When a person is injured due to the fault of another, a court may award monetary damages as compensation for the injury done. This may include
- Necessary Expenses. Hospital, doctor, nursing & medical bills, travel expense, household help, etc., past and future.
- Income Loss. Past and future loss of income of the person injured, but generally not the income loss of uninjured family members. You must have evidence upon which to reasonably calculate income loss. Future income loss is reduced to present cash value. Problems sometimes often arise where the injured person is not employed at the time of injury, or is self-employed in a trade or business and has not yet established a record of profitability. It is very important to recognize that jurors are likely to be far more sympathetic to a person who makes a valiant effort to return to some sort of work despite an injury-related disability, than with a person who they see as "using" an injury to stay out of work.
- Pain & Suffering may include:
- Physical pain.
- Mental suffering, including anxiety, shock, worry, and loss of capacity to work, accompanying a physical injury.
- The only measure of value of pain and suffering is "the enlightened conscience of an impartial jury."
- Georgia does not have a statutory cap on pain & suffering awards.
- Loss of Consortium. The injured person's spouse has a claim for loss of marital society, companionship, consortium & services.
- Punitive Damages. Georgia law requires, in order obtain an award of punitive damages, the plaintiff must present clear and convincing evidence of willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise a presumption of conscious indifference to consequences. The purpose of punitive damages is to penalize, punish or deter the defendant.
- In tort cases generally, punitive damages in Georgia are limited to $250,000, unless the defendant had a specific intent to cause harm. Other provisions apply to punitive damage claims in products liability cases.
- Damages awarded as compensation for personal injury and wrongful death are not taxed. If a settlement is paid in a lump sum, income earned thereafter on the settlement funds is taxed. If a settlement is paid with a "structured settlement" annuity all annuity payments are exempt from taxation.