In any personal injury case, there are two different types of damages. One type has a value that can be easily ascertained in an objective manner. These are called general damages. The other type is more subjective and harder to place a monetary value on them. These are called special damages. Another term for this distinction is economic damages versus non-economic damages.
General damages can include things like:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
These encompass either money that comes out of your pocket or money that you could have made had it not been for the accident. It is easier to place a dollar value on these damages. However, there is still a strong likelihood that an insurance company will have a different opinion on these damages, especially when it comes to lost wages. Even medical bills can become a matter of dispute, as general damages include money that you would spend in the future too.
Nonetheless, both sides can place tangible dollar values on these types of damages. That does not mean that an insurance company will offer what you deserve. They may argue that you are able to work in spite of your injuries, or they may claim that you have more earnings power after your accident than you really have. Still, you are starting with positions that can have a dollar value more readily attached.
Special damages, by their definition, are more difficult to quantify. Each plaintiff may be impacted differently by their injury. These damages include things like:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
It is not easy for an insurance company to know how the injury has affected the claimant. In most cases, the insurance company does not really want to know. They are trying to short-circuit this consideration with an “objective” formula that almost always saves them money. They cannot put themselves in the injured person’s shoes, nor do they want to do this. If they did, they would end up paying more money. They try to use a formula for pain and suffering that assigns a multiplier to your medical bills. It is up to your attorney to tell your story about how the accident has caused you pain and suffering to get you the money that you deserve.
Greenville Personal Injury Lawyers
Determining liability is only part of the fight in your personal injury case. Oftentimes, liability is more clear-cut, and you are left to struggle with the insurance coverage over damages. This is where Upstate Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Call us today at (864) 686-5500 or contact us online to set up your free initial consultation.
What Happens if I Cannot Reach an Agreement with the Insurance Company?
You have the ability to file a lawsuit and take your case to court.
Are There Any Caps on Special Damages?
No, unless you have filed a medical malpractice case.
How Do I Know if the Insurance Company Has Offered Enough?
You should have your attorney evaluate all settlement offers before you make a decision.