Special Damages vs. General Damages in a Personal Injury Case

There are two main types of damages available to a claimant in a personal injury settlement: special damages and general damages. If you have been injured in an accident, it is important to understand the difference between these types of damages and how you must prove each of them. If you hire a personal injury firm to handle your case, they will help you determine what damages to seek. They will also ensure you are keeping record of all the information you’ll need to prove damages in your case.

Special Damages

Special damages refer to monetary losses from the accident. These are calculated costs that can be added up objectively. These damages are a bit simpler to calculate than general damages, which are more subjective. However, that doesn’t mean the insurance company will not dispute the amount you claim. In order to prove the amount of these damages, you will need to keep a tight record of your bills and receipts from the applicable expenses.

These are the 4 main types of special damages:

  1. Medical. These damages include your medical expenses from the time right after the accident through the future, if applicable. If you are filing a personal injury claim for your injuries, you will need to keep a record of all of these expenses. This will ensure you receive appropriate compensation to cover all of your medical bills.
  2. Loss of income. If your injuries affect your present and/or future income earning potential, you are entitled to compensation for that. To prove loss of income, your doctor will need to verify that your injuries prevented you from working.
  3. Out-of-pocket expenses. Additional costs you incur from your injuries might fall under the category of out-of-pocket expenses. Think about the expenses you’ve incurred since your accident that you would not otherwise have had, like the cost of gas to and from medical appointments, and over-the-counter medication. These costs can be calculated as out-of-pocket expenses that you can receive compensation for.
  4. Personal property. This includes the cost of repairs to your vehicle, or the value of your car if it was totaled. These damages can also include the cost of other items that were damaged in the accident, such as cell phones, child car seats and other valuables.

General Damages

As opposed to special damages, general damages are more subjective. However, do not think of general damages as less important. If you have suffered severe injuries, the physical, emotional and psychological distress you endure as a result is very real. Your injuries can cause you to miss out on activities you used to enjoy. They can even lead to problems like anxiety and depression. These damages cannot be objectively calculated quite like special damages, but nevertheless you can be compensated for these issues.

Common forms of general damages include:

  1. Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering can be difficult to quantify. However, the damages from pain and suffering can be determined by looking at the type of injury sustained and the duration of the injury. Pain and suffering damages pertain to past, present and future pain and suffering. These damages vary and depend on the type of treatment you receive, the medication you are prescribed and the intensity of your recovery.
  2. Emotional distress. This category includes psychological and emotional distress caused by the accident, including anxiety, PTSD and depression. The level of your emotional distress is usually determined by a mental health professional.
  3. Loss of enjoyment. If your injuries deter you from activities you used to enjoy, you will also qualify for loss of enjoyment. Activities can include hobbies, recreational and any other activity you can no longer enjoy due to your injuries.

Calculating the damages from your accident can be a challenging task. However, your personal injury attorney will be able to help you with this process. They will help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

“Our firm is here to help our clients through every step of the process, including calculating damages and seeking appropriate compensation for their injuries,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.

Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.

DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.

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