What Are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

If you hear or read about a personal injury lawsuit in California on any platform, you will likely hear about someone who was hurt because of another’s negligence. Once the personal injury case has been won, damages can then be compensated. Personal injury lawyers specialize in understanding what types of damage fall under the special damage category. Identifying what types of damage fall under the special damage category requires extensive experience in the area. Senate Bill 447 (“SB 447”) seeks to amend California law to allow the recovery of monetary compensation for pain and suffering in cases of wrongful death. The legislation must be approved by the Governor once the Assembly approves the changes.

Compensation for Damages:

The number of damages awarded to any victim in such cases is usually decided by a jury. Special damage and general damage are two different types of damage. They have very different meanings because each type of damage has a different value.

Special Damages:

The term special damages refer to out-of-pocket expenses or any other ancillary costs incurred due to the defendant’s negligence. Damages incurred as a result of monetary losses are sometimes regarded as economic damages. In addition to compensating the victim, special damages have the purpose of placing the victim in the position they would be in if their injuries had not occurred. Special damages in a personal injury claim are typically based on the fair market value during the time of the accident. Special damages include the following:
  • Unpaid wages
  • Health care expenses
  • Intangible losses
  • Costs of replacing or repairing the property
  • Losses associated with minimizing liabilities
  • Related to personal care
  • Costs associated with disabilities
  • Funeral expenses for a deceased loved one
A personal injury lawsuit in California must clearly define every type of special damage before the jury begins deliberating about it. These types of damages are easy to calculate and assign a monetary value to.

General Damages:

Damages of this nature refer to items for which monetary value cannot be assigned and include examples such as:
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
It is easier for insurance companies to attribute special damage because the type of damage is more specific. For example, medical bills and payslips are easier to document since they are verifiable by their monetary value. However, due to the fact that general damages do not incorporate any cash outflow, it is complex to accurately determine their value.

Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits in California Involving Damages:

There are a variety of circumstances under which injuries can occur. Here are some common examples of special damage lawsuits:
  • Accidents involving motor vehicles
  • Accidents involving slips and falls
  • Defective products
  • Malpractice by physicians
  • Accidents involving motorcycles
  • Accidents involving bicycles
  • An injury to a pedestrian
  • Traffic accidents involving trucks
Medical treatment can be very expensive if you suffer serious injuries, including:

Spinal Cord Injuries:

Adaptation of homes, motorized mobility chairs, prehospitalization for spinal cord injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI):

A qualified accommodation program that provides 24-hour linguistic, physical, and professional assistance to clients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI).


Patients suffering from severe burns often receive treatment at specialized burn centers, far from friends and family.

Broken Bones:

Occupational therapy and physiotherapy may be needed in case of multiple fractures.

Internal injuries:

Possible internal bleeding and/or organ damage can result from internal injuries. It is likely that you and your family are going to be highly stressed while dealing with injuries of this nature. Any existing medical condition can worsen when you and your family are forced to deal with painful injuries and multiple procedures. Since your relationship with your financial future is so important to your health, worrying about it may give you nightmares. However, speaking with an attorney about your case may help you feel more at ease knowing that you are in good hands. There is no reason for anyone to be forced to pay out of their pocket if they have been injured due to the negligence of another.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

The complex aspects of a personal injury lawsuit in California are best handled by legal professionals. You can feel quite at ease with the help of an experienced California personal injury lawyer. The first step towards securing the compensation is to schedule a free case assessment. You need a good lawyer who can mediate between you and insurance companies and who can represent you in court.
Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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