Quantifying Pain And Suffering In Personal Injury Cases

It is extremely difficult to quantify damages in a personal injury case. While medical bills can be totalled and lost wages calculated, trying to calculate damages for pain and suffering is a different matter. When one is out of work for months at a time suffering from back pain, as an example, the question is: how does one go about trying to determine what would constitute fair and reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering attendant to the injury? The longer one suffers, the greater the damage. The more excruciating the pain, the greater the damage. Because pain and suffering is subjective, however, it is often difficult to determine what damages would be fair in a particular case.
Many attorneys try to quantify pain and suffering based on a unit or hourly approach. If one is in pain and suffering sixteen hours out the day (assuming sleep for the other eight hours), what would constitute fair compensation for the extent of the pain and suffering: $10.00 an hour, $20.00 an hour, minimum wage or some other calculation?
In Georgia, in a personal injury context, the measure of damages for pain and suffering is the “enlightened conscience” of fair and impartial jurors. In other words, there is no measuring stick, per se, but rather a jury must determine money damages based on the totality of the circumstances involved in a particular case, that is what they believe would constitute fair and reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering element of a personal injury case.
In order to maximize damages in a personal injury case, it is important to show what the plaintiff could do before and after the injury, the extent of the disabling injury involved, the impact on daily life and the extent to which the victim was innocent in the premises and had the pain and suffering subjected upon them due to the negligence of the defendant. Oftentimes, the greater the liability the more willing the jury is to be generous in its pain and suffering calculations.
Because all personal injury cases are different, obviously, it is necessary for counsel for any client to carefully evaluate all of the factors involved in determining how to best present their client’s case to a jury in the event it cannot be settled. While reasonable minds may always differ as to what is fair and reasonable compensation in a particular case, if the case cannot be settled, the matter will have to be presented to a jury, who will then use their “enlightened consciences” to make such an award.

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