Dallas Law Firm Blog

What are Special and General Damages?

A recent lawsuit filed by a Texas resident injured in an August 2008 collision with a Missouri truck driver seeks several types of compensation for the resulting harm. Tyriska Olivera filed a civil suit against driver Mark A. Koenig and his employer, Freddie’s Trucking, for injuries she sustained in the violent crash that allegedly occurred when Koenig failed to yield the right of way andWhat are Special and General Damages? struck her car.

Ms. Olivera alleges that Mr. Koenig failed to brake in a timely manner, failed to maintain control of the truck and was speeding at the time of the accident. Freddie’s Trucking is facing vicarious liability (employer liability for employee conduct) for negligently entrusting Koenig with the truck and failing to properly train its drivers.

Ms. Olivera’s suit seeks compensation for a range of both special and general damages.

What Are Special Damages?

Legally speaking, special damages are those that can be quantified with a specific dollar amount, often easy to determine because an exact sum of money has already been spent on the expenses. Examples of special damages that Ms. Olivera seeks are:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages / loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage

What Are General Damages?

General damages, on the other hand, are more difficult to value. These damages are not based upon “out-of-pocket” expenses like special damages are, but require the assignment of an exact dollar amount to a subjective injury, like distress or embarrassment. General damages Ms. Olivera asks for include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical impairment
  • Physical disfigurement

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident like Ms. Olivera (or in another type of accident), you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. After tending to your wounds, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to learn more about your legal rights and options.