What are the General & Special Damages in your Personal Injury


As you look into working with a personal injury attorney following an accident, you probably have a number of questions related to the actual settlement itself – such as the differences between the kinds of damages that you may be eligible to receive.

The two most common types of compensatory damages (financial damages that are awarded in a claim case) that appear in personal injury claims include general and special damages. Below, we take a look at what these two kinds of damages are and what may count as each.

Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. It is intended as general information meant to inform. Please consult with an attorney for legal advice.

What are General Damages in a Personal Injury Settlement?

General damages are considered to be non-economic damages in personal injury settlements in Ohio. These are the damages that cannot really be calculated with any particular certainty or precise economic value.

General damages tend to be much harder to calculate in that regard because they are often subjective.

For example, if an individual was in a car accident and they lost a limb they may suffer from both a physical toll and emotional toll. Both can be difficult to place a specific monetary value on. Oftentimes in personal injury claims, expert witnesses will be brought in to assist.

Types of General Damages

There are several common types of general damages that can apply to personal injury cases including:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental/emotional pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of limb (otherwise known as disfigurement)
  • Loss of companionship (usually only applicable in a wrongful death case)

Depending on your individual case, not all of these general damages may apply. You will want to consult with your attorney to best determine what damages you may receive from your claim.

What are Special Damages in a Personal Injury Settlement?

Special damages in a personal injury settlement are also known as economic damages. These are damages that are meant to compensate for expenses that have been incurred following the negligence of the defendant.

Special damages are much easier to calculate than general damages because they can be given a specific monetary value based on expenses that the victim has incurred.

Special damages are meant to get the victim who has filed the personal injury claim back to a position where they would have been had the injuries never been sustained in the first place.

For example, someone may be put out of work for a long period of time following an accident where they sustain injuries. This can lead to loss of income, medical expenses, and depending on the severity of the injuries, possible long term disability costs.

Types of Special Damages

Much like general damages, there are a number of different special damages that you may receive from personal injury settlements in Ohio. Some common categories include:

  • Medical expenses (both past and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Funeral and other associated costs if wrongful death occurs

What Kind of Evidence May be Needed to Prove My Damages?

Damages will typically need to be proven to a certain extent when a personal injury claim is filed. Parties that may need to see proof include insurance companies, the court, and even your attorney.

Evidence that you will want to be able to present to support your claim include:

  • Copies of medical expenses like receipts and anything else that indicates cost
  • Records of any injuries sustained
  • Records that show time you have missed at work and loss of income

Much like damages can be specific to a case, there may also be other kinds of evidence that your lawyer may require for your case.

Consult with a personal injury attorney in Columbus, OH for assistance in determining what evidence will be most relevant to your case.

About the Author

Heit Law, LLC is an Ohio-based personal injury law firm that offers representation to clients throughout the Columbus area and the entire state. Founded by Corey Heit, a personal injury attorney with experience working on a variety of cases, Heit Law takes on a range of cases that include car accidents, wrongful death, texting while driving accidents, and other personal injury claims. Corey Heit works on a contingency fee basis and offers free, confidential consultations that can be scheduled over the phone or online.


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