What Are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In a personal injury lawsuit, damages fall into two categories: special damages and general damages. General damages include damages to which you cannot readily assign a specific monetary amount: the physical pain you suffered as a result of your injuries or the sense of loss you experienced due to social isolation during your recovery, for example.
Special damages, on the other hand, include items to which you can assign a specific monetary cost. Read on to learn more about special damages in regards to your personal injury claim from our experienced injury accident attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas.
Damage to Your Property
In many types of accidents, you may suffer serious damage to your property in addition to physical injuries. In a bicycle accident, for example, you might have serious damage to your bicycle. In a car accident, you might include damage to your vehicle.
Talk to an attorney about the damage to your property you can claim as a result of your accident, since it can vary based on the type of accident you suffered and what damage you faced. You will need to showcase the actual cost of repairing or replacing your property to claim it as part of your personal injury lawsuit.
Many people cannot work due to complications suffered as a result of a serious accident. You cannot work, for example, while you remain hospitalized following a spinal cord injury, nor can you complete your usual job responsibilities while suffering from a traumatic brain injury that prevents you from focusing and concentrating on the task in front of you. Minor injuries can also prevent you from completing your usual job responsibilities and leave you with time off work: a broken arm, for example, could prevent you from typing, while a broken leg can prevent you from performing manual labor.
Those lost wages can cause significant economic distress and financial trouble as you navigate life after your accident. Many accident victims, for example, find they can’t pay their normal bills because they cannot work after the accident.
Even if your employer works with you to get you back to work as soon as possible after the accident—allowing you to work from home or on a limited schedule, for example—you may still miss substantial time at work due to appointments, procedures, and your physical limitations stemming from those injuries, including the inability to stay on your feet all day following serious injuries.
Medical expenses often form the foundation of your personal injury claim. Your attorney and the insurance company, for example, may base your compensation for pain and suffering off of a percentage of your medical bills related to the accident.
Your medical expenses can prove difficult to calculate if you do not accurately keep track of all your medical bills associated with your injuries. Those bills can pile up fast, and you may receive multiple bills for the same procedure or treatment, especially if it involves multiple caregivers or you must go back for repeat treatments. Keep track of all your medical expenses in one place, and talk to your attorney if you have trouble putting together a full account of your medical expenses. You may need to include:
Transport away from the scene of the accident alone can cost as much as $1,200 plus mileage. For individuals with serious injuries, whether you suffered your injuries in an auto accident, a slip and fall, or on a construction site, ambulance transport may offer the only option for a safe trip to the hospital.
Emergency Treatment Costs.
After your accident, you may need treatment in an emergency room or an urgent care facility. Some injuries even require emergency surgery to help save your life.
Tests and Scans
If you have a broken bone, you may need x-rays to help diagnose those injuries. If you have more serious injuries, you may need ongoing tests, both to diagnose your initial injuries and to continue to provide vitally-needed treatment as healing progresses.
Many serious injuries will require ongoing treatment, including multiple follow-up visits with your doctors.
The cost of ongoing hospitalization can add up quickly. The longer your stay in the hospital, especially if you end up in the ICU, the more your medical costs will grow. You may also need to consider the cost of a stay in a long-term care facility, especially if you require more treatment and care than you can get at home.
Some types of injuries require in-home care for you to maximize your treatment. You may need a nurse to come by and visit your home daily, or you may need ongoing home care. For example, victims with traumatic brain injury may need someone to stay with them round the clock to prevent them from making dangerous decisions, especially in the immediate aftermath of their injuries.
Many injuries require substantial, ongoing therapy for the victim to make a full recovery. You may need to go through physical, occupational, and even psychological therapy to help you achieve the best possible recovery from your injuries. Therapy bills can add up substantially, especially if you need long-term therapy for your injuries.
Durable Medical Equipment
Following your injuries, you may need durable medical equipment to provide you with a greater deal of independence or to make it easier for you to get around. Durable medical equipment may include items like crutches and braces, which can make it easier for you to maintain some mobility after serious injuries, or items like a hospital bed for your home, which can make you more independent despite your injuries.
Many injuries may require you to make modifications to your home to accommodate your losses. If you need a wheelchair after spinal cord injuries, for example, you may need to install a wheelchair ramp, widen your doorways, or change the height of counters in your kitchen. Sometimes, you can include some of those home modification costs as part of your claim.
Have Questions About Special Damages?
Do you have questions about special damages related to your personal injury claim? Contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about how to calculate those damages and what you need to include.