What is the difference between special and general damages?

August 17, 2009

In legal terms, “damages” are the amount of money you are awarded if your lawsuit is successful. There are different types of damages, and they’re given different names to specify exactly what it is that the defendant is paying for. The two most common types of damages are special damages and general damages.

General damages represent the types of damages that can’t easily be assigned a monetary value, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium and emotional trauma. There is no evidence, such as bills or receipts, of a specific dollar amount, but they are losses for which the plaintiff deserves compensation nonetheless.

Special damages, by contrast, can be assigned a specific monetary value because these are compensation for the expenses you incurred as a result of the accident. Special damages include things like medical bills and lost wages. These are your “out of pocket” expenses.

One easy way to remember the difference between general and special damages is to think of them this way – general damages are the damages that can “generally” be attributed to the defendant’s negligence, such as the pain and suffering that all accident victims suffer. Special damages, on the other hand, are unique (or “special”) to you because no other plaintiff will have the precise amount of financial losses as you do.

If you have been injured in a car accident, we can help you get the full and fair compensation that you deserve. To receive a free consultation from a Texas personal injury attorney at Fears | Nachawati, just email us at info@fnlawfirm.com or call us on our toll-free number at 1.866.705.7584.

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