How Are General Damages Different From Special Damages?

Personal injury lawyers refer to the losses that are suffered by accident victims as losses. By the same token, each attorney that specializes in personal injury lawsuits makes a point of classifying each client’s damages. Some are classed as “special,” while others are listed under this heading: general.

What are specific damages?

Those refer to a specific and measurable loss. A bill from the treating physician could have one number that is a specific damage. That number would represent the cost of that one particular treatment. If the doctor waited until the patient had completed several treatments before sending a bill, then that bill could be used as evidence that the victim had suffered multiple specific damages.

Lost wages would also get classed as this type of damage/loss. A pay stub could be used to show the exact amount of the injured employee’s usual wage. Hence, that amount would be a specific and measurable quantity.

What are general damages?

Those are losses that cannot be described by using a calculated amount of money. The nature of the loss does not lend itself to definition by means of a measurement. Pain is a good example. Even hospitals struggle to describe pain in a precise manner.

If you were to walk into the emergency room at a local hospital, you might see a chart with a row of 10 faces. Each face would be a different color, and each would have a different expression. Hospitals use such a chart to gain a sense for the intensity of a given patient’s pain. If asked to provide hospital staff with a sense of his or her pain, a patient with intense pain would probably point to the face over the number 10, the one with the grimace.

How do general damages create a problem for a personal injury lawyer?

Even if a lawyer’s client has a large number of general damages, that fact might not help the same lawyer to make a strong case, one in which the client’s attorney argues for the awarding of a large compensation package. It can be hard to prove the existence of a general damage.

That does not mean that personal injury lawyers in Cambridge have no way to offer proof of a damage’s veracity. Often those attorneys make a point of finding and hiring experts. The expert then explains to the judge and jury the nature of the victim’s loss/damage.

When victims suffer a physical pain, their lawyers normally contact a medical doctor, and plan to have that professional testify in court. When accident victims have been forced to deal with mental anguish, then their lawyers would be more apt to seek the services of a trained psychologist.