Russell Worth Personal Injury Blog:

What is the Difference Between General Damages and Special Damages?

Aug 30, 2017 | Personal Injury

Russell Worth Personal Injury Blog:

What is the Difference Between General Damages and Special Damages?


If you have been injured as a result of another person, organisation or public body’s negligence, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.  The compensation the court awards you if your claim is successful is referred to as ‘damages.’

Damages are categorised into two headings; general damages and special damages

General damages

General damages are designed to compensate for loss or damage which cannot be mathematically calculated at the date of trial.  These types of damages can be hard to obtain as a claimant has to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that these non-tangible losses are real and significant.

Examples of claims for general damages include:

  • Pain, suffering, and loss of amenity – this element of the award can compensate for all past, present, and future pain and suffering caused as a result of the accident.
  • Claims for loss of amenity – are designed to compensate victims for loss of enjoyment in life or a lower quality of life.
  • Mental pain and anguish – examples of mental suffering include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and flashbacks of the accident.
  • Loss of a unique career – some injuries are so severe the victim cannot return to their chosen profession.  Compensation can therefore be awarded for loss of a loved career and the cost of retraining for another occupation.
  • Loss of companionship – family members, can claim for this in cases of wrongful death.
  • Loss of prospects – a claimant can recover damages under this head of loss if they can show, for example, they have lost out on a marriage prospect or, as a result of the accident, their marriage has disintegrated.

Your personal injury solicitor will use the Judicial College Guidelines as a reference to come to an approximate figure of how much general damages you can claim.  These guidelines set out financial brackets for common types of injury such as amputations and burns.

Special damages

Special damages may be awarded to personal injury claimants to compensate them for actual expenses incurred because of the accident.

Examples of special damages include:

  • Medical expenses – this can include hospital charges, prescriptions, and long-term physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and counselling.
  • Transport costs – for example petrol or taxis to get you to and from the hospital and parking expenses
  • Repair or replacement of damaged property
  • Loss of earnings – a claim for future earnings will require a calculation of their annual net income.  This can be a complex calculation.  In many cases, it will be based on the claimant’s residual earning capacity, e.g., the difference between what the claimant would have earned before the injury and their future earning capacity as a result of the injury.
  • Loss of pension – if you are forced into early retirement because of your injuries.
  • Cost of readjusting your accommodation or moving – if you need to adjust your home to fit in a wheelchair for example or have to relocate to a more suitable property.
  • Domestic care and assistance – if you require special care to manage day-to-day living.

How to get the maximum amount of compensation

To achieve the best award possible, it is crucial that you instruct an experienced personal injury solicitor to advise and represent you.  They will collate and present the evidence required to support your claim.  An expert solicitor will also have a good knowledge of how much compensation the court is likely to award, and can therefore advise you on whether or not to accept any pre-trial settlement offers.

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At Russell Worth Solicitors we specialise in personal injury claims.  If you have suffered an injury because of an accident that was not your fault and would like a free claim assessment, please call us now on 0800 028 2060 or complete our Online Claim Assessment.

Excellent. The service was efficient from start to finish and I would not hesitate to recommend Russell Worth Solicitors to anybody who is unfortunate enough to meet with a personal injury that is not their fault.
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