Understanding How Damages Are Established in a Personal Injury Claim

Categories: Personal Injury

blackfin personal injury claim stamp

The purpose of a personal injury claim is to return a victim’s life to what it was like prior to the accident. While this is not always possible in the literal sense, damages can help with the financial, mental, and emotional burdens associated with an accident. The principle behind compensation (i.e., damages) is to put the plaintiff back in the financial position that he or she was in, or would have been in, prior to the accident – and includes looking into the future for possible financial burdens due to the injury.

The Main Elements of Compensation

There are two elements in any damage award for personal injury:

  1. Compensation for the effects of that injury – such as pain and suffering.
  2. Compensation for financial losses that the plaintiff has endured.

Pain, Suffering, and Loss

Compensation for the effects of the injury is intended to compensate the plaintiff not only for his or her pain and suffering, but for the impact that the injury has had on quality and enjoyment of life. The term “loss of amenity” is what is referred to as the impact of injury on the plaintiff’s life. For example, a plaintiff who must overcome a serious injury or suffer from long-term disability has been halted from enjoying life, or even experiencing a quality life.

There is no monetary amount that can truly make up for the loss of someone’s quality of life, but these damages are designed to compensate for the suffering. Georgia law aims to make the victim “whole” by comparing injuries to past settlements and awards in similar accidents – while still assessing the unique factors of the case.

Pain and suffering damages are not as easily computed as compensatory damages like past medical bills, etc. When these types of damages are assessed, the courts will consider the longevity or permanence of the injury itself. For example, a person who will be confined to a bed the rest of his or her life may receive a higher award than someone who will recover in a few months or even a few years.

Financial Losses

This is a form of compensatory damage that is specifically designed to reimburse the plaintiff for his or her financial losses – including those that he or she will endure in the future. This loss can include relatively modest expenses, such as clothing or personal property, as well as travel expenses to and from the hospital. Substantial losses, such as lost wages or extensive medical costs, are also considered in the financial loss compensation package.

Future Financial Losses – How Multipliers Play a Role

The courts will calculate a claim based on past, current, and future financial losses. When they compute how much in damages a person deserves based on future costs, they will often use multipliers – and the multiplier variable will depend on the severity and permanence of the injury.

Some factors taken into account when deciding on a multiplier include:

  • If the plaintiff will have losses over a long period of time.
  • If the plaintiff’s claim for loss of earnings would have been accurate, had the injury not occurred.
  • If the plaintiff was in line or had the potential for a promotion, bonus, or raise in the future.
  • If the loss of earnings will impact the plaintiff’s working career as a whole.

Concerned About Your Damages? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in Georgia

Damage calculation requires skill, experience, and a firm understanding of Georgia personal injury laws. Depending on how your accident occurred, you may only qualify for certain types of compensation. Therefore, you must speak with an attorney to better assess which damages can be included, and the total settlement value of your case. Contact attorney B. Clarke Nash today to explore your options. Schedule a consultation by calling 912-200-5292, or request your appointment online.