What Are General and Special Damages in a Car Accident

Posted by Fred Koberlein, Sr. | Dec 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

When you get hurt in a car accident, the compensation you're eligible to receive is referred to as “damages.” There are different types of damages you can receive, and some are much easier to value than others. The more subjective kinds of damage can be harder to value and can result in arguments and stalls in negotiation.

These damages are grouped into two general categories: Special and General, and form an important role in the case. Learn about general damages and special damages in a car accident, what each means, how they are valued, and what it means to your personal injury suit.

Special Damages

The categories of damages may be somewhat reversed from what many people assume. Special damages in a car accident refer to those costs that are obvious and easy to quantify. These kinds of damages are those that form the baseline for your injury suit, and they include:

  • Replacement of damaged property
  • Doctor's office visits
  • Prescription medication costs
  • Medical procedures including examinations and major surgery
  • Costs for rehabilitation
  • Transport to medical appointments
  • Lost wages
  • Lost capacity for future earnings

Essentially, anything with an easily-determined set monetary value qualifies as a special damage.

General Damages

General damages, on the other hand, are those things which aren't quite as easy to quantify and may be far more subjective in nature. There are a huge list of possible damages that can fall under this category, but some of the most common you might experience include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental trauma and anguish
  • Emotional damage
  • Physical disability and impairment
  • Loss of ability to enjoy life
  • Damage to quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium and physical relationships
  • Punitive damages

General damage doesn't have any sort of set value, and usually has to be calculated based on the special damage values in a given case.

Calculating Damages

The total value of a given case is arrived at using something called a damages and compensation formula. Every attorney and insurance company has a different specific formula and different qualifiers for how they'll value the injury, but in general it works by applying a multiplier to the special damage value. This multiplier, from 1 to 5, is based on the severity of the injury and its effects on your life.

Thus, if your total special damage value comes out to be $100,000, your attorney may apply a value of 4 to that to get $400,000 in general damage value, leading to a total case for $500,000. The problem is that on the other side, the insurance company does the same thing. They might value your injury only at a multiplier of 2, and come back with a figure of $300,000.

Working with a Car Accident Lawyer

One each side values the total damages, negotiations take place until each side comes to a figure that is mutually beneficial. In the worst cases your case might go to court, so, we must be ready. To get the most possible compensation it's important to work with a good car accident lawyer. If you're in Florida and need help valuing an accident case, call Koberlein Law Offices for a consultation today.

About the Author

Fred Koberlein, Sr.

Fred Koberlein, Sr. has experience well beyond the majority of attorneys, for your case. As a retired judge, practicing attorney, former Naval aviator (both pilot and instructor), he pledges to use his education, experience, and love for helping others to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.


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