Plaintiffs can recover various damages in personal injury lawsuits, including general damages related to pain and suffering. These are very subjective damages that can be difficult to prove, but the payoff is often worth the effort.
Pain and suffering generally encompass physical pain, injuries, and mental or emotional trauma and anguish. These damages vary from case to case because plaintiffs might experience pain and suffering differently. Factors that may be considered when calculating damages for pain and suffering include the duration of your recovery, whether injuries are permanent, and how your daily life is changed. To prove your claims, we need evidence demonstrating the impact of your injuries. Medical reports and witnesses who can testify about your change in demeanor may be necessary. Generally, pain and suffering are not subject to damages caps, although certain kinds of lawsuits might come with restrictions on general damages.
Many plaintiffs report intense physical pain from their injuries and severe emotional trauma that takes years to overcome. Our Georgia personal injury attorneys can help you recover damages from your pain and suffering. For a free case review, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
How Pain and Suffering are Defined in Georgia
Damages for pain and suffering are not explicitly defined in Georgia, although there are rules and laws regarding general damages. General damages, also called non-economic damages, may include pain and suffering, among others. According to Georgia Code § 51-12-2(a), general damages are injuries and losses presumed to flow from a tortious act or injury. Plaintiffs may recover general damages without proving any specific dollar amount of value.
There are various general damages a plaintiff may claim, depending on the circumstances of the case. Pain and suffering are broad categories of general damages and tend to include physical pain, injuries, and mental anguish. For example, a plaintiff injured in a car accident may claim damages for pain and suffering related to the bodily harm they experienced and the emotional trauma from surviving a near-death experience.
There is no single way to define pain and suffering because they may be experienced differently across different cases. Some plaintiffs handle pain and emotional trauma very well, while others might have a far more negative experience. Our Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help you articulate these damages to recover financial compensation for your injuries.
Calculating Damages for Pain and Suffering in Georgia
Calculating general damages, including those for pain and suffering, is less about tallying up expenses and more about expressing a subjective personal experience. Most plaintiffs do not actually lose money because of physical pain or emotional trauma, although certain expenses might be associated with these experiences (e.g., medical bills and therapy costs). As such, the court must consider various factors surrounding your case when deciding how much damages for pain and suffering are worth.
The court will consider various details about your injuries besides how much medical treatment costs. For example, the duration of your recovery, degree of pain, physical disfigurement, and whether your injuries are long-lasting or permanent are considered when evaluating pain and suffering.
There are also factors surrounding your emotional and mental health that must be assessed. Diagnosing psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, or PTSD should be considered. Additionally, we must bring up factors like a general loss of enjoyment, humiliation from the accident or your injuries, and any fear or stress you have experienced from the accident.
Methods of Calculation
There are some common methods of getting to a concrete dollar amount when evaluating damages for pain and suffering. One such method is known as the multiplier method. Using this method, a multiplier is chosen based on the severity of your injuries, usually a number between 1.5 and 5. Next, your economic damages are multiplied by the designated multiplier to calculate your general damages. So, if your economic damages amounted to $10,000, and the court chose 3 as the multiplier, your damages for pain and suffering would be $30,000.
Another method is sometimes called the per diem method and uses the duration of your injuries to determine the value of general damages like pain and suffering. Usually, a dollar amount is chosen as a daily per diem rate and multiplied by the number of days from the date of your injury to the date you were released from the hospital or medically cleared. The longer you took to recover, the greater your damages.
Proving Claims for Pain and Suffering in Georgia
Although we do not necessarily need proof of a total dollar amount to establish the existence of your pain and suffering, we will need some evidence to support your claims. We should present evidence from your medical records to help prove your pain and suffering. In some cases, injuries are so severe that evidence from medical records is all a jury needs to be convinced of the plaintiff’s pain and suffering.
However, we may need to go the extra mile in some cases. If you had to seek professional help from a therapist or other mental health professional, we can use this as evidence to support our claims of emotional suffering. Better yet, we might be able to have a mental health professional explain your condition to the court.
The best evidence will vary based on your circumstances and how you were injured. Our Savannah personal injury lawyers can help you find the evidence you need to convince the court of your pain and suffering.
Possible Limitations on Pain and Suffering Damages in Georgia
For the most part, general damages and pain and suffering are not subjected to damages caps or limitations. This means that, depending on how your damages for pain and suffering are calculated, the final amount might be very high. However, this is not the case in every personal injury lawsuit. Certain cases, usually those in which the government or a government entity are the defendants, may limit the value of general damages a plaintiff can recover. Our Macon personal injury lawyers can help you determine if you are limited in any way when calculating damages for pain and suffering.
Call Our Georgia Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
Pain and suffering are sometimes disregarded and looked down upon as shameless money-grabs. In reality, injured victims experience intense pain and trauma that deserves compensation. Our Valdosta personal injury attorneys can help you get the compensation you truly deserve. For a free case assessment, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.