2021 Georgia Code
Title 51 - Torts
Chapter 12 - Damages
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 51-12-4. Damages Given as Compensation for Injury; Measure of Damages Generally; Nominal Damages

Universal Citation: GA Code § 51-12-4 (2021)

Damages are given as compensation for injury; generally, such compensation is the measure of damages where an injury is of a character capable of being estimated in money. If an injury is small or the mitigating circumstances are strong, nominal damages only are given.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 2997; Code 1868, § 3010; Code 1873, § 3065; Code 1882, § 3065; Civil Code 1895, § 3905; Civil Code 1910, § 4502; Code 1933, § 105-2001.)

Law reviews.

- For article, "The Torok Tort: Recovery for Abusive Litigation," see 23 Ga. St. B. J. 84 (1987). For article, "Pre-Impact Pain and Suffering," see 26 Ga. St. B. J. 60 (1989). For article, "The Discount Rate in Georgia Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Damage Calculations," see 13 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 431 (1997). For annual survey of product liability law, see 58 Mercer L. Rev. 313 (2006). For article, "The Experiential Future of the Law," see 60 Emory L.J. 585 (2011). For note, "A Single Symbolic Dollar: How Nominal Damages Can Keep Lawsuits Alive," see 52 Ga. L. Rev. 935 (2018). For comment on Burnett v. Western & A.R.R., 79 Ga. App. 530, 54 S.E.2d 357 (1949), see 12 Ga. B. J. 211 (1949). For comment on Padgett v. Williams, 82 Ga. App. 509, 61 S.E.2d 676 (1950), see 13 Ga. B. J. 339 (1951).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

ANALYSIS

  • General Consideration
  • Measure of Damages Applicable to Specific Cases
  • Collateral Source Rule
  • Profits
  • Evidence
  • Jury Instructions

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 22 Am. Jur. 2d, Damages, § 15 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 25 C.J.S., Damages, §§ 3 et seq., 25 et seq.

ALR.

- Measure of damages for destruction of or injury to commercial vehicle, 4 A.L.R. 1350; 169 A.L.R. 1074.

Cost of building or repairs thereto as necessary or proper element in fixing damages for its destruction or injury, 7 A.L.R. 277.

Measure of damages for loss of earning capacity of person engaged in business for himself, 9 A.L.R. 510; 27 A.L.R. 430; 63 A.L.R. 142; 122 A.L.R. 297.

Evidence of intemperate habits on question of damages from death or personal injuries, 9 A.L.R. 1405.

Compensation from other source as precluding or reducing recovery against one responsible for personal injury or death, 18 A.L.R. 678; 95 A.L.R. 575.

Damages for wrongful death of spouse as affected by personal relations of the spouses, or the marital misconduct of either spouse, 18 A.L.R. 1409; 90 A.L.R. 920.

Right to recover for mental pain and anguish alone, apart from other damages, 23 A.L.R. 361; 44 A.L.R. 428; 56 A.L.R. 657.

Damages recoverable by conditional vendee against third person as affected by credit on contract of insurance carried by vendor, 32 A.L.R. 632.

Measure of damages for destruction of or damage to automobile other than commercial vehicle, 32 A.L.R. 711; 78 A.L.R. 917; 169 A.L.R. 1100.

Right of landowner to recover for personal injuries incidental to trespass on his land, 32 A.L.R. 921.

Allowance as damages for conversion of commodities or chattels of fluctuating value, of increase in market value after the time of conversion, 40 A.L.R. 1282; 87 A.L.R. 817.

Applicability of "contemplation of parties" rule in tort action, 48 A.L.R. 318.

Excessive or inadequate damages for personal injuries resulting in death, 48 A.L.R. 817; 49 A.L.R.3d 934.

Pain incident to surgical operation or medical treatment as an element of damages for personal injuries, 51 A.L.R. 1122.

Pecuniary value of services rendered by deceased without legal obligation as element of damages for his death, 53 A.L.R. 1102.

Injury to credit as element of damages for wrongful attachment, 54 A.L.R. 451.

Measure of damages for failure, delay, or mistake in transmitting or delivering telegram in cipher, 55 A.L.R. 1146.

Damages recoverable by owner or occupier of surface on account of subsidence due to mining operations, 56 A.L.R. 310.

Right of one liable for death or injury to have damages awarded in judgment against him paid over to physician or nurse for medical attention given to injured or deceased person, 66 A.L.R. 711.

Necessity of alleging permanency of injury in order to recover damages as for a permanent injury, 68 A.L.R. 490.

Damages for wrongful removal or destruction of fixtures, 69 A.L.R. 914.

"Sentimental" losses, including mental anguish, loss of society, and loss of marital, filial, or parental care and guidance, as elements of damages in action for wrongful death, 74 A.L.R. 11.

Distinction between uncertainty as to whether substantial damages resulted and uncertainty as to amount, 78 A.L.R. 858.

Duty to mitigate damages, 81 A.L.R. 282.

Net benefit or advantage in respect of particular item of damage from personal injury or death as reducing recovery on account of another and distinct item, 82 A.L.R. 1423.

Instruction regarding measurement of damages for pain and suffering, 85 A.L.R. 1010.

Shortening of plaintiff's life expectancy as result of injury as element of damages recoverable by person injured, 97 A.L.R. 823; 131 A.L.R. 1351.

Excessiveness of verdict in action by person injured for injuries not resulting in death (for years 1926 to 1935), 102 A.L.R. 1125; 16 A.L.R.2d 3.

Rate of discount to be considered in computing present value of future earnings or benefits lost on account of death or personal injury, 105 A.L.R. 234.

Damage incident to travel on detour as part of recovery for wrongfully preventing or impeding use of highway, 106 A.L.R. 1305.

Amount recoverable from one liable for damage to building as affected by building regulations applicable to restoration or repair of damaged buildings, 107 A.L.R. 1122.

Determination of quantum of damages for injury to property recoverable against defendant whose wrong concurred with act of God, 112 A.L.R. 1084.

Necessity of expert evidence to warrant submission to jury of issue as to permanency of injury or as to future pain and suffering, or to sustain award of damages on that basis, 115 A.L.R. 1149.

Libel or slander: propriety, where actual damages are not shown, of instructions on compensatory damages which do not embody jury's right to award small or nominal damages, 122 A.L.R. 853.

Measure of damages for injury to land caused by obstruction of highway, 128 A.L.R. 780.

Presumption and burden of proof regarding mitigation of damages, 134 A.L.R. 242.

Amount of recovery in tort action against servant or other person who was the active tort-feasor as limit of amount recoverable against one responsible only derivatively, 141 A.L.R. 1168.

Damages on account of loss of earnings or impairment of earning capacity due to wife's personal injury as recoverable by her or by her husband, 151 A.L.R. 479.

Condition and measure of damages in tort action for fraud inducing loan, 162 A.L.R. 698.

Measure of damages for death in action for benefit of decedent's estate, 163 A.L.R. 253.

Division among beneficiaries of amount awarded by jury or received in settlement upon account of wrongful death, 171 A.L.R. 204.

Measure of damages for injury to or destruction of growing crop, 175 A.L.R. 159.

Credit for upkeep or other expense in computing damages for use or detention of property in replevin, 7 A.L.R.2d 933.

Damages for diminution of value of use of the property as recoverable for a permanent nuisance affecting real property, 10 A.L.R.2d 669.

Loss of profits of a business in which plaintiff is interested as a factor in determining damages in action for personal injuries, 12 A.L.R.2d 288.

Changes in cost of living or in purchasing power of money as affecting damages for personal injuries or death, 12 A.L.R.2d 611; 21 A.L.R.4th 21.

Measure of damages for conversion or loss of, or damage to, personal property having no market value, 12 A.L.R.2d 902.

Validity, construction, and application of statute limiting damages recoverable for defamation, 13 A.L.R.2d 277.

Proof of prospective earning capacity of student or trainee, or of its loss, in action for personal injury or death, 15 A.L.R.2d 418.

Effect of board or lodging furnished to injured person in connection with hospital or nursing care on damages recoverable in personal injury action, 18 A.L.R.2d 659.

Recovery by contractor or artisan, suing for breach of warranty, of damages for loss of good will occasioned by use in his business of unfit materials, 28 A.L.R.2d 591.

Measure of damages for tenant's failure to surrender possession of rented premises, 32 A.L.R.2d 582.

Expense incurred by injured party in remedying temporary nuisance or in preventing injury as element of damages recoverable, 41 A.L.R.2d 1064.

Measure and elements of damages recoverable for attorney's negligence with respect to maintenance or prosecution of litigation or appeal, 45 A.L.R.2d 62.

Receipt of compensation from consumption of accumulated employment leave, vacation time, sick leave allowance, or the like, as affecting recovery against tort-feasor, 52 A.L.R.2d 1451.

Cross-examination of plaintiff in personal injury action as to his previous injuries, physical condition, claims, or actions, 69 A.L.R.2d 593.

Recovery of nominal damages in a wrongful death action, 69 A.L.R.2d 628.

Measure of evicted tenant's recovery for improvements made by him on premises for lease uses, 71 A.L.R.2d 1104.

Measure of damages for destruction of or injury to airplane, 73 A.L.R.2d 719.

Pleading matter in mitigation of damages in tort action other than libel and slander, 75 A.L.R.2d 473.

Collateral source rule: receipt of public or private pension as affecting recovery against a tortfeasor, 75 A.L.R.2d 885.

Measure and elements of damages, in action other than one against a carrier, for conversion, injury, loss, or destruction of livestock, 79 A.L.R.2d 677.

Pension, retirement income, social security payments, and the like, of deceased, as affecting recovery in wrongful death action, 81 A.L.R.2d 949.

Admissibility of evidence of plaintiff's or decedent's drawing from partnership or other business as evidence of earning capacity, in action for personal injury or death, 82 A.L.R.2d 679.

What law governs the distribution, apportionment, or disposition of damages recovered for wrongful death, 92 A.L.R.2d 1129.

Conflict of laws as to measure or amount of damages in death actions, 92 A.L.R.2d 1180.

Recovery of prejudgment interest on wrongful death damages, 96 A.L.R.2d 1104.

Measure of damages where vendor, after execution of contract of sale but before conveyance of property, removes part of property contracted for, 97 A.L.R.2d 1220.

Measure of damages for wrongful removal of earth, sand, or gravel from land, 1 A.L.R.3d 801.

Measure and elements of damages for killing or injuring dog, 1 A.L.R.3d 997.

Amount of damages for killing or injuring dog, 1 A.L.R.3d 1022.

Collateral source rule: injured person's receipt of statutory disability unemployment benefits as affecting recovery against tort-feasor, 4 A.L.R.3d 535.

Right of tortfeasor initially causing injury to recover indemnity or contribution from medical attendant causing new injury or aggravating injury in course of treatment, 8 A.L.R.3d 639.

Validity, enforceability, and effect of provision in seamen's employment contract stipulating the maximum recovery for scheduled personal injuries, 9 A.L.R.3d 417.

Vendor and purchaser: recovery for loss of profits from contemplated sale or use of land, where vendor fails or refuses to convey, 11 A.L.R.3d 719.

"Out of pocket" or "benefit of bargain" as proper rule of damages for fraudulent representations inducing, contract for the transfer of property, 13 A.L.R.3d 875.

Tenant's right to damages for landlord's breach of tenant's option to purchase, 17 A.L.R.3d 976.

Sufficiency of evidence, in personal injury action, to prove future pain and suffering and to warrant instructions to jury thereon, 18 A.L.R.3d 10.

Sufficiency of evidence, in personal injury action, to prove impairment of earning capacity and to warrant instructions to jury thereon, 18 A.L.R.3d 88.

Sufficiency of evidence, in personal injury action, to prove permanence of injuries and to warrant instructions to jury thereon, 18 A.L.R.3d 170.

Recovery for loss of use of motor vehicle damaged or destroyed, 18 A.L.R.3d 497.

Measure of damages for fraudulently inducing employment contract, 24 A.L.R.3d 1388.

Effect of advance payment by tort-feasor's liability insurer to injured claimant, 25 A.L.R.3d 1091.

Pretrial discovery of defendant's financial worth on issue of damages, 27 A.L.R.3d 1375.

Damages for wrongful termination of automobile dealership contracts, 54 A.L.R.3d 324.

Injury to credit standing, reputation, solvency, or profit potential as elements of damage resulting from wrongful execution against business property, 55 A.L.R.3d 911.

Recovery for mental anguish or emotional distress, absent independent physical injury, consequent upon breach of contract in connection with sale of real property, 61 A.L.R.3d 922.

Recovery of damages for emotional distress resulting from discrimination because of sex or marital status, 61 A.L.R.3d 944.

Duty of injured person to submit to surgery to minimize tort damages, 62 A.L.R.3d 9.

Duty of injured person to submit to nonsurgical medical treatment to minimize tort damage, 62 A.L.R.3d 70.

Measure and elements of damages in wife's action for loss of consortium, 74 A.L.R.3d 805.

Recovery, in action for benefit of decedent's estate in jurisdiction which has both wrongful death and survival statutes, of value of earnings decedent would have made after death, 76 A.L.R.3d 125.

Collateral source rule: receipt of public relief or gratuity as affecting recovery in personal injury action, 77 A.L.R.3d 366.

Collateral source rule: injured person's hospitalization or medical insurance as affecting damages recoverable, 77 A.L.R.3d 415.

Right of injured party to award of compensatory damages or fine in contempt proceedings, 85 A.L.R.3d 895.

Cost of future cosmetic plastic surgery as element of damages, 88 A.L.R.3d 117.

Sufficiency of evidence to prove future medical expenses as result of injury to head or brain, 89 A.L.R.3d 87.

Measure of damages for injury to or destruction of shade or ornamental tree or shrub, 95 A.L.R.3d 508.

Assault: criminal liability as barring or mitigating recovery of punitive damages, 98 A.L.R.3d 870.

Per diem or similar mathematical basis for fixing damages for pain and suffering, 3 A.L.R.4th 940.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to, or conditions induced in, sexual organs and processes, 13 A.L.R.4th 183.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to legs and feet, 13 A.L.R.4th 212.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to head or brain, or for mental or nervous disorders, 14 A.L.R.4th 328.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to, or conditions induced in, circulatory, digestive, and glandular systems, 14 A.L.R.4th 539.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to back, neck, or spine, 15 A.L.R.4th 294.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to, or conditions induced in, respiratory system, 15 A.L.R.4th 519.

Propriety of taking income tax into consideration in fixing damages in personal injury or death action, 16 A.L.R.4th 589.

Loss of enjoyment of life as a distinct element or factor in awarding damages for bodily injury, 34 A.L.R.4th 293.

Provocation as basis for mitigation of compensatory damages in actor for assault and battery, 35 A.L.R.4th 947.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of persons engaged in farming, ranching, or agricultural labor, 46 A.L.R.4th 220.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of persons engaged in trades and manual occupations, 47 A.L.R.4th 134.

Excessiveness and adequacy of damages for personal injuries resulting in death of minor, 49 A.L.R.4th 1076.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for personal injuries resulting in death of persons engaged in professional, white-collar, and nonmanual occupations, 50 A.L.R.4th 787.

Validity of verdict awarding medical expenses to personal injury plaintiff, but failing to award damages for pain and suffering, 55 A.L.R.4th 186.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for noneconomic loss caused by personal injury or death of spouse, 61 A.L.R.4th 309.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for parents' noneconomic loss caused by personal injury or death of child, 61 A.L.R.4th 413.

Right of tortfeasor initially causing injury to recover indemnity or contribution from medical attendant aggravating injury or causing new injury in course of treatment, 72 A.L.R.4th 231.

Measure and elements of damages for pollution of well or spring, 76 A.L.R.4th 629.

Validity, construction, and effect of statute limiting amount recoverable in dram shop action, 78 A.L.R.4th 542.

Medical malpractice: measure and elements of damages in actions based on loss of chance, 81 A.L.R.4th 485.

Measure and elements of damages recoverable for attorney's negligence in preparing or conducting litigation - Twentieth Century cases, 90 A.L.R.4th 1033.

Plaintiff's rights to punitive or multiple damages when cause of action renders both available, 2 A.L.R.5th 449.

Refusal of medical treatment on religious grounds as affecting right to recover for personal injury or death, 3 A.L.R.5th 721.

Infliction of emotional distress: toxic exposure, 6 A.L.R.5th 162.

Liability of insurer, or insurance agent or adjuster, for infliction of emotional distress, 6 A.L.R.5th 297.

Excessiveness or inadequacy of punitive damages in cases not involving personal injury or death, 14 A.L.R.5th 242.

Liability policy coverage for insured's injury to third party's investments, anticipated profits, good will, or the like, unaccompanied by physical property damage, 18 A.L.R.5th 187.

Necessity of expert testimony on issue of permanence of injury and future pain and suffering, 20 A.L.R.5th 1.

Sufficiency of evidence to prove future medical expenses as result of injury to back, neck, or spine, 26 A.L.R.5th 401.

Damages for wrongful termination of franchise other than automobile dealership contracts, 40 A.L.R.5th 57.

Valuing damages in personal injury actions awarded for gratuitously rendered nursing and medical care, 49 A.L.R.5th 685.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to head or brain, 50 A.L.R.5th 1.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages awarded for injuries to nerves or nervous system, 51 A.L.R.5th 467.

Excessiveness or adequacy of damages for wrongful termination of at-will employee under state law, 86 A.L.R.5th 397.

Limitation of liability of air carrier for personal injury or death, 91 A.L.R. Fed. 547.

Action in replevin for recovery of dog or cat, 85 A.L.R.6th 429.

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