Have you been injured in an accident you did not cause? If so, you may be entitled to compensation from the party that was at-fault. The amount of compensation you receive will be a reflection of 3 types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Pain & suffering will be a major factor when calculating the non-economic damages.
Unfortunately, putting a dollar amount on pain and suffering can be quite challenging as it is a highly subjective matter. Over time, two systems have been developed in an attempt to standardize the calculation of pain and suffering damages. The two methods we speak of are: the multiplier method and the per diem method. We will discuss both methods so that you can have a full understanding of how pain and suffering damages are calculated in a personal injury lawsuit in Georgia.
At SHElaw firm®, we have a highly skilled team of injury attorneys dedicated to obtaining maximum compensation, including pain and suffering damages, for people who have been injured by no fault of their own. Shequel Ross and our skilled legal team are ready to speak with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will receive a risk-free initial consultation, pay nothing unless we win, and get a proven winner fighting on your behalf. Contact us today at 470-378-1162 to schedule your no-obligation consultation with a personal injury attorney near you.
2 Methods for Calculating Pain & Suffering Compensation
Calculating “full and fair” compensation for things like pain and suffering can be very challenging because every person will view the value associated differently. Below we will discuss the two methods that were developed to make this process fair and consistent.
The Multiplier Method
This method first requires calculating the value of an injury victim’s economic damages. Economic damages are generally calculated by adding up things that come with receipts. This can include:
- The cost of medical bills
- Lost wages
- Damaged personal property
Once this number is obtained, a multiplier will be applied, ranging from 1 to 5, based on the severity of the accident and your injuries. A minor fender bender may be assigned a multiplier of 1. By contrast, a catastrophic pileup may be assigned a multiplier of 5.
Finally, to obtain your final number for pain and suffering, simply multiple the value calculated for economic damages by the multiplier. Pain and suffering damages would be the result. For Example:
Economic Damages of a Car Accident: $50,000
Multiplier Applied: 4
Pain and Suffering Damages: $200,000
The Per Diem Method
“Per diem” means “by the day” in Latin. As you may have guessed, the per diem method assigns a dollar value to the pain and suffering you experience on a daily basis as a result of the accident.
The per diem value should be based on the severity and extent of your injuries. Minor cuts and bruises would result in a lower value than, say, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that leaves you permanently paralyzed. The compensation for your pain and suffering is then calculated by multiplying the per diem value by the number of days it takes you to recover.
The job of your personal injury attorney is to advocate aggressively on your behalf by pushing back in the opposite direction of the insurance company. No matter which method is ultimately applied in your case, the at-fault party and their insurers will strive to lower the value of your claim. The legal team at SHElaw firm® provides clients with tenacious representation, pushing for every possible damage to compensate you for your pain and suffering
Is There a Cap on Pain & Suffering Damages in GA?
No. Unlike most states, Georgia places no limit on the amount of money injury victims can be awarded for pain and suffering in civil lawsuits. The governing statute, O.C.G.A. § 9-10-184, states simply and broadly that
“[i]n 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.” The only caveat is “that any such argument shall conform to the evidence or reasonable deductions from the evidence in the case.”
What if I Was Found to be Partially At-Fault?
In these scenarios, Georgia courts will evaluate the comparative fault of the plaintiff and defendant, meaning injury victims may still recover significant compensation for their injuries and losses even if they were partly responsible for the accident.
The law that guides this judgement, O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33, rests on the principle that someone should not have to pay compensation to another whose fault for an accident was equal to or greater than their own. In other words, if a plaintiff contributed less than 50 percent to the cause of the accident that gave rise to their injuries, their compensation will be reduced proportionately to their degree of fault. However, if you contributed more than 50 percent to the accident, you will be completely barred from receiving any compensation and may be found liable for compensation for the damages of the other party.
A brief illustration should help. Imagine that you are traveling down Interstate 20 on your way to Decatur from Atlanta. You are going 10 miles over the speed limit as you prepare to exit. Just before you enter the exit ramp, another vehicle illegally cuts you off, causing an accident that leaves you with $500,000 in damages.
If a jury determines that you were 20 percent at fault for the accident, your compensation will be reduced proportionately to $400,000. However, as mentioned before, if it finds you were over 50 percent responsible for the crash, your compensation becomes $0 and you may be on the hook for the other parties damages.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
All personal injury lawsuits are governed by a law known as the statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a claim seeking compensation from the at-fault party in an accident. In Georgia, the deadline is set at two years from the date of the accident. There are very few exceptions to this rule, and you should not rely on them before consulting with an experienced injury attorney to make you do not miss the window for filing your claim.
Remember that failure to file your claim before the deadline passes nearly always results in your case being dismissed in court. And with your ability to file a lawsuit destroyed, the at-fault party will have little incentive to negotiate with you fairly during out-of-court settlement talks. To avoid this, speak to personal injury attorney Shequel Ross as soon as possible after being involved in an accident.
Contact a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
A significant component of the compensation you may receive in a personal injury lawsuit should reflect the pain and suffering you experience as a result of the accident. At SHElaw firm®, we have extensive experience helping Georgians injured by no fault of their own to enforce their right to full and fair compensation under the law.
If you are reading this page because you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, we are truly sorry for the harm you have suffered and hope that you will give us the opportunity to fight for you. Call us or contact us online if you would like to talk with us about your situation. There is no charge to speak with us about your case and remember:
SHE DOESN’T LOSE!