When you pursue a personal injury claim in Georgia, a portion of your potential settlement will likely include money for pain and suffering.
Understanding how pain and suffering compensation works can be confusing to some people.
Understandably, many clients want to know, How is pain and suffering calculated in Georgia?
Unlike some other states, Georgia has no cap on pain and suffering damages. A potential award could be a few thousand dollars or six figures for catastrophic injury cases.
If you want to know more about the value of your case, contact MG Law.
What Is Pain and Suffering?
Pain and suffering refers to a broad category of damages that includes the physical pain and mental anguish you endured because of the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions—the more severe your injuries, the higher your pain and suffering value.
Consider two auto accidents with vastly different injuries. In one accident, the victim suffered minor neck and back pain for two months.
In the second accident, the victim had a broken leg that required two surgeries and now walks with a permanent limp.
Not taking any other factors into account, it would make sense that the second victim would have experienced more pain and suffering.
What Category of Damages Does Pain and Suffering Fall Under?
There are two main categories of damages in Georgia personal injury claims: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages (also called specific damages) include your tangible and verifiable losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.
Pain and suffering damages fall under general or non-economic damages. General damages are subjective as there is no associated financial loss and, therefore, typically harder to calculate.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages in Georgia?
If you’re looking for a pain and suffering calculator for Georgia, you will find that insurance companies typically use one of two methods to reach a value for pain and suffering damages.
The two options are the multiplier method and the per diem method.
Pain and Suffering Multiplier Method
The multiplier method is a common way for insurance companies to assign a value to your general damages. Adjusters use a specific multiplier, usually ranging from one to five.
One could apply in cases involving minor injuries that resolve quickly and a victim with no residual complaints. Five is typically reserved for cases involving catastrophic injuries.
The insurance adjuster will multiply your economic damages by the assigned number to reach a value for pain and suffering. It’s easier to understand this process when looking at some pain and suffering multiplier examples.
Consider a minor rear-end accident where the victim had minor whiplash and back pain. They were treated by a chiropractor for six weeks and returned to their pre-accident condition with no complaints.
If the insurance company agrees to their economic damages of $2,000, the adjuster might use a multiplier of three for pain and suffering, resulting in $6,000 in non-economic damages and an overall settlement amount of $8,000.
Now, look at a dog bite victim who sustained a severe wound that became infected. The victim required wound treatment and needed two scar revision surgeries. The victim’s bite was on the face, leaving them permanently disfigured.
Their damages total $100,000. If you use a multiplier of five, their general damages could be as high as $500,000, making their case worth $600,000.
Per Diem Method
The second option for calculating pain and suffering damages in Georgia is to use the per diem method.
This option means assigning a specific dollar amount to every day the victim had pain or underwent medical treatment. The dollar amount usually corresponds to an average of what the victim was earning before the accident.
Consider a victim in pain for 60 days and made $200 a day before the accident. The adjuster might argue that the maximum pain and suffering is $12,000.
What Factors Influence Pain and Suffering?
The severity of the victim’s injuries plays a role in determining the value of general damages.
Some other factors that could impact your potential general damages include:
- How much your injuries affected your daily life and ability to enjoy your usual activities;
- How the injury impacted your career and ability to work;
- The level of disruption to your family life and distress the accident caused your loved ones;
- The pain levels associated with your injuries; and
- Whether the injuries resulted in depression, anxiety, fear, or stress.
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. If you share a percentage of fault for the accident, your pain and suffering damages could be less.
If you are more than 50% or more at fault, Georgia’s negligence laws will bar you from recovering any compensation.
Contact Our Lawyers
If you are searching online for how is pain and suffering calculated in a Georgia personal injury claim, contact MG Law.
Let us explain your potential settlement value and how to prove your pain and suffering damages. We have years of experience assisting injured Georgia clients just like you.
Our legal team will work tirelessly to build a solid case and provide evidence that supports your claim for the maximum pain and suffering settlement amount.