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How Are Personal Injury Settlements Calculated in Georgia

Written by: Imelda Bouchard

Figuring out how much compensation you might get after an accident can be a real head-scratcher. There are many factors that insurance companies and lawyers weigh when coming up with a final settlement amount.

Components of Personal Injury Calculations

The different types of damages are divided into three main areas: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are quantifiable monetary losses incurred as a direct result of the injury. They are designed to reimburse the injured party for out-of-pocket expenses and financial losses, which include:

· Medical Expenses: This encompasses all costs related to medical treatment, both immediate and long-term. It includes hospital bills, surgeries, doctor visits, physical therapy, prescription medications, and any future medical care required as a result of the injury.

· Lost Wages: If the injury prevents the victim from working, they can claim compensation for lost wages. This covers the income lost during the recovery period and any future earnings lost due to a reduced ability to work.

· Property Damage: If personal property, such as a vehicle, was damaged in the incident, the cost of repairs or replacement is included in economic damages. 

· Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses: This includes any additional costs directly related to the injury, such as transportation to medical appointments, home modifications for accessibility, and assistance with daily activities.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages compensate for the intangible effects of the injury, which are not as easily quantifiable as economic damages:

· Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical pain and emotional distress resulting from the injury. 

· Emotional Distress: Compensation for psychological impacts such as anxiety, depression, and trauma related to the incident. 

· Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If the injury affects the victim’s ability to enjoy daily activities, hobbies, or life experiences, they may be entitled to compensation for this loss. 

· Loss of Consortium: This refers to the impact of the injury on the victim’s relationships with their spouse and family. It covers the loss of companionship, affection, and sexual relations, which can be particularly significant in cases of severe injury.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and prevent similar behavior. These apply when the defendant's actions are egregious, reckless, or malicious. 

In Georgia, they are awarded only in specific cases and require proving the defendant's willful misconduct or disregard for safety. They are generally capped at $250,000, unless the defendant intended harm or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ensuring the awards remain proportionate.

Average Personal Injury Settlement Amounts in Georgia

When evaluating personal injury claims in Georgia, insurance companies often use formulas like the multiplier method and per diem method to estimate settlement amounts.

These formulas help insurers assess the value of non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, which are more subjective compared to economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages.

Multiplier Formula

Here's how it typically works:

Assessment of Economic Damages

First, the insurer determines the total amount of economic damages incurred by the injured party. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and other quantifiable expenses directly related to the injury.

Application of Multiplier

Next, a multiplier is applied to the total economic damages. The multiplier typically ranges from 1.5 to 5, depending on the severity of the injury, the impact on the victim's life, and other relevant factors. For instance, a more severe injury or prolonged recovery may justify a higher multiplier.

Calculation Example

If the economic damages total $50,000 and a multiplier of 3 is applied, the non-economic damages (pain and suffering) would be estimated at $150,000 (3 x $50,000).

The multiplier method allows insurance companies to assign a monetary value to intangible harms suffered by the victim, providing a framework for negotiating settlements.

Per Diem Formula

The per diem method is another approach used to calculate non-economic damages, particularly pain and suffering. Unlike the multiplier method, which multiplies economic damages by a set number, the per diem method assigns a daily rate for the duration of the victim's recovery period.

Daily Rate Determination

Insurers and adjusters establish a daily rate based on factors such as the severity of the injury, expected recovery time, and individual circumstances of the case. This rate reflects the amount considered fair compensation for each day the victim experiences pain and suffering due to the injury.

Calculation Example

If the established daily rate is $200 and the recovery period is estimated to be 100 days, the non-economic damages would amount to $20,000 (100 days x $200).

The per diem method provides a straightforward way to account for the duration and intensity of pain and suffering experienced by the injured party.

Conclusion

Every detail matters, from keeping track of medical bills and missed work payments to addressing pain and how responsible each party was. 

Getting help from a car accident attorney in Augusta is important to navigating these challenges well, making sure your rights are respected and fairness is the goal.

With good planning and the right guidance, you can increase your chances of getting a settlement that meets your needs and covers your losses effectively.

Imelda Bouchard
Imelda Bouchard is the owner of Gov Relations. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Finance​ at the University of Houston-Downtown. Imelda has over a decade of experience working in the finance industry. Following her stint at an international fintech company, she has decided to create a platform where businesses can make use of great business ideas.

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