After an accident, filing a personal injury claim with an accident attorney can pave the way to being compensated for pain and suffering caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of the defendant. But determining the amount of total damages takes a specific calculation and requires parsing out the difference between "general" and "special" damages. Here is a guide to understanding the difference between the two:
General damages come from direct wrongful action made by a defendant. There is a clear, demonstrable link between something a person did (or didn't do) and the harm it caused a plaintiff. Additionally, it does not factor in if the person at-fault for the injury could have anticipated the injury. For instance, if a car accident is caused by Driver 1 and Driver 2 has a medical condition that makes him or her particularly susceptible to injury — more so than the average person — Driver 1 is still liable for Driver 2's injuries.
General damages can include:
- physical pain and suffering
- physical impairment
- mental anguish caused by injury
- reduced quality of life
- wrongful death (paid to family members)
Special damages cover losses sustained by the injured party — losses that were due to the injury, but indirectly. This includes amounts paid or to-be-paid out of pocket. In the case of a car accident, the damage to the car by the at-fault party would be considered "special damages."
Other types of special damages are:
- repair and replacement of damaged property
- lost wages and/or diminished earning capacity
- medical expenses (past and ongoing)
- loss of unique and irreplaceable items
In the event of an accident, it is important to have documentation of the value of losses. Any medical bills, repair bills or receipt of purchase for lost or damaged items should be collected and submitted to support your claim.
The injury attorneys at The Meyers Law Firm are here to assist you. If you have been injured by someone else's negligence or recklessness, contact us today.