What are general and special damages in an injury claim?

'Damages' is the legal term for the money awarded to a claimant who has suffered as a result of a defendant's negligent, intentional or reckless actions.

There are two basic types of damages: 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

What is the difference between 'general' and 'special' damages?

General damages

General damages are awarded for 'pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA)'.

PSLA is the term for the impact an injury or illness has had and will have, on your life. 

General damages compensate you for the direct effects of the incident where there is a clear link between the defendant's behaviour and your injury.

General damages are awarded for:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Physical impairment
  • Physical disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Lessened quality of life

The amount of compensation available for general damages is dependent on the type of the injury, the severity and any long-lasting effects of the incident.

General damages awards are calculated according to the Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases, Fourteenth Edition by the Judicial College.

See: the complete Judicial College Compensation Tables

See also: How much compensation can I claim?

Special damages

Special damages compensate a claimant for expenses they may have incurred as a direct result of a defendant's actions.

Special damages can include:

  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Repair and replacement of damaged property
  • Loss of irreplaceable items
  • Medical expenses

You will need to be able to evidence any expenditure or losses, and you should retain any receipts as evidence.

Injury compensation calculator

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for an injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your injury claim could be worth now:

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How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning injury claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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