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Types of Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

There are different types of damages in personal injury lawsuits in Georgia, and the damages you recover can pay for different losses. In most personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff can seek compensatory damages, which are intended to provide compensation for losses experienced by a plaintiff. Different types of compensatory damages exist, including economic and non-economic damages. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys can explain the different types of damages in more detail, and we can assist you with your lawsuit when you get in touch with us to find out more about filing a claim.

Compensatory Damages: Economic Damages

Compensatory damages under Georgia law, in general, are “given as compensation for injury,” and “generally, such compensation is the measure of damages where an injury is of a character capable of being estimated in money.” One form of compensatory damages includes economic damages. This specific type of compensatory damages award compensates plaintiffs for direct, financial, and objective losses incurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence or wrongdoing or other liability. 

Economic damages are those for which there is an objective dollar amount associated with the plaintiff’s loss, such as the cost of hospital bills or the plaintiff’s lost wages when an injury prevents the plaintiff from working. Other examples of economic damages include, for example, medication costs, bills for surgical procedures, bills for rehabilitative therapy, and costs for necessary medical devices.

Non-Economic Damages, or General Compensatory Damages

While economic damages can compensate a plaintiff for direct and objective losses, they cannot compensate a plaintiff for losses that are more difficult to quantify and are subjective in nature, such as a plaintiff’s pain or suffering. This is where non-economic damages, which are also known as general compensatory damages, come into play. Under Georgia law, non-economic damages, in general, may be awarded for “physical pain arising from a physical injury” and “physical and mental pain arising from a physical injury.”

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, which are also known as vindictive damages or exemplary damages under Georgia law, are not common in personal injury cases but may be awarded in some personal injury cases. As Georgia’s punitive damages law explains, these damages “shall be awarded not as compensation to a plaintiff but solely to punish, penalize, or deter a defendant.” 

Punitive damages are only appropriate in circumstances where there is “clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.”

Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today

Do you have questions about seeking damages in a personal injury lawsuit? One of our Atlanta personal injury lawyers can help you. Contact Stewart Miller Simmons Trial attorneys online today or call us at (404) 529-3476 for more information.