Pain and Suffering in Georgia
January 23, 2023
Pain and suffering is a type of non-economic damage in a personal injury claim. It’s considered non-economic because there are no receipts nor medical bills that can be used to prove you’ve suffered pain and suffering in a Georgia personal injury lawsuit.
Pain and suffering are broad under Georgia law. Calculating pain and suffering includes all of the physical and emotional effects that the accident had on you, the victim. If you’ve suffered from physical pain, mental anguish, not enjoying life, loss of health and vigor, not being able to work, and more, then you may be entitled to a pain and suffering claim.
Personal injury lawsuits look to compensate pain and suffering victims when they’ve been injured in an accident at no fault of their own. for the full extent of their damages, including those that are not so easy to quantify like pain and suffering.
Georgia’s Pain and Suffering Law
In a car accident claim, your ability to prove that you’ve suffered physical and emotional harm will be a pivotal component to recovering damages. Car accident laws allow injured individuals to recover compensation for all of the physical and emotional distress of any injuries sustained in an accident.
Each state has its own statutes regarding the maximum amount of damages awarded to accident victims in personal injury cases. Georgia law OCGA 9-10-184 states that juries can determine damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress without a monetary cap.
Pain and Suffering Defined
Pain and suffering may seem relatively straightforward, but they have specific definitions in the context of Georgia law and personal injury claims. Generally, pain and suffering refer to the actual pain and discomfort of the injury, as well as the long-term suffering it causes you.
Your suffering damages calculated can also include when you develop chronic pain and emotional distress because of lost wages and injuries. When it comes to the law, pain and suffering refer to the elements of harm.
“Pain” refers to any discomfort and injuries from the accident. “Suffering” covers effects such as mood disorders, despair over physical limitations, and loss of consortium with your spouse or partner.
Pain and suffering can also refer to conditions such as, physical suffering, future discomfort, and long-term mental pain. These considerations are helpful for people who experience traumatic accidents and serious injuries. Speak with a personal injury attorney at The Pendergrass Law Firm to start recovering your pain and suffering and severe injuries today.
Included in Pain and Suffering in Georgia
According to professional personal injury legal specialists, pain and suffering in Georgia includes the following physical and mental repercussions of being injured:
- Past and future physical pain and suffering
- Past and future mental anguish
- Disruption to bodily health and vigor
- Disruption to normal living
- Disruption the enjoyment of life
- The loss of the ability to work and make a living
- The shock of the impact of the injuries on the victim
- Fear about the extent of the injury
Not Included in Georgia Pain and Suffering Awards
Pain and suffering is not compensation for tangible expenses. Economic damages caused in a personal injury accident can be awarded in a settlement or trial but these expenses are not covered under pain and suffering damages. Read on for more information on pain and suffering damages or contact The Pendergrass Law Firm for a free consultation.
Pain and Suffering Damages
Non-economic damages are more difficult to classify monetarily. If you’re wondering what is the worth of your physical pain and suffering, or how much should the defendant compensate for this change in your life? Then consider sitting down with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Georgia.
Many insurance companies have concocted their own formula for determining pain and suffering damages. Typically, insurance companies use a multiplier of your other damages. Let’s say you have $50,000 in economic damages, the insurer may determine that pain and suffering is three times that amount, or $150,000. This is based on the severity and impact of your injuries.
Georgia Pain and Suffering Trial
If your case goes to trial, juries can be instructed to determine what’s the worth of their own pain and suffering under similar circumstances. Juries consider the following factors when attempting to assign a monetary value to your pain and suffering damages:
- Injury severity
- Medical bills and treatment involved
- Degree of pain
- Ongoing consequences that arise because of your injury
- Degree of impaired earning capacity
- Movement limitations
- How your family is affected
Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer in Georgia can help you understand what may be considered pain and suffering in your case. A pain and suffering lawyer can represent you in both settlement negotiations and on trial.
General and Special damages in Georgia
Georgia classifies personal injury compensation into general (non-economic) and special (economic) damages. General damages are those that aren’t easily measured monetarily. The loss of a loved one or the trauma of losing a leg can be prime examples of general damage.
Special damages are those that can be identified with a specific amount of money. Loss of income and medical bills are good examples of special damages. Since they have a specific, quantifiable amount associated with them, they can be easier to demonstrate.
Things to Consider When Calculating Pain and Suffering
Since Georgia’s statute don’t restrict the damage cap limit for pain and suffering, your legal team can demonstrate the following in your claim to recover maximum damages:
- Distress to loved ones
- Disturbance of family life
- Fear of extent of your injury
- Interference with your everyday life
- Inability to enjoy daily activities
- Limitations of movement
- Loss of capacity to hold employment and earn wages
- Medical treatments and expenses
- Mental and emotional distress
- Physical injuries
- Physical shock
You don’t have to demonstrate all of the above considerations to recover pain and suffering damages. Actually, any one of these factors alone could show enough to receive compensation. The severity of each factor will play a role in your award amount.
Since many of the above factors are difficult for a judge or jury members to establish a clear, irrefutable value, accident victims are strongly encouraged to keep track of all doctor visits and any other health activity. Personal injury law professionals suggest keeping track of things like:
- Attendance at support groups
- Visits with social workers
- Doctor visits
An accident journal detailing how you’re feeling, both physically and mentally, can also be an aid to pain and suffering calculations. If you’re interested in learning how much you can recover or how to prove pain and suffering in your claim, speak with one of our diligent personal injury attorneys today.
Proving Pain and Suffering in GA
Pain and suffering are real but measuring them, objectively, can seem impossible. Since it can be difficult to prove the precise amount of pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result of your injuries, your personal injury law firm will need to show the right evidence in order to recover maximum compensation for you.
One of the most secure ways to show your pain and suffering is by using your medical records. If you’ve been reporting pain, discomfort, or personal limitations to your medical provider during your post-injury appointments, that information should be kept in your official medical history.
That’s why our law firm always supports being vocally clear with your healthcare providers about any emotional stress or disabling injury you’ve been experiencing each time you visit your doctor. Medical documentation evidence carries a lot of weight in receiving monetary compensation with personal injury claims.
Evidence of Pain and Suffering
Although you may be eligible for pain and suffering compensation under GA laws, as the plaintiff in a civil action suit, you and your representing law firm have the burden of proving each aspect of your damages claim.
Your personal injury counsel can present the following evidence to help substantiate your demand for pain and suffering damages:
- Medical records that document your complaints of pain and other symptoms
- Results of imaging tests that show pain would be likely
- Receipts for prescription pain medications and over-the-counter substitutes
- Testimony from family members, neighbors, and coworkers
- Entries from your pain journal about the frequency and severity of your pain
- Testimony from medical, vocational, and economic experts about the effects of your injuries
Is There a Time Limit for Personal Injury Lawsuits in Georgia?
Georgia’s civil court system allows injury victims wishing to file a lawsuit against a negligent party to demand compensation for their injuries, two years from the date of the injury to do so. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after the standard two-year deadline, the court may dismiss your case and you would lose your right to compensation in court.
Georgia Comparative Negligence
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, this means that injured parties must have been less than 50% responsible for an accident in order to recover pain and suffering damages. Additionally, your damages will be reduced by the percent of fault you’re assigned by the judge and jury.
Georgia Pain and Suffering FAQ
If you have questions about your potential pain and suffering damages, then consider speaking with an adept pain and suffering attorney in your GA community right away. Read on for some of the most common questions our law firm receives on pain and suffering:
What Are Some Examples of Pain?
Pain is experienced at various stages throughout your accident. Some examples include:
- The pain experienced from the actual process of being injured (i.e. third degree burn)
- The residual, stationary pain and discomfort that exists after the injury-causing event
- The pain from surgeries and other procedures to treat the underlying injury
- The pain and discomfort experienced during rehabilitation, physical therapy, and/or recovery
- The pain experienced from taking various medications and their side effects
- The phantom limb pain experienced by amputees.
In cases involving wrongful death, pain and suffering can be recovered when claimants can prove the decedent anticipated their death in the moments before it occurred. Speak with a skilled wrongful death attorney if you have more questions about recovering pain and suffering for a deceased loved one.
What Are Some Examples of Suffering?
Suffering experienced is not isolated, but can change depending on your physical injury, associated pain, and the treatments available. Some examples of suffering include:
- Disability or impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distres
Should I Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Today About My Pain and Suffering?
Georgia legal professionals state that one of the best ways to know if you could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering is to review your case with a knowledgeable car accident attorney in Gwinnett County. Contact the trusted team at The Pendergrass Law Firm today to learn more about your legal options in a free initial case evaluation right away.