Damages in a personal injury lawsuit are designed to compensate the plaintiff for the injuries he has suffered and to put him the same position he was in before the accident occurred. Some types of damages are objective and easily calculated, such as medical expenses and lost wages. But pure economic damages are often not enough to make the plaintiff whole again. After all, he has just undergone a traumatic ordeal and suffered injuries that are not as easily quantifiable as medical bills and lost wages. This is where non-economic damages come into play. Non-economic damages are the abstract damages a plaintiff suffers during and after an accident, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.
These types of damages are a little trickier to calculate.
Measuring Pain and Suffering
Damages for pain and suffering are difficult to measure because (1) each person’s pain and suffering is highly subjective, and (2) putting a dollar amount on human emotions and feelings is an inherently imprecise endeavor. Thus, juries in personal injury cases are often told to use their best judgment and examine the totality of the circumstances when deciding how much pain and suffering damages to award to the plaintiff. In order to assist with this calculation, the courts have enumerated a number of factors the jury should consider, including
-Severity of the injury
-Degree of pain associated with the injury
-Potential for ongoing consequences
-Amount of economic loss suffered
-Effect on family members
-The defendant’s conduct
Another problem when dealing with pain and suffering damages is how the plaintiff can prove them, since we normally require more than just the plaintiff’s word as evidence in a court of law. In order to prove pain and suffering damages, a plaintiff can present a variety of items that evidence his or her mental and physical condition, including:
-Photographs of the injuries
-A journal that records the plaintiff’s physical and emotional feelings
-Testimony from family and friends
-Proof of treatment by a mental health professional
Pain and Suffering Damages in Georgia
While many states have imposed caps on non-economic damages in personal injury cases, Georgia has not. The only limitations on pain and suffering damages are that they be reasonable and the plaintiff must bring the action within the state’s statute of limitations. Thus, this relative lack of limitations on non-economic damages makes Georgia a rather plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction when it comes to personal injury actions.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
If you have suffered an injury, you may be entitled to recover pain and suffering damages. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Norcross, Lithuania, and Roseville