General damages include compensation for emotional distress, pain, suffering, and other intangible losses following a personal injury. Special damages are ascertainable damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses. General damages are also known as non-economic damages, while special damages are called economic damages.
General Damages vs. Special Damages
The two primary differences between general and special damages are:
- Special damages have a measurable dollar value attached to them which is not the case with general damages
- Special damages are typically easier to calculate while general damages are not
What Does Specific Dollar Amount Mean?
A specific dollar amount means that the amount of damage is easily calculable. The specific dollar amount is associated with special damages but not with general damages. Special damages are the monetary losses that you may have suffered. This includes lost wages and medical expenses. Other types of damages with a specific dollar value associated with them include:
- Property damage
- Future lost earning capacity
- Out-of-pocket expenses
General damages don’t have any specific monetary value associated with them. These include:
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Impairment or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
These damages are more intangible as compared to special damages. With that said, they come without a specific dollar amount. Both general and special damages are added for total compensatory damages.
The Difference in Calculating General and Special Damages
Special damages are fairly easy to determine since they have a set dollar value assigned to them. You can estimate the total cost of special damages by adding up the bills. In contrast, general damages don’t come with an exact dollar amount and they are difficult to calculate.
For instance, a person suffering severe physical pain following a slip and fall accident is entitled to compensation for the pain. About, there is no simple way of calculating that. This is the reason personal injury lawyers use expert witnesses for helping a jury and judge understand the true value of general damages.
Talk to a Competent Personal Injury Attorney
Personal injury is of varying degrees and types. It takes a skilled personal injury attorney to obtain maximum compensation for their clients. The proven and established legal team at Walton Law has helped countless personal injury victims file successful claims. To set up your complimentary consultation, call (866) 338-7079 or reach us online.