Georgia Court Rules on Relevance of Accident Victim’s Pregnancy to Her Pain and Suffering Claim

When an individual passes away after an accident, it can be extremely difficult for their family. It can be even more difficult when that person was pregnant. In these cases, people will often file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party, seeking damages to emotionally and financially recover. One type of damages compensates families for their pain and suffering. In a recent Georgia appellate court case, the court was tasked with determining whether the deceased’s pregnancy was a relevant factor when determining pain and suffering damages. Ultimately, the court concluded that the deceased’s characteristics – including her pregnancy – were relevant to the determination of damages.

In the recent case, a woman filed a lawsuit after her daughter, husband, and grandchild were killed in a car accident caused by the defendant. The plaintiff’s daughter had been pregnant and was on her way home from the doctor when she was killed in the accident. Additionally, the daughter had been on the phone with her mother during the accident. Because of this, the plaintiff heard her daughter scream moments before the accident that took her daughter’s life. At trial, evidence regarding the daughter’s state of mind during the accident – including the fact that she was pregnant – was evaluated when the jury awarded the plaintiff damages for the pain and suffering her daughter endured before being killed in the accident. The defendant appealed, arguing this evidence should not have been considered by the jury.

In Georgia, damages can be awarded for a person’s pain and suffering as the accident occurs, including being aware of their imminent death. The fright, shock, and mental suffering experienced by individuals during these accidents can be considered when the jury determines damages.

The defendant argued on appeal that the evidence about the daughter’s pregnancy was prejudicial and not relevant when evaluating pain and suffering. However, the court determined that evidence regarding the daughter’s state of mind – including that she was pregnant and riding in the car with her husband and child – was relevant to her fright and mental suffering before the impact of the car. This evidence indicated the daughter knew the crash was imminent, so background evidence about the daughter’s situation in life could help the jury to determine the amount of emotional anguish she suffered.

Because evidence and testimony about the daughter’s pregnancy was relevant to the daughter’s state of mind and her suffering, the appellate court denied the defendant’s motion to disregard such evidence.

Wrongful death damages – like this Georgia appellate court claim – often hinge on providing specific facts about the deceased and any suffering they may have endured. Thus, individuals considering bringing a wrongful death lawsuit should first consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

Have You Lost a Loved One in a Georgia Accident?

If your loved one has passed away in a Georgia car accident caused by another’s negligence, contact the wrongful death attorneys at McAleer Law. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling wrongful death and personal injury claims, and have obtained significant amounts of compensation for our clients. We recognize how important these claims are to you and your family, to help you emotionally and financially recover from the accident. We will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our firm, contact us today at 404-622-5337.