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What Is “Pain And Suffering” In A Georgia Medical Malpractice Case?


If a doctor, nurse, another medical professional, or hospital acts negligently in rendering care, thus causing a patient injury, the injured patient can file a medical malpractice claim and recover monetary damages. In Georgia, the damages awarded are usually compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are divided into two primary categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages compensate a victim for their economic losses, such as medical bills and lost income, whereas non-economic damages compensate a victim for their non-financial losses. One of the most common types of non-economic damages awarded in medical malpractice cases is “pain and suffering.” Below, we discuss the meaning of pain and suffering and how these damages are calculated.

What Is “Pain and Suffering?”

In a Georgia medical malpractice case, “pain and suffering” is the physical and mental suffering the victim endures because of the medical professional’s or hospital’s negligence. Physical pain and suffering arises due to the physical harm the patient suffered because of medical malpractice. It is generally the sensory manifestations of the medical professional’s or hospital’s negligence.

Mental pain and suffering is generally any non-physical suffering a medical malpractice victim experiences. This includes anguish, emotional distress, anger, anxiety, shock, embarrassment, and humiliation. When the mental pain and suffering is severe, a victim may be diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated in Medical Malpractice Cases?

Calculating economic damages such as medical bills is usually straightforward because of the availability of billing records. When it comes to calculating the value of pain and suffering damages, the calculation is much more subjective.

So how is pain and suffering calculated in medical malpractice cases? There is no set formula for calculating pain and suffering damages in a medical malpractice case. Insurance companies usually try to use some form of the “multiplier” method to calculate pain and suffering damages. This method takes into consideration the nature of an injury and the amount of economic damages suffered. Using the multiplier method, an insurance company calculates the value of pain and suffering as being worth some multiple of the economic damages suffered. A plaintiff is by no means bound by the multiplier method of calculating pain and suffering damages. In fact, this method often results in an unreasonable calculation that should be rejected.

If a medical malpractice case goes to trial, it is up to the jury to determine what would be a fair figure to award for pain and suffering. Juries typically do not use multipliers to determine a fair figure for pain and suffering. Juries usually consider the impact of the injury on the victim’s life when determining a fair figure for pain and suffering. Because of this, pain and suffering awards can vary widely among claimants, even when the nature and extent of injuries is the same.

Contact an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you were injured due to medical malpractice and need help recovering the compensation you deserve, contact our Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at Carroll Law Firm today.

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