After an injury for which someone else was responsible, you are entitled to compensation for costs associated with that injury. You can pursue the responsible party for medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and other miscellaneous costs.
But you also deserve compensation for your physical and emotional distress. The legal term for these damages is "pain and suffering." Georgia places no cap on pain and suffering compensation, so the amount you receive could be substantial.
That said, pain and suffering damages are subjective. You cannot objectively quantify them as you can medical bills or lost wages. That is why you need a skilled and experienced attorney fighting for your rights. For a free consultation with a top personal injury lawyer, call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838.
Economic vs. Non-Economic Damages
Personal injury lawsuits involve two types of damages. Economic damages involve quantifiable damages and actual costs that come out of your pocket such as medical bills, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, and medication.
There are also non-economic damages. These costs are more subjective and include things like pain and suffering. Mental and physical anguish present a "cost" to you, but not one to which you can assign a dollar amount.
Because non-economic damages cannot be measured in absolute dollars, many states cap how much you can win for things like pain and suffering. The good news is that Georgia does not.
Factors That Influence Your Award
If we cannot get the responsible party or the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement out of court, we then prepare to take your case to trial.
There, a judge and jury will decide the amount of your award. When considering pain and suffering damages, they look at several factors:
- Injury severity: The worse your injury, the easier it is to convince the judge and jury that you suffered physically or emotionally. Thus, a high correlation exists between injury severity and compensation for pain and suffering.
- Degree of pain: While it is hard to quantify the degree of your pain, we have a few ways to make it clear how much you have suffered. We work with your doctors to produce a medical statement that details, among other things, the physician's observation of your physical suffering. We also solicit testimony from those who spend the most time around you, such as your friends and family.
- Future complications: If your doctors expect you to suffer future complications from your injury, then it is likely you will experience more pain and suffering. We use this to argue for a larger award.
- Economic loss: Financial strain can increase the mental anguish from an injury. If your quantifiable economic damages are substantial, we can actually use this as proof that you deserve more damages for pain and suffering.
- Effect on loved ones: You are not the only one who suffers in the aftermath of an injury. Often, your family and friends have to take care of you while you recover. Not to mention, seeing you suffer affects their emotional state, as well.
A particular tactic we can call on in certain situations is known as the multiplier method. We take your economic damages and multiply them by a number as high as five. Thus, if your economic damages total $100,000, we can argue for as much as $500,000 in compensation for pain and suffering.
Is There Anything That Can Reduce My Compensation for Pain and Suffering?
Yes. Georgia follows comparative negligence law. It states that if you bear some of the responsibility for your injury, then your compensation is reduced by the proportion of your liability.
In other words, if the evidence shows you were 20 percent responsible for your injury, and your total damages (economic and non-economic) amount to $500,000, then you would forfeit $100,000 (20 percent) of that amount, bringing your award to $400,000.
Call 404-842-7838 for a Free Consultation With a Top Personal Injury Lawyer
At S. Burke Law, we know how to negotiate with the insurance company and pursue fair compensation. This includes pain and suffering damages. Call us today to set up a free consultation: 404-842-7838.