Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Feb 9, 2020

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Damages are divided into a number of categories upon which the recovery may be based, such as:

(1) Compensatory Damages for the purpose of making a person “whole again” (put back in the position which existed before the loss or harm). Compensatory damages can be divided into two sub-categories;

(a) General Damages resulting from the act or failure to act on the part of the person at fault – the amount needed to restore the fair market value of the property to its owner (the injured party); and

(b) Special Damages not resulting from the wrongful act or failure to act itself, but from the circumstances after the loss or harm has occurred. Special damages include out-of-pocket items that can be documented, such as the need to rent replacement property (such as a car rental) or the cost of services (such as the cost to have property valued or appraised);

(2) Future Damages that are certain to occur in the future as a result of the loss or harm are recoverable so long as there is a satisfactory basis for which the future, anticipated losses or harms can be determined. Without a satisfactory basis, future damages are speculative and are not subject to recovery;

(3) Incidental Damages include the reasonable charges, expenses, or other costs which flow from the loss or harm – such as delivery expenses and the cost of photocopies;

(4) Punitive Damages can be assessed against the party at fault to punish the wrong-doer for his/her willful, malicious, or oppressive behavior and to deter others from acting in a similar manner.

If you were in a car accident and need help with payment for your losses, contact an experienced car accident attorney right away. If your loss was another type of insured loss, perhaps to your home or your belongings, contact an insurance lawyer for help.