What Are Special Damages in Personal Injury Cases? | Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys
Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when a person is injured due to the negligence of another party. These can involve motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall incidents, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases.
Different types of compensation can be sought when filing a personal injury claim, including special damages.
These are economic damages that are directly linked to a personal injury case. They are also referred to as out-of-pocket expenses or tangible losses.
Unlike general damages, which are typically subjective, special damages are easy to calculate and document through receipts, invoices, or bills.
Also, special damages can include expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, damaged property, and other monetary losses that resulted from the injuries caused by the defendant's negligence.
Determining Special Damages in a Personal Injury Claim
Special damages refer to the tangible losses that result from personal injury. They can be calculated explicitly, and they cover all the expenses the victim incurred due to an injury caused by someone else's negligence.
Such damages are compensatory, meaning they aim to reimburse the plaintiff for the financial losses they suffered due to the accident.
This includes medical treatment, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and any other medical care required because of the injury.
On the other hand, this covers the wages and earnings the victim lost due to an inability to work resulting from their injuries.
These expenses are incurred as a direct result of the injury. They may include transportation costs, damaged property, and any other fees the plaintiff paid for in the aftermath of the car accident.
Future Medical Care
This type of special damage is a projection of the expected medical costs the victim will incur in the future due to the injury.
Special damages are easier to calculate than other reparations, such as general or punitive damages.
An experienced personal injury attorney can gather and analyze all relevant documentation related to the victim's injuries. This includes medical bills, pay stubs, receipts, and other evidence of their expenses and losses.
The personal injury attorney will then use this information to negotiate a fair settlement with the defendant's insurance company or present evidence in court.
Can Victims Get Both Special and General Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits?
In personal injury cases, victims can receive both special and general damages. General damages refer to the non-monetary losses that a victim suffers, such as pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Unlike special damages, general compensation is more subjective and is not based on concrete evidence. An experienced personal injury attorney can help victims determine what types of damages may be available in their personal injury lawsuits.
Expert witnesses such as economists, doctors, and vocational rehabilitation specialists can help determine the value of general damages and provide expert opinions to establish causation.
What Are General Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
General damages are essentially intangible losses that result from an injury. These are not based on any specific monetary value but are dependent on the particular circumstances of the accident and its impact on the victim. The following are examples of general damages in a personal injury case:
Pain and Suffering
This refers to the physical and mental distress the victim experiences due to the unfortunate incident. It includes the pain, discomfort, and emotional anguish that the injury causes.
Another type of general damage in a personal injury lawsuit is when the injury has a negative impact on the victim's reputation or standing in the community.
The loss of companionship and the presence of a loved one can be a significant casualty that is difficult to quantify. This type of damage is often relevant in wrongful death cases.
Disfigurement and Impairment
Bodily injuries such as scars or amputations can affect the victim's self-esteem and quality of life.
This is when a victim experiences emotional distress, such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the injury.
On the other hand, this refers to losing the ability to enjoy a normal married relationship, such as losing physical intimacy or the inability to participate in activities together.
Quality of Life
General damages can compensate for any reduction in the victim's quality of life due to the injuries sustained in an accident.
Calculating the value of general damages is not easy, as no specific monetary value can define these losses. Experienced personal injury attorneys in Dallas use various methods to determine the value of general damages, including consulting with experts and using past cases as a reference.
In addition to general damages, personal injury claims also involve special damages. These are easily quantifiable impairments based on tangible losses such as lost wages, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses.
It is the plaintiff's responsibility to provide evidence of these costs to seek compensation for them.
Punitive damages that exceed simple reparation can compensate for gross negligence or willful misconduct. They can punish the defendant and deter them from repeating such behavior in the future.
Claiming Damages in a Personal Injury Case
The value of a personal injury claim relies on the nature and extent of the injuries caused. Calculating compensation in a personal injury lawsuit typically involves a detailed analysis of the plaintiff's medical treatment records, lost wages, and other financial costs.
Expert witnesses can provide testimonies on the extent of the injuries caused and their impact on the plaintiff's life.
It's important to note that in some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
This type of economic compensation punishes the defendant's negligence or intentional act. However, punitive damages are generally only awarded in cases where the defendant acted with malice or reckless disregard for the safety of others.
Plaintiffs should also note that the jury will only consider punitive reimbursement after concluding compensatory damages.
To seek compensation for personal injury damages sustained in a lawsuit, victims must file a personal injury claim against the responsible party. This is usually done against their insurance company with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "What are the caps for personal injury damages in Texas?"
The defendant's insurance company will then investigate the claim and may offer a settlement based on fair market value, which a lawyer can negotiate with based on the appraisal of the damages claimed.
If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to court, where the judge grants an award based on the evidence presented.
Benefits of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injuries can have devastating effects on someone's life. Regardless of the circumstances, suffering an injury can leave victims with intangible losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and the loss of quality of life.
Fortunately, those injured due to someone else's negligence have the right to seek compensation for their misfortune. This is where a personal injury lawyer comes in.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims of personal injury cases seek the compensation they deserve for both tangible and intangible losses. Below are some of the benefits of hiring a qualified lawyer to handle a personal injury claim:
Expertise in Personal Injury Law
This is usually a specialized area and can be complex. An experienced attorney has in-depth knowledge of personal injury law, non-economic damages, and personal injury lawsuits.
They can navigate the complicated legal process and handle the case efficiently and effectively.
Maximization of Compensation
One of the most significant benefits of hiring a lawyer is their ability to maximize compensation. An experienced attorney can calculate the actual value of the injuries caused and determine what kind of award is appropriate for the damages suffered.
This includes valuing tangible losses (such as lost wages and medical costs) and intangible losses (such as pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of quality of life).
Protection of the Plaintiff's Rights
Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying out as little as possible in personal injury cases and will often try to pay out less than deserved. Qualified attorneys will ensure to protect the plaintiff's rights. They will also make sure the victim receives appropriate compensation for their injuries.
Access to Expert Witnesses
Third-party statements can be invaluable in establishing liability and damages in personal injury trials.
An experienced attorney will have access to expert witnesses, including medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, and others who can provide insight into the damages suffered and their impact on the plaintiff's life.
Personal injury trials can be complex and challenging, mainly when calculating damages.
One of the most confusing aspects of such lawsuits for many people is understanding the various types of damages that can be awarded. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys also have information on what the safest riding position motorcycle is.
While general damages, such as pain and suffering, may be harder to quantify in terms of money, special damages have a clear monetary value that can be easily calculated and demonstrated to an insurance company or jury.
Many personal injury cases are settled out of court, but some require litigation. An experienced lawyer is prepared to take the case to trial if necessary and will have the experience and skills to present a strong suit on behalf of the plaintiff.
With a motto that says, "We Go to War for You," Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help victims navigate the legal system and recover damages, such as medical expenses and other costs from the at-fault party.