Non-Economic Damages

Damages in a medical malpractice case compensate you for losses. There are generally two categories of damages in a medical malpractice claim: economic and non-economic. Non-economic damages are intangible damages because they describe the emotional, physical, and mental harm caused by injuries and accidents. They are often referred to as pain and suffering damages.

Georgia tort laws also provide for economic damages. These damages represent the financial losses and expenses you incur because of the accident and injury. Examples include medical bills and lost wages.

In this article, our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers discuss what you need to know about non-economic damages.

Common Types of Non-Economic Damages in an Atlanta Medical Malpractice Case

Common Types of Non-Economic Damages in an Atlanta Personal Injury Case

An accident or injury victim may experience numerous types of non-economic damages. Some of the most common categories of non-economic damages include:

Physical Pain and Suffering

Accident injuries can cause severe physical pain and discomfort. In addition to the injuries, the medical treatment required to treat the injuries can cause severe pain and suffering. In some cases, long-term disabilities and impairments could result in chronic pain.

Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish

Being involved in an accident or suffering injuries is a traumatic experience. The mental anguish could last for years or a lifetime. The emotional distress can be debilitating in some cases.

Warning signs of emotional distress include, but are not limited to:

  • Overwhelming sadness
  • Unexplained pain
  • Withdrawing from people or activities
  • Anger, including lashing out at others
  • Eating and/or sleeping too little or too much
  • Anxiety and fear
  • Lack of energy or always being tired
  • Thinking of hurting yourself
  • Having difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Excessive use of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Doctors might diagnose one or more emotional or psychological disorders, including PTSD and chronic depression. Children and teenagers may display other signs of emotional distress that are age-appropriate. See a doctor immediately if you or your children have any signs of emotional distress or trauma.

Impairments and Disfigurement

Injuries may result in lifelong impairments and disabilities. You may also sustain disfigurement and scarring. These conditions could impact numerous areas of your life, including your emotional state and ability to earn a living. They can also severely impact your loss of enjoyment of life.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life and Diminished Quality of Life

Physical injuries and emotional distress can make it challenging, if not impossible, to return to ordinary activities. You may be unable to enjoy the same hobbies, sports, and other activities you did before the accident.

A disability may prevent you from caring for your own needs or participating in many of the things you did before the accident. Diminished quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life are intangible damages, but they can cause significant harm to a victim.

What Is the Value of Your Non-Economic Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case in Atlanta, GA?

Proving non-economic damages can be challenging. Suffering is subjective. Therefore, we do not assign specific values to certain injuries. Instead, we analyze the factors in the case to determine the extent of the harm caused by the injuries.

Factors used to determine how much non-economic damages are worth include, but are not limited to:

  • The type of injuries the person sustained
  • The medical treatments the person had to endure
  • The duration of the person’s recovery period
  • Whether the person can return to work or perform other work to earn an income
  • The appearance of the person before and after the accident (for example, whether they experienced scarring and disfigurement)
  • The type and severity of impairment and disabilities
  • The extent the impairments and disabilities impact the person’s physical activities, personal relationships, and other activities of daily life

We may work with numerous experts to gather evidence and opinions regarding the extent of your injuries, including medical specialists, vocational rehab experts, psychologists, and others. We also work with you and your family to obtain narratives of how your injuries impact your life. Friends can also submit affidavits regarding how your injuries have changed your life.

Can I Receive Non-Economic Damages if I’m Partially To Blame for My Injuries?

Georgia’s modified comparative fault standard can be found in the Code of Georgia §51-11-7 and §41-12-33. It does not bar victims from receiving compensation for their damages unless they are 50% or more to blame for causing their injuries. Therefore, if you are less than 50% at fault, you could receive some compensation for your non-economic damages.

However, all damages are reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing your injuries. For example, if a jury determines you were 20% to blame for causing a car crash, your damages are reduced by that amount. Instead of receiving the full 100% of the damages award, you would be entitled to 80% of the amount the jury awarded for damages.

If you are accused of contributing to the cause of your injuries or you are being blamed for an accident, talk with an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Claim for Non-Economic Damages in Georgia?

The Georgia statute of limitations for most medical malpractice claims is two years from the injury date, including claims for non-economic damages. If you do not file a lawsuit before that time, the court could dismiss any claim you try to pursue. 

Since there are exceptions to the statute of limitations and the facts in your case can change the deadline, it is wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after an injury or accident.

Learn More About Non-Economic Damages From Our Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorneys

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you can obtain information about non-economic damages and how to file a medical malpractice case from an Atlanta medical malpractice lawyer at Malone Law Medical Malpractice and Severe Injury Lawyers. Our attorneys offer free initial consultations for accident victims and their families. Contact us today at (770) 390-7550.