When a person gets hurt, the injuries may require medical treatment. If those injuries are severe, they may have to go directly to the emergency room. In some instances, the injuries may require ongoing care. If these were due to another person’s recklessness, the injured party might be able to collect. A personal injury claim may be filed against the individual responsible for the incident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Check out what kind of money may be collected in a personal injury action.


In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff asks the court to rule that the defendant was negligent and responsible for their injuries. If the court agrees that the defendant was negligent — either through their actions or inactions — then the court may grant a financial award to the plaintiff. In the realm of personal injury cases, a monetary award is known as “damages.”

Special Compensatory

The most commonly awarded financial compensation in personal injury lawsuits is known as “special compensatory damages.” The amount of this award is calculated by adding up the losses incurred by the plaintiff. These losses can be calculated by numbers and facts. The plaintiff has proof of the amount of these tangible losses. The most common elements in special compensatory damages are:

  • Medical receipts paid out of pocket
  • Medical invoices or bills still outstanding
  • Personal property that was damaged
  • Missed paychecks due to the injury

The items do not have to be current to be calculated. If the plaintiff’s injuries preclude a return to work for the foreseeable future, this loss of income can be calculated and considered under special compensatory damages.

General Compensatory

When a person is injured, there are more things affected than those that can be counted. There is a ripple effect that occurs in a person’s life when they get hurt and need care. General compensatory damages are reserved for the things that are not tangible. Mental anguish caused by the loss of employment due to injury may be counted in here. Compensation for intense pain and physical suffering may be requested under general damages. Even spouses may piggyback a claim and ask for something called “loss of consortium.” This is a claim for the strained marital relationship that usually results from caring for someone with an injury. Since there are no figures associated with elements of this type of damage award, the court may accept or reject a plaintiff’s request.

When contemplating whether or not to go forward with a legal action to recover damages, consulting with a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer in Canoga Park, CA from Unidos Legales, may aid in the process.