General and special damages (often called non-economic and economic damages) are the two main categories of loss in a personal injury case. Special damages are awarded when an injured party experiences tangible losses.

Out-of-pocket expenses are incurred due to the reckless, negligent, or intentional actions of a defendant and financial compensation for them is possible. The purpose of awarding special damages is to place victims in the position they would be in without the injuries they suffered. 

Determining special damages involves adding up all quantifiable financial losses. The losses, or expenses, have to be proven with specificity. 

For instance, in a car accident, the at-fault party (or his or her insurance company) is liable for the value of a victim’s car if it’s totaled. In such a case, it is fairly easy to establish the value of the car by referring to various vehicle valuation tools. 

Types of special damages

Some common categories of special damages include:

  • repair or replacement of damaged property
  • medical expenses (past and future)
  • loss of earning capacity and wages
  • costs of living with a disability
  • loss of irreplaceable items

If your property is damaged in an accident, you can claim for the cost of repairing or replacing it. 

Short-term medical expenses may include hospital charges, medication costs, diagnostic tests and hospital charges.

Long term medical costs may include medical treatments such as physiotherapy. If this is a direct result of an accident, you can claim compensation under special damages. You can even claim for your transportation costs of traveling to and from the hospital for ongoing visits.

If your injuries force you to stay away from work and your salary is cut or you lose out on a monetary bonus or a perk, you can claim for loss of income. If your injuries are so serious that you are unable to return to your previous place of employment and you have to take a lower-paying job, you can also claim under loss of income. 

Calculation of special damages

If you want to support your claim for special damages, you need compelling evidence of your losses. You will need to prove your medical expenses and have all the receipts for money you have paid out directly related to your injuries. Accident Lawyers at are used to dealing with such cases and will be able to help you calculate special damages. 

The specificity of special damages tends to make them easier for insurance companies to award. Keeping medical bills and pay stubs can provide the necessary documentation to substantiate claims.

Calculating special damages is easier than calculating general damages because exact amounts are spent. If a personal injury case involves physical injury, the plaintiff can recover medical expenses. 

If an injury caused a plaintiff to miss work for a certain period, the plaintiff can recover lost wages. Where it becomes more complicated is when calculating the future wage loss or future medical expenses. Calling in expert witnesses or giving other evidence may help to prove this.

If you have a strong case, personal injury lawyers at can help you to get the maximum damages due to you and you may not have to pay any legal fees upfront if they work on a contingency fee basis. This means you only have to pay if a claim is successful and this fee is an agreed percentage of the damages you’re awarded. 

When it’s time for a jury to award damages, you will know that the legal team has given its all to ensure the successful outcome of the case.19