What’s the Difference Between General Damages and Special Damages?

If you were a victim of a personal injury, you may have a long road to recovery in front of you. But you could end up feeling the sting of the aftermath in your wallet as much as your body. Getting hurt in an accident can open up a whole host of costs you didn’t even think about. That’s why most personal injury claims include different types of damages: general damages and special damages. Both function differently, and many claimants need both to help them fully rehabilitate.

Special Damages

Special damages include costs that can easily be located and calculated. Special damages can include:

  • Medical bills. Your medical bills could end up costing a considerable amount. Some injuries require regular visits to the primary physician, physical therapy sessions, and X-rays. You may even have hospitals bills from overnight stays or operations. Some people suffer mental distress as well, and might need to start seeing a therapist.
  • Lost wages from your job. If your pain is so great that you’re unable to work, you could be facing months off without any pay. This can be especially difficult on your family if you are the primary wage earner.
  • Extra expenses. You could end up paying out-of-pocket for items like prescription or over-the-counter medications, or medical devices like crutches, a wheelchair, or a neck brace. Your car could need repairs, and you might be stuck with rental car payments. Additionally, if you had personal items in your car that were broken in the accident, such as a laptop, you will need to pay for repairs or replacements. Legal fees can also be reimbursed through special damages.

General Damages

General damages are a little tricky. Because they are not laid out in actual bills, you have to put an approximate value on them. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can be especially helpful when you’re trying to assess these expenses. General damages can be:

  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression;
  • Lack of interest in activities you previously enjoyed; or
  • “Loss of consortium”: the stress from accident and your resulting emotional reaction may cause your marriage to fall apart.

Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney

The attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC know about the emotional and financial toll an accident takes on people. We can help you fight for compensation that allows you to recover from your injuries and get back to your normal life.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding General Damages and Special Damages, or any other personal injury, please feel free to contact Brian T. Allen at  480.461.5335,  log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.