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Specific v. General Damages

As your New Jersey accident law firm, we understand that enduring a car accident or personal injury can result in damages far beyond lost wages and medical bills. For particularly catastrophic injuries, plaintiffs are often left with anxiety, fear or lifelong disability. For this reason, your attorney may advocate for general damages, which includes mental anguish, pain, suffering or emotional turmoil. General damages differ from specific damages, which are those that are easily quantified – lost wages, medical bills, etc.

Insurer Response

If you and your New Jersey accident law firm decide to pursue general damages, the insurance company is going to be very reluctant to make this payment and will vigorously defend any claims of mental or emotional turmoil. This is not to say that it is impossible to recover general damages and many plaintiffs are successful with these claims, provided they offer substantial documentation to the trier of fact.

Mere explanations about how you have lost your social life or are unable to engage in your favorite activities will likely be insufficient to satisfy the insurance company and it will be highly unlikely to settle on these claims. If you were once an avid surfer, produce documentation from your doctor that your physical activity is limited. Likewise, if you served as the primary homemaker and can no longer perform your duties, testimony from your spouse or children can bolster your claim of mental and emotional anguish.

Likelihood of Recovery

Your New Jersey accident law firm will undoubtedly explain that general damages are notoriously difficult to win. Insurance companies will be very unlikely to give up money under the category of general damages and you may fare better before a jury. Juries can be sympathetic to an injured plaintiff, particularly one who is severely injured and has lost most of his or her lifestyle. Your New Jersey accident law firm will advise you as to whether your case would make a good candidate for a jury trial or you should consider settling your case with the insurer.

For more information about general damages or to speak to a qualified attorney from a New Jersey accident law firm, contact the Clark Law Firm today: 877-841-8855.


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