Special Damages

Updated: 09 June 2023

What Does Special Damages Mean?

Special damages are damages awarded in the form of specific dollar amounts to the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit to compensate them for monetary losses. These include, but are not limited to, the cost to repair or replace damaged property, lost wages, and medical expenses. In contrast, general damages are awarded for losses that are not tangible or quantifiable, such as pain and suffering.

In terms of insurance, liability insurance exists to cover the costs of damages awarded to the party suing the insured.

Insuranceopedia Explains Special Damages

Special damages refer to the expenses the plaintiff incurred due to the actions of the defendant. Adding together the former’s out-of-pocket expenses provides the basis for determining the amount to be awarded. In such cases, the plaintiff must provide specific proof. To offer a simplified example, a house guest breaks a homeowner’s bookshelf, and according to a receipt, the latter paid $100. This means the former would be liable to pay $100 in special damages.

In such cases, special damages are easy to calculate; however, determining amounts to award for future lost wages or expected medical expenses due to an injury the defendant caused becomes a bit more complex. Nevertheless, other evidence, such as pay stubs, estimated treatment costs, and so on, alongside expert witnesses may help with pinpointing the amount of special damages.

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