Can you get pain and suffering in Georgia personal injury claims? Yes. Georgia law does allow you to recover for your pain and suffering when you have a physical injury caused by someone else’s negligence. In Georgia you can’t recover for your mental distress or pain and suffering unless there is actually a physical injury. You can recover for pain and suffering even if your physical injury is temporary. Personal injury claims can arise from car wrecks, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, dog attacks, or other accidents caused by someone else’s negligence. The usual damages allowed for personal injury claims include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can also recover for punitive damages when the negligent party is guilty of drunk driving, hit and run, or some other bad conduct that demonstrates a reckless disregard for human life.
What exactly is pain and suffering”? Pain and suffering is the money a personal injury claimant can receive for his or her physical pain and discomfort, as well as, for mental distress, inconvenience, anxiety, and stress. Pain and suffering is not allowed in Georgia unless you have a medical expenses, lost wages, or other pecuniary loss (specific losses that can be easily measured).
Do you have to present evidence of pain and suffering at trial? No. Georgia law allows the jury to presume that there is pain and suffering whenever there is a physical injury from an accident. You don’t have to even present evidence of pain and suffering to ask a jury to award it. However, presenting evidence supporting your pain and suffering is always a good idea since the jury normally needs to know specific examples to help them determine how much pain and suffering should be awarded.
What are the best ways to establish pain and suffering? Attorney Richard Griffin and the Griffin Law Firm often utilize the following methods to establish pain and suffering:
- Demand letters: We often include specific examples of how the injuries negatively impacted our client’s life in our demand letters or settlement packages we send the adjuster.
- Client’s Testimony: At trial we always have the plaintiff describe the pain caused by the injuries and explain how this disrupted his or her life. Again, specific examples are always better then general statements.
- Spouse’s Testimony: The injured party’s spouse often is the best way to allow the jury to see how the injured party’s injuries disrupted their marriage, their family life with the kids, and their work and personal activities.
- Before and After Witnesses: Our personal injury lawyers also like to use “before and after witnesses” to our client’s pain and suffering. These witnesses are often friends and family who have their own unique example of how much stress the accident caused, how the injuries limited specific activities that the injured party use to enjoy, and how the injuries negatively impacted relationships.
- Doctor’s Testimony: Doctors often through medical records, narratives, depositions, and even live testimony can testify about the severity of the injuries, the intensity of the pain, the pain management treatment and prescriptions required, and the restrictions the injuries would cause on household chores, recreational activities, exercise, and work restrictions.
How money should be paid for pain and suffering? The amount of pain and suffering paid by an adjuster or awarded by a jury is based on the facts of your specific case. We are all different. Each of us have a different pain tolerance, and each of us react differently to stress. This means that pain and suffering is not a set formula that is applied to all personal injury claimants. Georgia law allows for flexibility by allowing each specific case to be examined based on that specific plaintiff and circumstances. Ultimately the “enlightened conscience of fair and impartial jurors” being applied to the specific case being tried determines how much pain and suffering should be awarded. However, hiring an experienced and skilled personal injury attorney will make a huge difference in the amount of money you will recover for your personal injury case.
We can help you get the great recovery you need and deserve: Attorney Richard Griffin encourages you to review our firm’s settlements and verdicts to see our firm’s history of getting great recoveries below: