What Are Special Damages in Personal Injury? | Navigating a Personal Injury Claim
When an individual suffers injuries in an accident due to another's negligence, they may be able to pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit (civil action) to recover compensatory damages, which include general and special damages.
Those victims who are suffering from injuries due to another's reckless actions need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys will help assess the case, determine the type of personal injury damages the victim is eligible for, and protect their rights by going to war against the negligent party's insurance company.
What Are "Damages" in a Personal Injury Case?
Under personal injury law in Nashville, Tennessee, a tort is an action or omission by an individual that results in injury or harm to another. There are three categories of tort, and these include negligent tort, intentional tort, and strict liability tort.
When an individual causes harm to another person due to their negligence, the victim may seek compensatory damages by pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit in a civil court. These are remedies provided by the civil justice system to make the injured party "whole again."
Here is an example of what damages are in a personal injury case:
Kathy is walking around a supermarket when she slips and falls due to a wet floor. She receives medical treatment for her injuries and files a personal injury lawsuit against the supermarket's insurance company to recover the losses incurred. The court decides to award Kathy $100,000 in compensatory damages.
In the example above, Kathy faces physical, mental, and financial losses due to the slip and fall accident at the supermarket. To become "whole again," the court awarded her $100,000 as a "remedy" for the damages she incurred due to the property owner's negligence.
There are two types of damages that the victims can pursue under compensatory damages when filing personal injury claims, and these include the following:
General damages (non-economic damages); and
Special damages (economic damages).
In some personal injury cases, the court may also award punitive damages as a means to punish the defendant and deter others from carrying out similar activities.
What Are Special Damages in Personal Injury Cases?
Special damages in a personal injury case are also referred to as economic damages. These include the following:
When one person causes damage to another's property due to their reckless actions, the victim can recover the property damages incurred by pursuing a personal injury claim against the negligent party's insurance company.
Some examples of property damage include the following:
The costs of towing a totaled vehicle after an accident;
Paying the local mechanic to repair the automobile; and
The value of the cellphone that was damaged in a slip and fall accident.
Medical Bills (Out-of-pocket Expenses)
An accident could leave the victim with serious injuries that can lead to hefty out-of-pocket expenses and medical bills for which they can pursue a personal injury claim to recover the financial losses.
Under personal injury law, medical expenses could include anything that is directly associated with the victim's injuries, such as:
Ambulance transportation costs;
Therapy and rehabilitation;
Future medical expenses;
Wheelchair expense; and
Home modification equipment, among many others.
After suffering injuries in an accident, the victim may be unable to return to work for a few days, weeks, or even a few months. In some cases involving severe injuries, the injured party may never be able to continue employment, which can adversely affect their financial situation.
Under the personal injury law, the injured victims can recover lost income, which may include current lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
Calculating Special Damages in Personal Injury Cases
When filing a personal injury claim or a lawsuit, the victim must explain the injuries they've sustained in an accident, provide the necessary evidence of the negligent party's fault, and mention the dollar value they are seeking for the damages incurred. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can explain exactly how you quantify a personal injury claim too.
The injured victim must calculate the special damages before filing a personal injury claim, as failure to do so could result in claim denial.
Compared to general damages, calculating special damages is easy as they already have a dollar value attached to them. The injured victims can find these mentioned on invoices or receipts whenever they incur an out-of-pocket expense.
They need to add up all the medical expenses they've incurred following their accident, which is why an experienced personal injury lawyer in Nashville will always recommend maintaining a folder with all the invoices and receipts. It can help with the calculation and also act as supporting evidence when pursuing a claim.
Besides medical expenses, the injured party may also end up skipping work due to their injuries. They must calculate the lost wages by multiplying their daily wage rate by the number of days they missed work.
If the accident resulted in property damages, the victim can calculate those by adding the repair or replacement costs of the damaged property.
Here's a simple example to help the injured victims understand how they can calculate special damages:
Mark drives down an intersection when suddenly another vehicle smashes into his car, resulting in serious injuries. He is taken to a hospital, where he incurs $50,000 in medical bills. His vehicle needs repair that costs him $15,000, and he skips 10 days of work, where he gets paid $1,000 daily.
In the example mentioned above, the special damages incurred by Mark include $50,000 in medical expenses, $15,000 in property damage, and $10,000 in lost wages. He should seek $75,000 in special damages when filing a personal injury case.
Do Accident Victims in Nashville, Tennessee, Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to Calculate Special Damages?
There are several reasons why accident victims in Nashville, Tennessee, need to reach out to personal injury attorneys for calculating special damages, some of which include the following:
The Future Medical Costs Can Be Difficult to Calculate
Although calculating special damages is much easier, the example provided earlier is pretty straightforward. There may be situations where it can be challenging to place a value on future medical care without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
In most cases, the injured victims without legal representation often leave monetary damages on the table because they don't know how much medical expenses they'll incur in the future.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys work with medical experts to determine the value of future medical care in personal injury cases involving severe injuries or permanent disabilities. They can also answer questions like What percentage do most personal injury lawyers take?
The Future Earning Capacity Can Be Challenging to Determine
It can be easy to determine the loss of income in personal injury cases where the victim can return to work after recovering.
However, in certain situations involving permanent injuries, the injured party may never be able to work again. This can result in lost wages and lead to a loss of future earning capacity.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have expertise in calculating the total lost income. They work with industry professionals in determining the value of bonuses, promotions, and other incentives that the victim could've received in their lifetime if they were able to return to work.
Should the Accident Victims in Nashville, Tennessee, Contact Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys?
Besides calculating damages in a personal injury case, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help injured victims in many ways, including the following:
When pursuing a personal injury claim or lawsuit, it is important for the claimants to not only provide evidence of medical bills and other damages but also prove the other party's negligence. This can be challenging for injured victims who are currently receiving medical treatment or recovering from their injuries.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their clients. They understand the type of evidence needed to build a trial-ready case and have the resources to gather them.
Pursue Personal Injury Claims or Lawsuits
There is a legal process that the injured victims need to follow if they wish to seek compensation for their losses. Failure to adhere to it can result in claims denial.
A key thing to remember is that the claimants only have a limited period of time (statute of limitations) to recover compensatory damages. Wasting time by pursuing a personal injury claim without adherence to the legal process can adversely impact the case's outcome.
It's important for the injured parties to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure compliance and help file claims or lawsuits.
Fight for Maximum Compensation
When injured victims pursue personal injury claims without legal representation, they often fail to receive fair compensation for their losses. This is because the insurance companies are quick to disregard the evidence, or they pressure the injured party into accepting the initial settlement offer, which is often much lower than the actual damages incurred.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have lawyers with extensive experience working for insurance companies. The law firm's legal defense team knows the insider secrets and can easily handle the insurers while negotiating for a maximum settlement on the victim's behalf.
Go to Trial
Most personal injury claims settle outside of court since it is much cheaper and protects the negligent party's insurance company from bad publicity.
However, in some cases, there may be disagreements over the value of the settlement. When that happens, it is important for injured victims to take the matter to court if they have a strong claim.
Going to trial can be a long-drawn process and expensive. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have successfully handled personal injury lawsuits with favorable outcomes in court. They're not afraid to fight for fair compensation if it means going to court.
Injured Victims Should Schedule a Free Consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys
Those who are suffering from injuries due to another's negligence in Nashville, Tennessee, should immediately call to schedule a free consultation with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to discuss their case and learn more about their legal options.