General damages in your personal injury case are costs that don’t have a precise economic value. These damages can nevertheless make up a significant portion of your personal injury claim.
General damages are estimated using one or more formulas and will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.
Types of General Damages
The following are common types of general damages in personal injury cases:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental or emotional pain and suffering
- Disfigurement or deformity
- Lost of enjoyment
- Lost of consortium and companionship (in wrongful death cases)
It’s difficult to calculate these damages because of their subjectivity. How do you put a monetary value on the loss of use of a body part or the loss of a loved one? General damages can vary from case-to-case and are much more difficult to estimate than special damages.
Factors That Influence General Damages
Some insurance companies use formulas for general damages when they offer you a personal injury settlement. The “multiplier method” is a common formula that involves taking your special damages are multiplying them by a factor between 1.5 and 5. The specific multiple is chosen based on how serious your injuries are.
However, your attorney can push back on this calculation in several ways. If other plaintiffs won larger awards in cases similar to yours, then the insurance company may be taking a risk by offering a lower settlement. Juries are unpredictable and can be influenced by the emotional aspects of a case.
General damage negotiations don’t occur in a vacuum, so the facts surrounding your case will also be considered. Is there clear evidence of who was at fault for the accident? Should your general damages be much higher than your special damages because of the nature of your injuries? Your personal injury attorney will have to consider all of these arguments during settlement negotiations.
Evaluating Settlement Offers
Ultimately, you and your attorney will have to evaluate any settlement offers you receive and decide whether you think they are fair. If not, you have the option of taking your case to trial and letting a jury decide what your damages should be.
Ask your personal injury attorney about general damages and the other types of damages that make up your personal injury claim.
Call 888-748-KING (5464) to request a personal injury case evaluation with one of the compassionate attorneys at King Law.