There are two main types of damages you can recover from in your Georgia personal injury claim. They are economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages- otherwise known as special damages- are essentially damages you can put a dollar figure on. These are typically past medical bills and lost wages. Future medical bills and lost wages fall under this category as well, assuming they can be proven.
Non-economic damages are commonly known as general damages. You cannot put a dollar figure on these types of damages. This is basically your “pain and suffering” damages and are awarded based on the “enlightened conscience of the jury.”
In a case with more substantial physical injuries- particularly a surgery case- this number is often the larger number. Whereas the special damages number is often agreed upon, the general damages number (i.e., a fair amount for how much you have suffered) is usually a big bone of contention.
Although rare, there can be instances of punitive damages. These type of damages are meant to punish or deter rather than compensate (both economic and non-economic damages are considered compensatory).
Per O.C.G.A. §51-12-5.1(b), punitive damages may be awarded only in such tort actions which it is proven by 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 the consequences.”Punitive damages are taxable as income, unlike compensatory damages.
By Peter Bricks