considered when addressing an award for pain and suffering. First, the severity of the injury is considered. This means assessing the long-term suffering associated with the injury. For example, a brain injury could impact a victim for the rest of their life and cause them to suffer for several years if not for the rest of their life.

Second, the age of the victim is factored in. Injury to a very young or very old victim could garner a larger award due to the degree of pain felt by these classes of victims. It will also consider the long lasting effects of the injury, how well they could recover and how it will interfere with their quality of life.

Lastly, the degree of suffering is assessed. This means considering the degree of pain felt at the time of the injury and the amount of pain felt during the period following the injury. Being simply bothered or annoyed by the injury following the accident will not suffice. A victim must actually suffering from the pain associated with the injury in order to receive the award.

Filing a personal injury claim is often a step that follows a serious car accident. Victims and their loved ones should understand how to initiate the process and what damages and recourses are available to them.

Source: FindLaw, "When Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering?," accessed on Dec. 30, 2014

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