What Are Compensatory Damages?

If you or somebody you care about is injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another party, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation. Injuries typically result in various types of expenses for victims. Many people only think of medical costs when they think of injury expenses, but the reality is that the costs go far beyond just medical expenses. Here, we want to discuss the types of compensatory damages that may be available in a personal injury lawsuit filed in California.

What Are the Two Types of Compensatory Damages?

Compensatory damages are exactly what they sound like – damages meant to “compensate” an injury victim for the actual amount of their injury or loss. Compensatory damages can be far-reaching, but they are typically categorized in one of two ways – as “special damages” or “general damages.”

What Are Special Damages?

Special damages are also referred to as actual damages or economic damages. These damages can generally be calculated by using medical bills, receipts, tax returns, income statements, etc. The most common types of special damages include the following:

  • Medical and hospital bills
  • All medical treatments
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
  • Ambulance expenses
  • Medicine and prescription drugs
  • Medical equipment
  • Lost wages or lost employment income
  • Increased living expenses
  • Property replacement or repair
  • Transportation to medical services
  • Nursing home care
  • Domestic services

The total amount of special damages can typically be calculated by adding up all of the provable expenses mentioned above.

What Are General Damages?

General damages are also referred to as non-economic damages. These damages are generally a bit more difficult to calculate because they do not come with bills or receipts that can be easily added up. These damages include a victim’s losses that do not involve actual monetary expenditures, including the following:

  • Long-term physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Disfigurement
  • Future lost wages
  • Future medical bills
  • Loss of consortium (for a spouse)
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of opportunity
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Calculating general damages what typically be done differently than calculations for special damages. In many cases, a “multiplier method” will be used by the victim’s attorney to arrive at a fair amount for general damages. This means that all of the special damages mentioned above will be totaled and then multiplied by a set number (usually 1.5 to 4) to arrive at the total general damage request.

For example, if a person’s total special damages add up to $100,000, an attorney could use a multiplier of “3” to reach a request of $300,000 for general damages. Overall, this could result in a victim requesting up to $400,000 in total compensation in the case.

Speak to an Attorney About Your Case

Personal injury lawsuits can be incredibly complicated, and most injured individuals do not have the resources or legal knowledge necessary to fully investigate their case and secure maximum compensation. However, a personal injury lawyer in Irvine, CA will be able to handle every aspect of a personal injury case. An attorney can use their resources to obtain all evidence needed to prove liability, work with trusted medical and economic professionals to calculate total expenses, and negotiate with all parties involved to reach a fair settlement. If necessary, an attorney will fully prepare a case to go to trial.