In cases of personal injury, "damages" is a term that refers to the sum of money awarded to a plaintiff who suffered an injury. Damages are categorized as "special" or "general" damages. In this article, we will look at how special damages differ from general damages.
As the name suggests, general damages in a personal injury claim are those awarded for the actual injury caused to a person. Types of general damages include physical impairment and/or disfigurement, physical pain and suffering, injuries resulting in a lower quality of life, mental anguish etc.
When it comes to calculating claims for special damages, a personal injury solicitor will look at whether the plaintiff should be compensated for out-of-pocket expenses that have arisen due to the actions of the defendant. So whilst general damages will cover the physical injury, special damages relate to your additional costs incurred due to the incident or accident ie loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses, costs of damages to a vehicle, etc
A figure is typically arrived at by totalling up all of the plaintiff’s financial losses that have occurred as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
This total figure for financial losses must be proven by your personal injury solicitor and so they will ask you to ensure you keep receipts for all out of pocket expenses throughout your personal injuries claim. This will allow them to ensure all items are including in your claim for special damages.
Examples of special damages
Medical expenses - Medical expenses in a personal injuries claim can be extensive especially if ongoing treatment is required. The costs of these medical expenses ie doctors fees, consultants fees, surgery costs etc are all recovered as part of a personal injuries claim under "special damages". Even if a plaintiff holds private health insurance, these costs paid out by the insurance company are claimed as part of a personal injury claim and refunded to the insurer.
Vehicle - In a road traffic collision the cost of replacing the plaintiffs vehicle comes under the term 'special damages'. Indeed depreciation costs are also included by an experience personal injury solicitor in Ireland.
Loss of earnings. This category can be substantial depending on the personal injury. In Ireland, you can claim for loss of earnings directly after the accident or incident but also future loss of earnings if your personal injury has resulted in you not being able to earn at the same level going forward or at all. Expert reports will be obtained by your personal injury solicitor to ensure they have sufficient evidence to prove this element of your case. Your personal injuries solicitor will obtain accountants reports to prove current and future loss of earnings and may also require a vocational expert report if you cannot return to the workplace and continue in the employment you were in prior to the accident.
Claiming special damages
As mentioned, a plaintiff in a personal injury claim will claim compensation for both general and special damages. An experienced personal injury solicitor will ensure you have the correct evidence in both categories of compensation in terms of medical reports, expert reports from accountants and indeed receipts for all losses so that the compensation received covers both general and special damages for the pain and suffering experienced.
For a more detailed explanation of special damages and to make a claim, speak to one of our experienced personal injury solicitors at our firm today.
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If you would like to discuss making a personal injury claim please contact us to discuss further by calling our phone number: 01 234 0044 . We will be happy to have a no obligation conversation with you to discuss your claim and provide you with advice and an initial opinion regarding your injury, the process from the personal injuries assessment board to issuing proceedings in a case. We pride ourselves in knowing that our clients are always fully informed and advised of all aspects of their case from the beginning when they first speak to us regarding an injury, right the way through to a final award or settlement.
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