If you have suffered an injury in a Georgia vehicle accident, it is probably no surprise to you that it is possible to recover the costs of your medical treatment and other bills from the responsible party. It’s not difficult to place a monetary value on these economic damages; your attorney would merely seek to recover the amount of your medical bills or lost wages. However, these are not the only type of damages available to you when you’ve suffered an injury due to the negligence of another. Under Georgia law, you may also seek recovery for your pain and suffering.
A monetary judgment against the person responsible for your injuries can’t heal the physical or emotional suffering you’ve endured. In the case of life-altering injuries, money is a poor substitute for the things you may no longer be able to enjoy in life. But while monetary damages can’t heal your pain, they can be one means to help restore your previous quality of life. But unlike medical bills, there isn’t a bottom line figure that you can point to when evaluating your pain and suffering claim. So how would your Georgia personal injury attorney show a jury how much your suffering is worth?
What Is Pain and Suffering Under Georgia Law?
The availability of pain and suffering damages for civil actions in Georgia courtrooms is set out by statute. According to O.C.G.A. 9-10-184:
In the trial of a civil action for personal injuries, counsel shall be allowed to argue the worth or monetary value of pain and suffering to the jury; provided, however, that any such argument shall conform to the evidence or reasonable deductions from the evidence in the case.
This language is vague, but a series of Georgia court decisions have given courts some guidance on what constitutes pain and suffering. Some of the factors that courts will consider in evaluating pain and suffering injuries include:
- Whether the pain interfered with your healthy living.
- Whether the pain interfered with your enjoyment of life.
- If your pain and suffering led to a loss in your ability to earn money.
- If your bodily health has been impaired long-term or permanently.
- The shock from the severity of the impact.
- Fear and worry over the extent of your injuries.
- Your mental anguish, now and in the future.
Unlike specific acute injuries like cuts and broken bones, it can be hard to describe pain and suffering to a jury. Thankfully, skilled injury attorneys can use your medical history and witness testimony to paint an accurate picture of your pain and suffering. Your attorney can rely on your medical records to show that you have regularly complained about pain since the accident occurred. You, as well as friends, family, and co-workers may also be called to testify as to the effect the pain and suffering has had on your life and ability to care for yourself. If the pain is likely to be permanent, skilled attorneys have many tools, including mortality tables, to help juries calculate the length of time an injured victim is likely to suffer.
Questions? Talk to One of our Georgia Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have suffered an injury in a car accident in Georgia, contact a personal injury lawyer today. Trained professionals have extensive experience representing car accident victims and can answer any questions you have about whether pain and suffering damages are available in your case. For answers, contact Williams Elleby at 833-LEGALGA for your free consultation today.