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Georgia Governing Law on Damages That a Plaintiff May Be Awarded in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

After an individual has been injured or killed due to the negligence of another party or company, that person or their family member may wish to bring a lawsuit against the culpable party to recoup the losses they suffered because of the injury. If liability is established, the amount they are entitled to will depend on several factors including where the injury occurred, the liability apportioned to them, the types of injury they suffered, and the type of compensation they are seeking.

courtroom-898931_960_720There are generally two types of damages in personal injury cases, special or general. These are then broken down into two further categories:  compensatory or punitive. Generally, compensatory damages are designed to make the injured party “whole again.” These damages, as the name implies, compensate the injured party for the losses and expenses they incurred as a result of the accident. Some examples of these may include property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and loss of consortium. On the other hand, punitive damages are designed solely to punish the wrongdoer. Punitive damages are often significant, since they are designed to deter the type of behavior that resulted in the injury.

Some types of damages have limits, or “caps,” on how much can be awarded. Under Georgia law, there are no caps on compensatory damages for injuries that are a result of medical malpractice. For a brief period of time, there was a cap on non-economic damages, but the Georgia Supreme Court held that cap to be unconstitutional.

Punitive damages, however, may be subject to a cap. A plaintiff may only claim punitive damages if they are able to show that the defendant’s actions exhibited willful misconduct, fraud, wantonness, oppression, malice, or conscious indifference to the consequences. This must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. In these cases, unless intentional harm or drugs or alcohol were a factor, the cap on punitive damages is $250,000.

Johnson and Johnson Ordered to Pay $72 Million in Compensatory and Punitive Damages in Ovarian Cancer Lawsuit

A national insurance journal recently reported that Johnson and Johnson has been ordered to pay $72 million dollars in damages stemming from a lawsuit arising after a woman died of ovarian cancer. The woman’s family alleged that Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder was responsible for the woman’s ovarian cancer. Apparently, the widely used talcum powder was marketed and used as a feminine hygiene product for many years, despite evidence that it may not be safe for this type of use. The woman used the product for decades and was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She died shortly after she was diagnosed, and her family filed the lawsuit against the company in the wake of her death.

In response to the allegations, the company claimed that there was no proof that the talcum powder resulted in the woman’s ovarian cancer, but the jury disagreed. The jurors were instructed to review the company’s internal documents, and after that review they determined that it was clear that the company was hiding crucial information.

After the conclusion of the personal injury lawsuit, the jury awarded the family $10 million in compensatory damages and $62 million dollars in punitive damages.

Have You Been Injured Because of the Negligence of Another Party or Company in Georgia?

If you or a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of another person or company, you should contact one of the dedicated attorneys at Miller Legal Services. As in every state, punitive damages in Georgia are difficult to acquire, and not every case will result in punitive damages. Plaintiffs must meet a high burden, and this is often difficult to do. An attorney at Miller Legal Services can assess your case and help you determine the types of damages to which you may be entitled. Contact an attorney at Miller Legal Services today at (770) 284-3727 to schedule your free initial consultation.

See Related Blog Posts:

Negligent Drivers Injured in Georgia Auto Accidents May Still be Entitled to Compensation, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2016.

State Supreme Court Finds County May Be Liable for Damages after Failing to Trim Bushes at Intersection, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2016.