When someone else’s negligence or recklessness causes you to be injured, you deserve justice and closure, which often involves recovering damages for your losses. Georgia allows three types of damages in personal injury cases – economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic and non-economic damages are commonly included in personal injury awards, but punitive damages in personal injury cases are not as common. Because they are rare, there is often confusion about what punitive damages are and when they are awarded.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages in Georgia

Special damages, often referred to as economic damages, are associated with objective harm that flows directly from an accident, like medical bills and vehicle repairs. These must be proven with supporting evidence showing the total costs. Economic damages are simpler to evaluate because there are directly related costs, thus making it easier to determine what a settlement or award should include.

Non-economic damages, known as general damages in Georgia, are presumed by law and do not have to be proven. They include harm from pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and the like. These types of damages do not have exact dollar amounts that correlate with the harm that was caused, so placing a value on them in your accident claim is complex.

Since non-economic damages are subjective, your attorney will argue the value of pain and suffering in Georgia personal injury cases to ensure the worth is accurately represented.

Punitive Damages Definition

Punitive damages are also referred to as exemplary damages because they are intended to make an example of the defendant. They are only awarded in extreme cases when the person responsible for your injuries acted in a grossly negligent manner. In Georgia, the punitive damages definition is detailed in Georgia Code § 51-12-5.1 as follows:

  • Punitive damages are only awarded when the at-fault party’s actions involved malice, oppression, fraud, or willful misconduct.
  • They are granted in cases with aggravating circumstances in order to punish or penalize the at-fault party.
  • They are not used as a means of compensation to the victim but solely as a financial punishment for the defendant.

Anyone seeking punitive damages in a personal injury case in Georgia should also be aware that 75% of any punitive damages awarded must be paid to the Office of the State Treasurer.

Georgia places a cap on punitive damages, as well. The maximum amount allowed is $250,000.

Assertive Representation in Complex Accident Cases

Punitive damages in personal injury cases can help to provide accident victims with the closure and justice they deserve, but these damages are not easy to obtain. If you were injured by someone else’s willful recklessness or malice, contact Flanagan Law to schedule a free consultation. We are dedicated to helping our clients recover the damages they need to heal and move forward with their lives.

Free Case Consultation