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What are General Damages in Your Personal Injury Claim?

Posted on September 14, 2022 in

Anytime a person sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual or entity, they should be able to recover compensation, either through an insurance settlement or a personal injury jury trial. There are various types of compensation available in these situations, typically placed into two categories – general damages and special damages. If you are looking to recover compensation after an injury occurs, you certainly need to know what general damages encompass.

Different Types of Damages – Special and General

When a personal injury lawsuit is ongoing, attorneys are typically working to recover a few types of compensation. This mainly revolves around special damages and general damages. Special damages for a personal injury claim include measurable expenses that can be calculated by using bills or receipts that come in after the injury occurs. This includes medical bills, property damage expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket losses, and more.

General damages, on the other hand, revolve around more immeasurable expenses, and we often refer to these as non-economic or painting suffering losses.

Understanding General Damages

As opposed to special damages, general damages are more difficult to calculate. That is because general damages do not necessarily revolve around visible or calculable losses. There aren’t any bills or receipts that an injury victim or their attorney can add up like there are for the special damages mentioned above.

As mentioned, these damages are often referred to as pain and suffering losses, but they need to be explained more in-depth than that. In the aftermath of an injury, individuals can experience various types of physical and emotional losses. These can occur as a result of the accident itself as well as the injuries and the recovery process. Additionally, these types of losses can occur as a result of how the injuries change a person’s life.

It is not uncommon for injury victims to suffer from feelings of stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, fear, and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even though these types of damages are not as visible as, say, a traumatic injury, it is just as important that they are adequately calculated and put into a final settlement or jury verdict.

Some of the main types of losses that individuals seek compensation for when it comes to general damages include:

  • Physical pain and suffering losses
  • Emotional and psychological pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium for a spouse or family members

Calculating these losses can be challenging, but attorneys will typically use a multiplier method to do so. What this means is that they will take all of the economic damages they can add up and then multiply that total by a set number, often a number ranging from 1.5 to 5. For example, if economic damages total $100,000 and an attorney uses a multiplier of three, then general damages would equal $300,000.

An alternative is to assign a dollar amount to each day a person is expected to experience pain and suffering and then multiply that amount by the total number of days. This is called the per diem method.

We encourage any personal injury victim to work with their Denver personal injury attorney to help them adequately calculate all losses they expect to incur as a result of the injury and their other losses.