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General Damages

Definition - What does General Damages mean?

Damages or compensation is the amount of money the court gives to an injured claimant (the plaintiff) who wins their personal injury claim due to the reckless or negligent actions of another person (the defendant). Damages can include special damages or general damages.

General damages are used to compensate the victim for their physical pain and suffering, physical impairments, physical disfigurement, mental or emotional anguish, loss of companionship, and loss of quality.

Calculating General Damages

Calculating general damages is not as easy as tallying up bills. In fact, it could mean that a more subjective number is calculated from an injury because different plaintiffs suffer unique embarrassment, and physical or emotional pain.

So how will an insurance adjuster calculate how much to offer you for general damages? Most likely they will not tell you the formula. In some cases they may total the other special damages and use some type of multiplier (1.5 to 5) then add additional money for the any lost wages. This amount is the total the insurance adjuster may offer as a starting negotiation point.

Should I take the settlement offer?

If you have severe or long-term injuries it is important to talk to an injury lawyer before accepting any type of settlement offer for your general damages. There are also other considerations. You should expect a higher settlement offer if you have severe or especially painful injuries, if your medical treatment is on-going and especially painful, if you are disfigured, or if you suffer permanent disabilities and will no longer be able to work.

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