In a personal injury lawsuit, the calculation of damages varies according to the losses underwent by the injured party or plaintiff. Often, damages take in medical costs to treat injuries, or expenses to fix or replace damaged property. On the other hand, damages can take in more than just financial matters directly used to attend to injuries.

Legal Compensation Glossary


When an injury or accident has left an individual disfigured or deformed, e.g., by scars or any other permanent effect on physical appearance, the plaintiff (injured person) could be able to acquire damages for mental suffering because of the disfigurement. Sometimes, these damages are included as a factor of other kinds of damages, like mental anguish.

Future Medical Expenses

This recovery type is allowed if the plaintiff demonstrates that the plaintiff will require continued medical care because of the injury or accident. The proof should be enough for the jury to calculate an approximate cost estimate, i.e. via the medical statement of a doctor.

To gain more idea regarding the matter, let us check out Economic Recovery for Accidents and Injuries by FindLaw. The article provides a glossary for terms frequently encountered in personal injury cases. Here’s an excerpt from the article.

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Future Medical Expenses

This type of recovery is permitted if the plaintiff proves that he or she will need continued medical care as a result of the accident or injury. The proof must be sufficient for the jury to make an approximate estimate of the cost, i.e. through the medical opinion of a treating doctor.

Household Services

The cost of hiring somebody to do things around the house while the plaintiff is recuperating from an accident or injury, provided that the expense would not have been incurred had the plaintiff not been injured. These kinds of damages are sometimes included as part of medical expenses.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

A diminished ability to enjoy the day-to-day pleasures of life, “loss of enjoyment” is usually an item of general damages, meaning there is no precise way to place a monetary value on it. Some states treat it as a form of pain and suffering, others treat it as a distinct kind of damage in an accident or injury case.

Special Damages

This is a general category of damages that covers all monetary losses, including medical expenses after an accident or injury. Recovery requires detailed proof that the losses were sustained and a showing of how much money was involved.

Household Services

While the plaintiff is recovering from an injury or accident, the cost of hiring someone to do help or do things around the house can be expensive. The services provided wouldn’t have been incurred if the plaintiff hadn’t been harmed. These types of damages are occasionally included in the medical expenses.

Loss of Consortium

It is the deprivation of the married life’s benefits following an injury or accident — affection, comfort, companionship, solace, society, assistance and help, as well as sexual relations between partners. The uninjured spouse usually files the claim, and the financial recovery will vary according to whether or not the harmed spouse recovers damages.

In a few cases, the harmed injury will file the claim too. A value is put on the loss by taking the couple’s distinct life expectancies into account, whether or not the marriage was stable and secure, how much companionship and care was given to the unharmed spouse (or vice versa), as well as the extent to which the married life’s benefits have been lost.

auto accident
auto accident

Loss of Companionship and Society

In wrongful death claims, loss of companionship and society damages exemplify the positive advantages flowing from the companionship, closeness, comfort, and love that the plaintiff or his or her immediate family members would’ve enjoyed if the decedent survived.

A jury takes evidence into consideration that a pleasant relationship existed between the decedent and the plaintiff, common activities and interests, their living arrangements, and whether or not the plaintiff and decedent were separated for long periods.

Lost Earning Capacity

After an injury or accident, these damages could be acquired if the plaintiff demonstrates that the plaintiff’s ability to capacity money at some point has been diminished or impaired by the injuries or accident. Factors that aid to determine whether or not an award ought to be made include the age, health, occupation, skill, talents, training, experience, and life expectancy of the plaintiff.

Past earnings are factors in determining the exact compensation amount for lost earning capacity as well, but the claim truly centers on what might’ve been earned if not the accident or injury didn’t occur.

Special Damages

This is a general damages category that covers all financial losses, including medical costs following an injury or accident. Recovery requires thorough proof that losses were sustained and a proof of the amount that was involved.

Since we have tackled general and special damages above, let us proceed to AllLaw’s Special & General Damages in Your Personal Injury Case, which includes how to calculate the two types of damages.

Calculating General Damages.

It may be difficult to calculate or precisely quantify the amount of money necessary to compensate the injured person for general damages. Determining general damages often involves assigning an exact dollar amount to a subjective injury. Damages such as mental anguish or embarrassment are unique to each plaintiff. Factors that may determine a damage award include the gruesomeness of an injury, the skill of the attorneys, and the sensitivities of the jury. Because of these imprecise factors, damage awards in seemingly similar personal injury cases often vary.

Calculating Special Damages.

Unlike general damages, special damages are often easy to calculate because an exact dollar amount has already been spent on these items.  A negligent house guest breaks a lamp. The homeowner paid $50 for the lamp. Therefore, the negligent house guest is liable for special damages of $50. It gets a little more complicated when you need to put a dollar figure on the cost of future medical care or future wage loss tied to the injury, but it can be done through the use of expert witnesses and other evidence.

Learn more about general damages and special damages, as well as how experts calculate them at Trevinio and Loredo Personal Injury Law.