California personal injury attorneys

Damages in Negligence Cases


After proving duty, breach, and causation, plaintiff must at last prove injury, also known as damages.
Many disputes in court center around the proper measure of plaintiff's damages.

Types of Persoinal Injury Damages


In a personal case, General Damages is monetary recovery (money won) in a lawsuit for injuries suffered (such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, inability to perform certain functions, and the like).
They are distinguished from special damages, which are usually for medical bills, loss of earnings, and other specific costs.

Both general and special damages are different from punitive damages or exemplary damages, which are damages imposed for egregious misconduct, for punishment and to set an example when malice, oppression, fraud, or reckless disregard for rights or safety (gross negligence) is a factor.

Special Damages are damages claimed and/or awarded in a lawsuit which were out-of-pocket costs directly as the result of the breach of contract, negligence or other wrongful act by the defendant. Special damages can include medical bills, repairs and replacement of property, loss of wages and other damages which are not speculative or subjective.

They are distinguished from general damages, in which there is no evidence of a specific dollar figure.

Exemplary Damages are often called punitive damages, these are damages requested and/or awarded in a lawsuit when the defendant's willful acts were malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton or reckless. They are designed to both punish the wrongdoer and make an example of bad conduct which society deems highly unacceptable. Examples of acts warranting exemplary damages: publishing that someone had committed murders when the publisher knew it was not true but hated the person; an ex-husband trashes his former wife's auto and threatens further property damage; a stockbroker buys and sells a widow's stocks to generate commissions resulting in her losing all her capital (money). These damages are awarded both as a punishment and to set a public example. They reward the plaintiff for the horrible nature of what she/he went through or suffered. Although often requested, exemplary damages are seldom awarded. There have been major awards in egregious (remarkable or outstanding) cases, such as fraud schemes, sexual harassment or other intentional and vicious actions even when the provable actual damages were not extensive.


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Los Angeles, California Personal Injury Attorneys
310-997-0237
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415-935-6904
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818-745-2777
Burbank, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Woodland Hills, Westlake Village Lawyers
626-797-2777
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562-337-9609
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714-982-4589
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949-734-1584
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805-910-7774
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661-877-4626
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619-940-7771
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858-523-8771
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760-705-8771
Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Lake Isabella, Oceanside, Palm Springs Injury Lawyers
510-969-2707
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877-593-2777
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