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What is the Difference between Special & General Damages

Being involved in an accident that results in personal injury isn’t just painful; it can also be a stressful and emotional experience. You may not even be able to put a real dollar amount on your pain and discomfort but if you are proceeding with a personal injury suit, a dollar amount will need to be established.

When dealing with a personal injury suit there will likely be references to either – or both – special damages or general damages. “Damages” is the legal term for the dollar amount that you would be awarded should your lawsuit be successful.

The two most common types of damages are named special damages and general damages. The different names given to the types of damages are used to specify what exactly the defendant is paying for – whether it be for general damages or special damages.

Special Damages in a Personal Injury Suit

The most common type of “damages” that are listed in a lawsuit is the special damages. The special damages are your “out of pocket” costs. These damages are much easier to calculate because you’re able to assign a specific monetary value on them.

Special damages, or “out of pocket” costs, refer to things like medical bills, lost wages or income, etc. This would be compensation for expenses that you incurred as a result of the accident. They are usually very straightforward and easy to calculate or prove.

General Damages in a Personal Injury Suit

Alternatively, general damages are somewhat more difficult to calculate as they are damages where you can’t easily place or assign a monetary value to them.  General damages would represent things like physical and emotional stress or trauma caused by the accident.

Loss of consortium, or the deprivation of the benefits of a family relationship due to injuries caused by a tortfeasor (or someone found to have committed wrongdoing), would also fall under general damages.

While there can be other types of damages in a personal injury suit, these two are the most common and the ones you will most likely come across. Keep in mind, though, the actual amount assigned as damages isn’t always straightforward.

Receive Assistance From an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Florida

It is always best to consult an experienced personal injury attorney prior to proceeding with a lawsuit to ensure that you receive the maximum amount in damages.

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