How Do Non-Economic Damages Work in a Georgia Lawsuit?

When people file lawsuits, part of the motivation for doing so is the prospect of being awarded damages to offset the effects of their accident. The first things people probably think of when they think of “damages” are stuff like medical expenses or property damage. However, you can get compensated for so much more than that when you file your claim. There are many types of damages you can seek in personal injury cases. “Economic” damages for things like expenses you’ve incurred are only one of them. You can also seek “non-economic” damages when you file your lawsuit.

Non-economic damages are awarded for “non-pecuniary” injuries in Georgia. This covers a wide range of things, from pain and suffering to emotional injuries to anxiety and beyond. Figuring out the value of these things can be tricky, so it is best to let a legal professional handle it.

To start figuring out the damages for your case, get in touch with Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Georgia personal injury attorneys by calling the number (470) 287-3070.

Non-Economic Damages in Georgia Explained

Non-economic damages are best defined by comparing them to economic damages. Economic damages are awarded for things like medical bills, lost income from your job, and property damage. The unifying factor for all those things is that they have a paper trail of some sort. You can print out a medical bill, have a record of your salary, or show the invoice you got from a mechanic to the court and say, “This is how much this thing is worth,” when you request damages for it.

Non-economic damages are different. There is not going to be a piece of paper you can point to that denotes its worth. This is because non-economic damages cover things that cannot be shown on a bill or on a piece of paper. Because there is nothing that states the value of these things outright, our Georgia personal injury attorneys will demonstrate their value to the court.

How Georgia Handles Non-Economic Damages in Lawsuits

Georgia defines non-economic damages under O.G.C.A. § 51-13-1(a)(4). The category includes “physical and emotional pain” as well as things like “discomfort” and “distress.” In other words, non-economic damages cover “non-pecuniary” losses.

Physical Pain

Injuries hurt, plain and simple. Accordingly, you can get damages for the pain you experience. This could mean both the initial pain of something like a broken limb or chronic pain brought on by an accident that is going to persist for a long time or indefinitely.

Emotional Pain

Emotional pain can be just as bad as, if not worse than, physical pain. The emotional scars from serious injuries are frequently more long-lasting than physical injuries. Accordingly, you can get defendants to compensate you for these things.

Lost Enjoyment of Life

Lost enjoyment of life is something that can stem from other things that fall under non-economic damages. For example, if you have pain from your injuries that prevents you from doing recreational activities you enjoy, that can be considered a lost enjoyment of life. Similarly, if you are so distressed by the incident that you cannot do certain things, that can also be considered a lost enjoyment of life.


Sadly, many injuries leave people disfigured. In the legal sense, “disfigurement” refers to things that impair the use of a limb or leave permanent injury, so the term covers more than just nasty scars that may alter someone’s appearance.

How Do You Calculate Your Non-Economic Damages in Georgia?

Since non-economic damages come from things that don’t always have dollar values associated with them, the question then remains as to how you figure out the value of those things in your case. The short answer is that our lawyers will handle it. The slightly longer answer is that you and our attorneys will have to sit down and determine what a reasonable amount to request in non-economic damages is for your claim. The method that lawyers use to determine the damages you are going to ask for is not standardized, so we will walk you through two commonly used methods to determine non-economic damages.

The Multiplier Method

The multiplier method is the simpler of these two methods. Our lawyers will first calculate your economic damages and then multiply them by an amount we determine to be reasonable for your case to represent your non-economic damages. For example, suppose you have $1 million in economic damages, and our lawyers determine that multiplying it by 3 makes sense for your non-economic damages. You would then be seeking $3 million in non-economic damages for a total of $4 million in compensatory damages.

The multiplier method is most often used when plaintiffs are not expected to ever truly recover from their injuries. For that reason, the amount of compensation you may request with this method has the potential to be quite large.

The Per Diem Method

By contrast, the “per diem” or “daily” method works by having our lawyers come up with a “daily pain amount” that represents the hardships of dealing with your injuries for each day you are going to experience them. You then add up the days you are expected to be dealing with your injuries to determine your non-economic damages.

The per diem method is often used when the plaintiff is expected to be rid of the effects of their injuries at some point in the future. After all, if this method were used for a plaintiff with permanent injuries, the result would be an infinite amount of financial compensation, which no court is going to award to a plaintiff.

Start Getting Assistance from Our Georgia Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Call (470) 287-3070 and speak to our Georgia personal injury lawyers from Rice, Murtha & Psoras about your claim today.