General Damages vs. Special Damages: Everything You Need To Know With Personal Injury

General Damages vs. Special Damages

Finding yourself injured following an accident caused by another person or organization can be a frustrating experience. If those injuries end up being chronic, rather than solely acute, your frustration could extend for years to come. Learning what legal options you may have and what you may be entitled to receiving after going through this event can ease some of your concerns. 

What Is A Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Personal injury lawsuits are quite common, though few people actually have an understanding regarding this civil matter. In looking at what a personal injury lawsuit is, the answer is that it is a civil case one person brings against another person or group after they have been injured and believe the other party is responsible. Generally, the purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to seek compensation due to general or special damages that resulted from the accident.  

Common Examples Of Personal Injury Situations

There are a number of different forms of personal injury that can occur. However, there are a few common examples of personal injury cases that are applicable to daily life. Most notably, these include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Defective products or general product liability
  • Medical malpractice such as surgical errors or a misdiagnosis
  • Motor vehicle accidents between vehicles or with a pedestrian
  • Workplace accidents that worker’s compensation is not sufficient in covering
  • Wrongful death cases when a person dies from the injury they suffered
  • Animal attacks that result in injuries
  • Other incidents related to owning an animal

All of the above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personal injury cases. There are far more situations that may result in a personal injury lawsuit, so speak with an accredited lawyer if you are uncertain whether or not your case qualifies. 

What Must Be Proved To Win A Personal Injury Case? 

Before launching into a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to know what you will be required to prove in order to win. At its core, a person must prove the following in order to develop their case:

  1. The defendant had a duty of care: This refers to a person having a legal obligation to protect the plaintiff and others from harm. 
  2. The defendant breached their duty of care: The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant violated their duty of care that they had. 
  3. The defendant’s violation resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries: Known as causation, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant’s actions were directly responsible for the injuries.
  4. The injuries the plaintiff suffered justify the compensation: The plaintiff must show that the damages the defendant caused warrant the level of financial compensation they seek for damages.

Assuming a person can prove all of the above, they may have a legitimate personal injury case on their hands that they can pursue. 

General Vs Special Damages: What’s The Difference? 

Generally, there are two forms of damages that a person may file for in their personal injury lawsuit. Before diving specifically into each of these two types, it’s important to outline what exactly damages are. These are the remedy that a party is requesting in court for the purpose of making the injured party whole, and these damages will refer to certain types of injuries the person suffered. 

General Damages

General damages are the most common form of damages that arise in a personal injury lawsuit and they refer to non-economic damages. For example, damages referring to pain and suffering would qualify as general damages as they impact the body or mind. Typically, the value a plaintiff requests for general damages is based on a diagnosis by a medical professional. 

Special Damages

On the other hand, special damages refer to economic damages that a person files for. These damages are typically the medical bills are person is forced to pay or various out-of-pocket expenses that a person may have been forced to pay as a result of the injuries they suffered. In a personal injury lawsuit, a person can list both general and special damages if both are present, or just one or the other. 

How Much Can You Win In A Personal Injury Lawsuit? 

Naturally, before diving into a personal injury lawsuit, you are likely wondering how much you can actually walk away with. After all, legal fees and other expenses associated with a lawsuit can be expensive and you’re sure to want to have an indication as to whether or not it’s worth pursuing in court. 

Typically, half of all plaintiffs receive $24,000 at a maximum. This amount can vary drastically based on the type of personal injury case, however, with medical malpractice cases awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars on the low end as an average. Therefore, it’s important to consult with an attorney in your area who may have an indication as to the amount you could be eligible for. 

How Does A Personal Injury Lawsuit Work? 

Finally, after determining what a personal injury lawsuit is and if it’s applicable to you, then you will surely be curious how the entire process works. Below are some of the basic steps you can expect:

  • You will file a lawsuit and there will be an initial hearing to list the details of the case
  • Both sides will have an opportunity to talk and potentially settle, which is how the majority of civil trials end
  • If there is no settlement, both sides will appear in court and bring witnesses to the stand who can testify to both sides
  • Witnesses will be cross-examined, and a decision will be made by a jury or judge
  • If the plaintiff wins, the defendant will receive orders on what to do from the judge. 

Win Your Case Today

While there’s never a guarantee that you will win a lawsuit, an accredit personal injury lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to have the best chance possible. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person or group, don’t hesitate to seek out legal assistance as soon as possible.