What are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Case?

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If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, then you may be entitled to various types of compensation. When discussing the types of compensation available to personal injury victims, we often hear people talk about “special damages” and “general damages.” It is important to specifically define special damages and discuss how these relate to a personal injury claim.

Defining Special Damages

Special damages go by a few different terms when discussing personal injury cases. You may also hear these referred to as “compensatory damages” or “calculable damages” or “economic compensation.” Regardless of what these damages are referred to as, these are the types of losses that injury victims absolutely need to recover compensation for. The goal of awarding special damages to an injury victim is to help that person get into a position financially that they would be in had they not suffered the injury in the first place.
Some of the main types of special damages that clients in personal injury cases recover include the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Prescription medications or medical devices
  • Lost income
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Property damage expenses
  • Loss of irreplaceable items

How are Special Damages Calculated?

When examining the list of special damages that are typically awarded in a personal injury case, we can see a recurring theme – all of these damages are generally considered calculable because we can gather up bills and receipts to prove they occurred.

When a personal injury victim or their Long Beach injury lawyer is working to calculate these total losses, they will need to gather up every bill they have received due to medical care caused by the incident. Additionally, they need to gather up pay stubs, tax returns, W2s, 1099s, or any other financial document that can show lost earnings. Finally, injury victims should gather up any appraisals of damaged property or receipts showing out-of-pocket costs caused by the injuries.

All of these will be in order to send a demand to the at-fault party. If the insurance carrier or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement for these damages, it may be necessary for the injury victim to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

How are General Damages Different?

General damages are also going to be part of a personal injury claim, though these are harder to calculate than special damages. General damages are more immeasurable, as they deal with the types of losses that are not necessarily calculable by using bills and receipts. This includes an injury victim’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of quality of life, etc.

Calculating general damages is typically done by using a multiplier method, which means that an attorney will add up all of the economic damages mentioned above and then multiply them by a set number in order to arrive at a total for general damages.

Working With an Attorney

If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, it is crucial that you work with a Long Beach accident attorney as soon as possible. These cases can become incredibly challenging, but an attorney can use their resources to fully investigate each claim and help their client secure total compensation for their losses.