In California, victims in personal injury cases can be entitled to recover compensation for their losses, like their medical bills or their pain. Legally, this compensation is called compensatory damages. There are two types of compensatory damages that are typically available in a California injury lawsuit: special damages and general damages. 

Though the name “special damages” makes this type of compensation sound rare, special damages are actually the more standard and straightforward type of personal injury compensation. To help our readers understand this commonly awarded type of compensation, below, we’re putting a spotlight on special damages. Read on to learn what special damages are, how special damages differ from general damages, and the most common types of special damages. 

Special Damages vs. General Damages 

Special damages are also called economic damages because they’re awarded for quantifiable monetary losses. Essentially, special damages compensate an injured person for their unique (or “special”) financial losses. An example of something that would fall into the category of special damages is the cost of a surgery an injury victim needed after they were harmed. 

The other main category of compensatory damages is general damages, which can be much harder to calculate than special damages. General damages, also called non-economic damages, compensate a victim for their intangible losses. This may include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, loss of companionship, or embarrassment. Putting a dollar amount to these types of losses can be challenging, which is why hiring a skilled personal injury attorney who understands what these types of damages are worth is crucial if you want to maximize the compensation you recover in your personal injury case. 

Types of Special Damages Available in a Personal Injury Case

Special damages can be awarded for any tangible economic loss that a victim suffers due to the negligent or malicious actions of the at-fault party. Some common special damages include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning potential, caretaking costs, and property damage. 

Medical Expenses 

The medical expenses associated with a serious injury can be an incredible burden on an injury victim. But if your injury was the fault of another party, you can pursue compensation for all of the out of pocket medical expenses that are related to your injury. Special damages for medical care can include compensation for:

Of note, victims in personal injury cases can pursue compensation for not only their past and current medical expenses, but also their future medical expenses. In severe or catastrophic injury cases, an injury victim’s future medical expenses can be exorbitantly expensive in ways the victim cannot currently imagine. That’s why it’s extremely important for severely or catastrophically injured persons to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help ensure that all of their future medical expenses are included in their special damages calculations. 

Lost Wages 

Victims who sustain minor injuries may only miss a day or two of work. Victims who have sustained serious injuries, on the other hand, may end up missing many days of work due to hospitalization or a long recovery time. Regardless of how little or how much work an injury victim misses, they may be entitled to compensation for the past or future wages they lose due to their injuries. 

Loss of Earning Potential 

In certain cases, an injury victim may be unable to return to their normal line of work. For example, a factory worker may be unable to go back to their physically demanding job after sustaining a spinal cord injury. In situations like these, the injured party can pursue compensation for their lost earning capacity. They may also be able to recover related damages for the cost of things like needing to return to school to pursue a new profession. 

Caretaking Costs 

If a person has been severely injured, they may no longer be able to do normal domestic activities in the way they once could. For example, a person may be unable to clean their home, do yard work, or care for their children full time due to their injury. In some cases, other family members can help an injury victim care for their home and family. In other cases, the injury victim may need to hire outside help, in which case they can pursue damages for things like house care, child care, and yard maintenance. 

Property Damage 

California personal injury law allows victims to pursue compensation for property damage that’s related to their injuries. Compensation for property damage is common in car accident cases, since injury victims may also have been in a vehicle at the time of their injury. However, you could potentially pursue damages for any property damage that is related to your injury. For example, if your prescription eyeglasses or your phone were broken in the same accident that injured you, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of replacing these items. 

Get Help From a California Special Damages Attorney Today 

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence or maliciousness of another party, contact LA Lawyers Group today for a free case evaluation. Our compassionate and experienced personal injury lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injury victims across Southern California. Our team looks at each personal injury claim individually in order to ensure we pursue the maximum possible compensation our clients are entitled to per California law. Our team has helped California injury victims recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain, suffering, loss of quality of life, and much more. 

Call LA Lawyers Group at (213) LAWYERS now to receive your free consultation with our personal injury law firm.