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Mike Myers
Mike Myers
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Special and General Damages and Multipliers–The Quick and Dirty on Case Valuation

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There are two basic kinds of damages in any personal case. Special damages and general damages.

Special damages describe out of pocket costs such as medical expenses and lost wages. General damages refer to less quantitative and more qualitative damages such as loss of enjoyment of life and pain and suffering.

Whether fair or not, both plaintiff’s attorneys and insurance adjusters tend to value cases based on the combination of the actual special damages and the product of the general damages and the multiplier.

The multiplier used is typically three for cases in which the plaintiff recovers from his or her injuries without significant residual effects, and five, where the plaintiff has permanent disability as a result of the accident.

There are obviously exceptions to this rule. One notable comes in the cases of facial scarring or other disfigurement where there is very little medical treatment (besides perhaps scar revision surgery for the condition) but it has a serious impact on the plaintiff in his or her life after the accident.

For more information about case valuation and, of course, evaluation of your specific case, you should contact an attorney.