What’s the difference between general damages and special damages? Well, in a nutshell, general damages are intended to compensate the injured party for their pain and suffering, while special damages are meant to reimburse them for any financial losses incurred as a result of the accident.
General damages vs special damages
Most people are familiar with the terms “general damages” and “special damages,” but few know the difference between the two. In order to understand why this distinction is important, it is first necessary to understand what damages are.
Damages are compensation paid to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit by a defendant that has been found liable for causing harm. The purpose of damages is to make the plaintiff “whole” again by putting them in the position they would have been in if the harm had never occurred. There are two types of damages: general and special. General damages are those that are intrinsic to the plaintiffs’ injuries and do not require proof of specific monetary losses. They are often awarded for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and other non-economic losses.
Special damages, on the other hand, are those that do require proof of specific monetary losses. They may be awarded for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and other out-of-pocket costs incurred as a result of the harm suffered.
The distinction between these two types of damages is important because it determines how plaintiffs will be compensated for their losses. General damages are usually much more difficult to prove than special damages because they do not have a specific monetary value attached to them. This can make it more difficult for plaintiffs to recover compensation for their injuries, especially if they have suffered extensive harm.
How general damages are calculated
In order to calculate general damages, the courts will look at the victim’s age, health prior to the accident, and the severity of the injuries suffered. They will also consider the prognosis for future health and any psychological injuries that have been suffered. For example, if a victim has suffered a serious injury which will result in a long-term disability or chronic pain, they will be awarded a higher sum in general damages than someone who has made a full recovery.
How special damages are calculated
The courts will award different levels of damages for different types of injuries. Special damages are intended to compensate the victim for their financial losses, while general damages are intended to compensate for the victim’s pain and suffering.
Special damages can be relatively easy to calculate, as they include things like lost wages, medical bills, and property damage. General damages are more difficult to quantify, as they involve intangible factors like emotional distress and loss of enjoyment of life. In order to calculate special damages, the court will look at the victim’s financial records to determine how much money they have lost as a result of the injury. Medical records can also be used to calculate how much the victim has spent on medical treatment. For property damage, the court will look at repair or replacement costs.
To calculate general damages, the court will consider the severity of the injury, how long it is expected to last, and its impact on the victim’s quality of life. In some cases, expert testimony may be used to help quantify these intangible factors.
What are some common types of general damages?
Most jurisdictions in the United States distinguish between two types of damages: general and special.
General damages are those that arise naturally from the injury itself. For example, if you are in a car accident and break your arm, you would be able to recover for the pain and suffering associated with the broken arm, as well as any lost wages from being unable to work.Special damages are those that are more concrete and quantifiable, like medical bills or property damage.
In some cases, an injury may give rise to both general and special damages. For example, if you are in a car accident and suffer a concussion, you would be able to recover for both your medical bills (special damages) as well as the pain and suffering associated with the concussion (general damages).
Special damages are not always recoverable. In order for special damages to be recoverable, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the damages by acting negligently or intentionally. If the plaintiff is unable to prove that the defendant caused the damages, then the plaintiff will not be able to recover any special damages.