Most people understand that personal injury lawsuits are filed in the hopes that the defendant (accused party) will pay damages to cover the physical, mental, or emotional injury caused to another (the Plaintiff). However, many individuals have questions regarding what exactly the occasionally large sums of money are meant to pay for.
Special Damages Defined The term “special damages” is often used in the courtroom. This is meant to discuss the amount of financial loss that was suffered as a result of the incident, resulting in the lawsuit. This will include figures tied to medical expenses, lost wages, and other similar matters.
General Damages Defined When a person suffers, not on a financial level, but physically, mentally, or emotionally as the result of an incident, there may damages paid for “general hurts.” These might include pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of companionship, loss of mental capabilities, and similar matters. Proving that general hurts are applicable in a case is more difficult that justifying special hurts. However, if there is good reason to pursue payment for general hurts in your situation, an attorney will help you do so.
Punitive Damages Defined In a small percentage of cases, the court will find that the actions of the defendant were so inexcusable that “punitive hurts” should be assessed to essentially teach the defendant a lesson and show any potential offenders that it is not a matter that will be taken lightly. This form of damages would be assessed in cases involving injuries resulting from obvious fraud, malice, or extreme negligence. This is the least frequently paid form of damages because showing, without a doubt, that the actions of the defendant were done with very poor intentions is difficult. Only well-trained attorneys handling the most deserving cases will convince a jury to award punitive damages.