If you are injured by someone else’s careless, wrongful or criminal act in Texas, you may be eligible for financial compensation from that party’s insurance provider. The legal term for this financial compensation is damages.
There are two main categories of compensatory damages available to reimburse a victim in a personal injury case in Texas: special and general.
Compensatory vs. Punitive Damages
Special and general damages are both types of compensatory damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Compensatory damages are designed to compensate an injured victim for the expenses and losses he or she incurred due to a defendant’s mistake.
In other words, to make the victim whole again after a damaging accident, or to restore him or her to the state he or she was in before the accident.
The other type of damage award is punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in rare cases where a judge finds the defendant guilty of gross negligence, intent to harm, or a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Punitive damages are a form of punishment against the defendant to deter him or her from further wrongful acts, rather than an award to compensate the plaintiff.
What Are Special Damages?
Compensatory damages are broken down into two types: special and general. Special damages are so-called because they are specific and unique to the individual plaintiff. They refer to the dollar-specific losses the victim suffered in an accident.
Other names for special damages are economic, out-of-pocket, and tangible losses. Special damages focus on the financial or monetary losses that arose as a result of a preventable accident in Texas. Special damages can refer to many different types of specific losses, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Losses of income
- Property repairs or replacement
- The costs associated with a disability
- Funeral or burial costs for a wrongful death
- Legal fees and court costs
- Travel expenses
Proving special damages during a personal injury lawsuit in Texas often takes creating a paper trail. The injured victim can estimate his or her special damages and seek a fair amount in financial compensation by totaling up the costs of the accident.
Then, the plaintiff can prove the value of his or her special damages claim using bills, invoices, and other hard data.
What Are General Damages?
General damages are the opposite of special damages. They describe the noneconomic or intangible losses suffered by an accident victim. They are called general damages because they refer to losses any accident victim, in general, would suffer in the same circumstances due to the severity of the accident.
Examples of general damages include emotional distress, mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, loss of consortium, and lost quality of life.
How Much Is Your Personal Injury Case Worth?
Calculating special damages takes paperwork and documents to add up all of the expenses the plaintiff has already had that are related to the accident. Then, a personal injury lawyer can help the plaintiff estimate foreseeable future expenditures, such as future required medical care or lost wages from a disability.
Calculating general damages is not as simple. Since there are no hard numbers to support a general damages claim, the amount awarded is up to a jury. A jury will listen to the plaintiff’s story and assess the severity of his or her injuries and losses. Then, the jury will decide to either use one of the available calculation methods or to award general damages without using an equation.
The full value of both your special and general damages in a personal injury case depends on the circumstances. If you are curious about the potential value of your personal injury case, consult with a personal injury attorney in San Antonio today.
An attorney can accurately evaluate your case and help you fight for maximum financial compensation, including a fair amount in special damages.