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What Are Special Damages?

What are Special Damages?
As noted in the previous article, Tort damages fall into two main broad categories....general damages and special damages. The previous article discussed general damages. This article will focus on special damages.

The primary difference between general damages and special damages is that general damages are inherently speculative whereas special damages are those damages that may be determined with relative certainty. Examples of special damages are medical expenses, lost wages, property damages, rental car expenses and other such items of damage for which the amount can be ascertained. Put another way, special damages are damages that can be definitively measured in monetary terms.

As with all damages, the injured victim has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence that all elements of special damages resulted from the accident at issue. In other words, the injured victim must present evidentiary proof of the causal connection between the accident and the claimed injury and damages. To illustrate, if an individual sustained property damages, in order to recover the individual would have to prove the fact of the collision, the extent of the damages (usually by a property damage appraisal and photographs) often accompanied by the testimony of damage estimator. Likewise, in order to recover medical expenses incurred for treatment, the individual would be required to prove the fact of the collision or other injury causing event, the nature of the injuries sustained and the cost of medical treatment accompanied by the testimony of a medical expert to the effect that the injury causing event was the most probable cause of the injuries suffered. Similarly, in order to recover lost income the individual would be required to prove the fact of the injury causing event, the inability to work due to injury and present proof of the total measure of income lost due to the disability.

As with most legal issues, the law on special damages is very nuanced and special damages differ from case to case. Thus, navigating through the legal process and obtaining recovery of all damages owed requires not only knowledge of the law, but the ability to effectively prove the case and demonstrate to the judge or jury the appropriate measure of the damages sustained.

Nearly 75 years ago my father, J. Minos Simon, began the family tradition of providing exemplary legal services to the citizens throughout the local communities and the State of Louisiana. For nearly 30 years I have proudly embraced this tradition and strive every day to continue J. Minos Simon’s legacy. Simon Law Offices, Cajun Strong and rebuilding lives throughout Louisiana one client at a time.

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