Personal injury payouts are divided into two categories, general damages and special damages. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, as well as what is included in a personal injury settlement. A common misconception is that a personal injury payout includes all of your medical expenses. This isn’t true, but we’ll get to that later. First, let’s take a closer look at the two kinds of damages you’re entitled to after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness: general and special damages.

What Is a General Damages Settlement?

The general damages settlement is the amount of money an injured party receives for pain and suffering after an accident. In most states, this is the only type of damages that can be awarded in a personal injury case and is also called “non-economic damages.”

The general damages award is usually the “bucket” that all other damages are based on. It involves the severity and duration of the injury, as well as its impact on the injured person’s quality of life. Economic damages are money that you would have taken out of your paycheck to compensate for your medical bills after an injury, and rehab expenses for injured bones and muscles. The amount of money given in a general damages case also varies based on various factors, including:

  • The degree of severity of the injury
  • The time (short and long term) that the accident happened
  • The legal process that was used to collect the damages
  • Whether a personal injury attorney was involved.

Usually, the best personal injury attorneys will represent you before a trial judge or jury, review medical records, and attempt to estimate what the actual amount you’re owed — according to your personal responsibility. It’s the piece of the puzzle that is triumvirate (let’s think of it as a musical chair). It combines all the little pieces of the puzzle — the severity of a personal injury case, the legal process that was used to collect the compensation, and the amount of money that was actually paid.

What Is a Special Damages Settlement?

A special damages settlement is an out-of-court settlement in which a plaintiff (the person suing) agrees to accept a sum of money from a defendant (the person being sued) in exchange for giving up the right to seek specific monetary damages at trial.That’s why you sometimes see settlement letters for medical expenses, home repairs, personal injury lawyer fees, and lost wages.

High profile settlements have made this type of settlement a cornerstone of personal injury law. They include things like fixing your car’s brakes when you were wrongfully injured, dealing with your medical expenses after your house was destroyed by an uninsured driver, and even a payment to you for everything you’ve lost due to the accident.

Ultimately, it’s a lawyer who will be able to answer all your questions. Contact us today to start your consultation.