Difference Between General Damages and Special Damages

Difference between general and special damages Cover

When you suffer a personal injury at the fault of another party, you might be entitled to compensation for your injury. Another word for personal injury compensation is “damages”.

In the U.K., plaintiffs can win both general and special damages. Courts award special damages for injury-related financial losses that can clearly calculated. Plaintiffs receive general damages, on the other hand, to compensate for hard-to-calculate issues like pain and suffering. You can estimate the potential compensation for your injury by using an online calculator to estimate how much your claim is worth. However, to get the most accurate estimate, you should talk to a personal injury solicitor.



Special Damages

Between the time you’re injured and your court date, you’ll incur certain expenses or losses related to your injury. Some types of expenses and losses covered by special damages include:

  • Medical and home health care expenses
  • Replacement of personal property involved in the injury, such as a car
  • Lost wages or earnings
  • Loss of items that can’t be replaced

If you’d never been injured, you would never have spent money on hospital bills or caretaking in your home. You wouldn’t have had to replace your car, other personal property, or any irreplaceable items, such as heirlooms lost in a fire. Also, you’d have never had to miss work, so you wouldn’t have missed out on wages or earnings. Special damages restore your financial situation to what it would have been if these events had never happened.

To ensure that you receive full compensation for these losses and expenses, keep copies of all paystubs, invoices, receipts, and other crucial financial documents. It’s easier to calculate your personal injury claim when you demonstrate how much money you spent to treat the injury and how much you might have earned had the injury never taken place.

Related Article: How Accidents Can Change Your Life (moneystepper)


General Damages

The types of losses covered by special damages can be assessed mathematically. General damages cover losses that aren’t so easy to quantify. Many solicitors and judges calculate general damages according to the Judicial College Guidelines.

These damages can include compensation for:

  • Pain, suffering, and loss of amenity (PSLA). In addition to inflicting physical pain, personal injury incidents can cause significant mental health challenges. They can also make it difficult to enjoy life as you once did, and they can make it hard for you to perform everyday tasks.
  • Difficulty finding a future job. If your injuries make it hard for you to compete on the job market, a court might award general damages to compensate for future financial losses.
  • Loss of a unique career. If you were a professional athlete or had another unique career, you injury might make it impossible to use your talents. General damages acknowledge how this uniqueness contributed to your identity and your place in history.


Making Your Case

When you become aware of a personal injury, you only have three years to seek compensation for your injury.

Difference between general and special damages

The only exception to this rule is a child, who can seek damages for three years after he or she turns 18 years old.

  • Seek legal advice sooner rather than later. Before you talk to a solicitor, start maintaining careful records of all doctor visits, conversations with your employer, information about property repairs, and other vital transactions.
  • Place all paperwork related to your personal injury, including hospital bills and other documents, in a file. If you receive information via email, make sure to print a hard copy of the message and its attachments, and place the papers in your file. Keep your file safe, and make sure that your partner or another trusted friend or family members knows where your file is kept.
  • Be cautious about settling too early. Before accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer, make sure that you know how much your claim is worth. If you accept a settlement without knowing your claim’s value, you might not receive enough money to deal with your medical bills, replace your lost wages, and resolve other expenses.

Related Article: What To Do When An Injury Is Not Your Fault (moneystepper)


Getting Help

Contact a solicitor who has expertise in personal injury law.

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Your solicitor can help you navigate compensation guidelines and research how general damages have been awarded in cases like yours. Although online calculators are good places to begin, talk to a solicitor before you accept a settlement.

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13 thoughts on “Difference Between General Damages and Special Damages

  1. I never thought that I could still ask for compensation in three years. Though I haven’t been caught in any circumstance, knowing the difference between general and special damages is really helpful. Definitely, I would seek legal help sooner. The fresh it is the better!

  2. I agree online calculators can give you a good estimate about your case worth. Most of the time insurance companies try to offer you a bit less than you deserve. It is important to get a free consultation from lawyers related to your case to understand your case worth.

    • Agree with you. They can provide some good estimates but they are not likely to be accurate always. It is really important to consult a good lawyer to get the most compensation.

  3. So it seems like the special damages are the ones that are the easiest to figure out. The general ones are the common ones, but they are harder to figure out. That must be really hard for people to figure out because you can never be sure how much the person is suffering.

  4. It’s good to know that fire counts as special damages. I have never lost anything to a house fire, but I have to a flood. With water damage, I would assume that falls under special damages too, correct?

  5. Some good friends of mine have a cabin that caught on fire during a huge forest fire that happened last month. Luckily it was only part of their cabin that took heavy damage, so they are wanting to get it fixed. This has some great points that I think help them with this process.

  6. This is a great rundown of the differences in types of damages in your personal injury case. It was a lot of help! Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. I didn’t know there was a difference in what kind of losses these were called. Thank you for the explanation. I’m about to call around for some consultations and wanted to know some of the legal speak.

  8. You should always seek legal council as soon as possible. It’s never good to wait, because the more you wait the more info you are going to forget, and the less evidence you are going to be able to get. It’s better to do it sooner when it’s fresh on peoples minds and such.

  9. I like your advice to keep records of the money spent on your personal injury. I know that keeping records actually works. I try to record almost all aspects of my life. It helps me keep track of where I’ve been, and also where I’m going.

  10. I didn’t know that there was a difference between general and special damages. I can definitely understand, after reading this article, how important it is to know the difference. I was in an accident earlier this year, and didn’t hire an attorney. However, I will be sure to hire one next time because I think that it will really help navigate all the insurance processes. Thanks for the tip to maintain careful records of everything. That will help a lot next time as well.

  11. I didn’t realize that you can seek compensation for personal injury for three years after the event. I figured that if you didn’t get a lawyer and make your case right after the injury, the opportunity to make a claim would have passed. Like you said, it’s best to seek legal advice and organize your documents early on, but it’s good to know you still can make a claim for a couple years after the injury. Thanks for the information!

  12. I didn’t know that damages was another word for personal injury compensation. Thanks for the other information about special and general damages. I didn’t know that there was a difference between the two. I learned a lot from this article! I’m going to show this to my co-workers.

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