Determining the amount of compensation a jury will award you for your medical bills and lost wages is usually straightforward. If you’re injured in an accident and have medical bills and lost wages, a jury will typically award you those amounts as compensation.
But what is the law in Georgia on compensation for pain and suffering? How do attorneys and juries determine how much to ask for and how much to award in compensation for pain and suffering? Let’s take a look.
Georgia Law On Compensation For Pain & Suffering
Georgia law leaves it completely up to the jury to determine how much compensation to award for pain and suffering. Every case is different and there is no formula or calculator to determine how much compensation in pain and suffering you will receive.
The judge gives the jury the following instructions on how to determine pain and suffering damages: “pain and suffering is a legal item of damages. The measure is the enlightened conscience of fair and impartial jurors. Questions of whether, how much, and how long the plaintiff has suffered or will suffer are for you to decide.”
The judge also tells the jury that “in evaluating pain and suffering, you may consider the following factors:
- Interference with normal living;
- Interference with enjoyment of life
- Loss of capacity to labor and earn money;
- Impairment of bodily health and vigor;
- Fear of extent of injury;
- Shock of impact;
- Actual pain and suffering, past and future;
- Mental anguish, past and future;
- Limitation of activities;”
How To Determine Compensation For Pain & Suffering
How much compensation for pain and suffering a jury will award depends on two things:
- how much it affects your life; and
- how long it lasts.
If you are hurt in an accident and get better after several weeks of treatment, a jury will believe that you have a small amount of pain and suffering and award a small amount of compensation. If you have to have surgery because of the accident and will have life-long pain and complications, a jury will believe that you have a large amount of pain and suffering and award a large amount of compensation.
Juries can also award compensation for future pain and suffering. In determining how much compensation to award for future pain and suffering juries consider how much the accident and your injuries have affected your life. If you’re an active person that likes to exercise and play sports and break your leg in an accident but make a great recovery and are able to resume your lifestyle, a jury will award you pain and suffering compensation for your injury and recovery but probably not any compensation for future pain and suffering. On the other hand, if you suffer a herniated disc in an accident and it will permanently affect your ability to lead an active lifestyle and do your job, a jury will probably award future pain and suffering compensation.
Does The Amount Of My Medical Bills & Lost Wages Affect My Compensation For Pain & Suffering
You may have heard that the amount of compensation a jury will award in pain and suffering is two or three times your medical bills and lost wages. Juries often use the amount of your medical bills and lost wages as a guideline in determining how much pain and suffering compensation to award, but there is no formula that the jury uses and they can determine the amount of compensation as they see fit.
While a small amount of medical bills and lost wages usually indicates a small amount of pain and suffering and a large amount of medical bills and lost wages usually means a large amount of pain and suffering, that’s not always the case.
For example, let’s take a person who’s in a bad car wreck and is taken to the emergency room and has a huge medical bill but is better after a couple of days. That person has a lot of medical bills but not a lot of pain and suffering.
On the other hand, a small amount of medical bills and lost wages doesn’t always mean a small amount of pain and suffering. Let’s take a person who loses an eye in an accident. There’s nothing the doctors can do for treatment and there won’t be a lot of medical bills. However, that person certainly has a lot of pain and suffering as they will live the rest of their life without an eye.