If you’ve been injured in an accident in Atlanta because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Those costs include medical expenses, vehicle repairs, and lost wages, but you also have the right to make a claim for pain and suffering. Making an injury claim for pain and suffering after an accident can be complicated, and it often requires the help of an experienced lawyer.
Below, we’ll cover what you need to know about what “pain and suffering” means after an accident and how to pursue compensation for those damages.
What to Know About Pain and Suffering Damages
There are two main types of damages you can recover in an Atlanta personal injury claim:
- Special damages
- General damages
The main distinction between these types of damages is outlined in GA Code § 51-12-2 (2018).
Special Versus General Damages
Special damages are specific financial losses with a clear dollar amount, such as medical bills and lost wages. You must have proof of special damages for them to be recovered.
General damages, on the other hand, are not as straight-forward. They refer to suffering based on the victim’s experience. However, general damages must still result from a negligent act, yet do not require proof of any amount.
Examples of Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages fall under general damages. They include factors like:
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical or mental pain and suffering
- Inability to do things you once enjoyed
- Fear, shock, worry, and grief
- Mental anguish
- Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
Legally, there is no set monetary amount for any of these since pain and suffering damages take into account physical and emotional injuries. Money is the only way the law knows of making up for injuries you’ve suffered, so the goal is to award you a reasonable amount for what was lost.
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Pain and Suffering Damages Have No Limit in Atlanta
In Atlanta and the rest of Georgia, there is no cap on pain and suffering damages. Georgia law states that “counsel shall be allowed to argue the worth or monetary value of pain and suffering to the jury” as long as the argument is reasonable in relation to the evidence (GA Code § 9-10-184 (2018)).
In other words, there is no set limit to the compensation you may recover as long as its value makes sense in the context of your damages. This can be good news for accident victims because pain and suffering damages can be significant. However, it also means that putting a monetary value on pain and suffering isn’t easy.
How to Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages for an Accident Injury Claim
Most courts and lawyers use a fairly flexible system for determining pain and suffering damages. However, many insurance companies have computer programs that try to calculate what pain and suffering damages are worth.
We would not advise trusting the calculations of an insurance company, as they do not have your best interests in mind. Instead, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help with your injury claim. They can make sure any settlement offer you receive is actually fair and reasonable based on your damages.
Multiplier Method for Pain and Suffering
A common practice for calculating pain and suffering damages is known as the “multiplier method.” With this method, the total of an injury victim’s medical bills is multiplied by a number between one and five depending on how severe the injuries are.
For example, if your medical bills were $30,000 in total and your damages were assigned a value of four, the calculation for pain and suffering would be up to $120,000.
If a judge or jury determines your pain and suffering damages in court, they will decide on a reasonable amount based on all of the presented evidence.
Supporting Your Injury Claim for Pain and Suffering in Atlanta
To help you and your lawyer in determining a value for your pain and suffering damages, you’ll need to compile evidence to back up your claim. You can do this by:
- Keeping track of all medical bills, doctor visits and health updates, including accounts of how you’re feeling
- Providing any evidence of how the pain and suffering affects your daily life or prevents you from doing important activities you used to perform
- Getting testimonies from doctors, therapists or other experts about how your condition impacts your quality of life
- Providing your own personal testimony of how you are struggling because of your accident injuries
- Pictures of you before and after your accident injuries
You should also see a doctor as soon as you can after your accident, and be honest about how the accident has affected you. Keep a journal or video diary of how you feel after the accident. Also, call an experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case. They will know how to best approach an injury claim for pain and suffering.
Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer About Your Pain and Suffering Claim for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve been helping injury victims in Atlanta get the compensation they deserve for over 20 years. We firmly believe you shouldn’t have to pay a dime for the costs of an accident you didn’t cause—and that includes physical, mental and emotional damages.
If you have questions about making an injury claim for pain and suffering, call us at (404) 400-4000 for a FREE consultation. We’ll discuss your case and how we can help. Give us a call today, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get started.