What is Recoverable as “Pain and Suffering”?
Victims of negligence can have their lives impacted in numerous ways by a physical injury. In most cases, the medical bills and physical pain make up only a fraction of the plaintiff’s total legal recovery. Georgia appellate courts have held that no precise formula may be used to measure a plaintiff’s pain and suffering. Instead, this element of damages is determined by impartial jurors in their “enlightened conscience.” In making this determination, however, the jury is permitted to consider the following: (1) the extent and duration of physical pain; (2) the extent and duration of mental suffering; (3) loss of vigor; (4) loss of peace and happiness; (5) decreased ability to work; (6) decreased earning capacity; (7) loss of powers or mental faculties; (8) scars and disfigurement; and (9) shortening of life from worry about the injuries. The same physical injury can impact two different plaintiffs very differently, resulting in widely varying damages for each plaintiff. Therefore, each plaintiff’s case must be evaluated individually to determine the settlement or verdict value of that case.