Types of Damages Associated with a Personal Injury Case

Personal Injury Case: If you have ever suffered an injury from a fender bender or trip and fall, it can be surprising at how fast the bills pile up!


If you have ever suffered an injury from a fender bender or trip and fall, it can be surprising at how fast the bills pile up! Even something as seemingly trivial as a broken toe can put a serious dent in your bank account. That is when you should consider consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney such as Guajardo & Marks to fight for your proper reimbursement from the party that did you wrong. What can you actually be paid for when filing a personal injury case? You might be surprised and relieved that you asked.

Two Common Types: Special and General Damages

You may have heard of awards for pain and suffering or medical bills, but that is not what they are called by the courts. In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff, aka the injured party, can be awarded General and/or Special Damages. General Damages are for monetary settlements that are not specifically associated with a physical or direct cost incurred by the injury.  Special Damages are for costs that are specifically associated with this particular incident–which will be special to each case.

What is included with Special Compensatory Damages?

Special Damages will include any cost or bill that is paid out as a direct result of the incident.  For example, it may cover your medical bills including physical and mental therapies pertaining to the trauma. Lost wages, your household expenses while you are out of work, special expenses for crutches, wheelchair ramps, or a hospital bed. Other types of losses include if you had to cancel a vacation or even future wages that a permanent disability will cause you to lose. If you face years of medical care, that can be projected and included in the Special Damages section.

What is included with General Compensatory Damages?

General Damages are much harder to calculate and will vary widely from case to case. This is the section that covers pain and suffering or the loss of a companion.  If you were publicly humiliated or embarrassed. Are your children suffering due to your new disability? Some insurance companies maintain flat rates for compensation for a particular type of injury, which can mean that your specific injury can be undervalued if you don’t have somebody fighting in your corner. Since general damages are highly subjective, it is crucial to have an attorney that is experienced in these types of cases speaking for you.

Does it matter what kind of personal injury I have?

Yes, your compensation will depend on the severity of the injury and how long it will affect your life.  A twisted ankle that is a result of poor sidewalk maintenance will not see the same substantial payment as the loss of a limb due to a car or workplace injury. The purpose of a personal injury case is to make you as close to whole as possible, minimizing the impact that some kind of negligence made to your life. No two personal injury cases will have the same result. Many common injury cases are settled for several thousand dollars, while rare severe instances can be awarded millions.

Who typically pays for the damages in a personal injury case?

The vast majority of personal injury cases are handled between the plaintiff, their attorney, and the insurance company of the defendant. This can include car accidents, medical mistakes, trip and falls, and workplace incidents. If the defendants have no insurance, then the compensation would be provided by the individual or company.  When you receive payment from an insurance agency through the settlement process, there is no admission or assignment of guilt. Only a suit that goes to trial will have a public finding of responsibility on record.

What are punitive damages?

Punitive damages are rarely issued for most personal injury cases. Punitive damages are awarded by the judge or jury where egregious negligence or intent was involved in causing the injury.  The purpose of punitive findings is to discourage a repeat performance by the defendants and to punish them for their part in the injury. These damages, when awarded, are above and beyond the General and Special damages for that particular suit.

The Temptation of Accepting the Check

If you have been injured in a car accident or trip and fall, and their insurance company is offering you a check, it is always wise to stop and take a deep breath first. These fast and easy checks often come with a binding agreement that says you will not seek more compensation in the future, even if you are still recovering.

Ultimately, if you are facing the loss of work and multiple medical bills, it is wise to contact a personal injury attorney like Guajardo & Marks. They will know the questions to ask and how to get you all the damages you deserve from General to Special to Punitive.

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