Pain and suffering damages are paid to victims of accidents and injuries to cover the damages that are not based in financial harm. Payments for mental anguish, emotional distress, and other similar harms are just as important as medical bills and lost wages. However, getting these damages can be complex.
Pain and suffering damages are often covered through liability insurance like car insurance or homeowners insurance claims in Georgia. However, insurance companies might balk at paying victims the full value of these damages, and you might need to go to court to get your payments covered in full.
For help with a personal injury case, contact the Georgia personal injury attorneys at Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
What Damages Are Covered by Pain and Suffering in Georgia Injury Cases?
Before discussing how to get pain and suffering damages paid, it is important to go over what damages are covered by the umbrella term “pain and suffering.”. In any case, you should always have a Georgia personal injury lawyer review your case and help you understand what damages you should claim. Many injury victims miss out on pain and suffering damages in insurance settlements because they fail to consider how important these damages are.
Pain and suffering is a general term that is often used interchangeably with “non-economic damages.” Basically, damages are divided based on whether they are paid to cover a specific expense or cost you faced or whether they are paid, generally, to compensate you for the harm you faced.
Pain and suffering damages can be paid to compensate you for physical experiences like pain and discomfort as well as mental and emotional suffering. The most common pain and suffering damages account for physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, lost enjoyment of life, and specifically, the lost ability to perform activities you enjoyed, like riding a bike or picking up and playing with your grandchildren.
Does Insurance Cover Pain and Suffering in Georgia Accident Cases?
Many people are under the impression that insurance does not cover pain and suffering damages. In some states, car accident insurance is based on a “no-fault” system, and these insurance policies usually bar non-economic damages. Georgia does not use this kind of system, and most injury claims are filed against liability insurance – which does typically cover pain and suffering.
This means that if you were injured in a car crash, you can include pain and suffering damages in your insurance claim against the at-fault driver. Similarly, you can claim pain and suffering in an insurance claim against a homeowners insurance policy, a business liability insurance policy, or any other relevant insurance policy.
One exception is Workers’ Compensation. This insurance covers medical bills and lost wages after an injury at work, and it does not cover pain and suffering damages. However, there are many exceptions that allow you to sue parties other than your employer for work injuries, and you can claim pain and suffering through these lawsuits.
Claiming Pain and Suffering in a Georgia Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you file an injury claim in court in Georgia, your Columbus personal injury lawyers will include a list of all of the damages that you faced. Your damages will include any economic damages you faced, such as medical expenses, but it will also include a value for pain and suffering. To get these damages paid, you need to do more than claim them in your complaint: you need to prove them.
Proving that you experienced pain and suffering is not necessarily an issue; if you were injured, it is assumed that you experienced pain. Under the law, pain and suffering damages fall under the category of “general damages,” which do not need specific proof of their amount for you to claim them in court.
However, you will still need to put a specific dollar amount on your claim as part of your lawsuit. Your attorneys can help you calculate these damages and prove that that amount is appropriate.
When providing proof of your pain and suffering damages, your attorneys will rely on a few major pieces of evidence. First, your own testimony about how the accident, the injuries, and the healing process all affected your life and your mental state will be important considerations. Second, you might be able to present journals kept during your recovery that highlight how bad the experience was. Third, testimony from loved ones can detail how the injury has changed you or in what ways your life is now harder because of the accident. And lastly, your doctors and therapists can testify about how the injury affects you, especially when it comes to the impact on your activities of daily living (e.g., dressing yourself, bathing on your own) and your mental health.
Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering in an Injury Case in Georgia
Knowing how much your suffering is worth is also important to understanding how to get these damages covered. While you might not need to present evidence of the amount in order to get compensation for these damages, you need a reasonable calculation of non-economic damages to help convince the jury or the insurance company that the amount you are claiming is justified.
Courts often look to two general calculation methods to estimate pain and suffering damages. Both make a good starting point, but both methods have drawbacks that might make them inaccurate or inappropriate for your case.
The first is a “multiplier method,” where these damages are calculated by multiplying the rest of your damages by some factor. That factor is decided by looking at the severity of your injuries on a scale of 1.5 to 5.
The second is a “per diem method,” where a daily value is assigned for your pain and suffering. This value is then multiplied by the number of days in which you suffered. This per-day value is usually based on your income.
Call Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For help after an injury, contact Howe Law’s Atlanta personal injury lawyers at (844) 876-4357.