Book your consultation

Book Now Mobile

What are special damages in a personal injury case?

Table of Contents

You might have heard about the concept of damages before in a compensation case. “Damages” mean the money one person may have to pay to another person because of harm or losses caused by their actions. It’s a way to make things fair when someone gets hurt or loses something because of someone else’s actions as a result of personal injury claims.

In Australia, when someone gets hurt in an accident or because of someone else’s actions, there’s a system to help them. This system is here to make things right. It gives money to people who got hurt, so they can recover their losses and feel like they got justice.

This money comes in two main types: special damages and general damages. They each have a different job in the legal system. Special damages are for the specific costs people had because of the injury, like medical bills or lost wages.

General damages are for the hard things to put a price on like the pain and suffering someone went through. General damages can include things like post-traumatic stress disorder and emotional distress. Both of these types of money are important to make sure people get treated fairly when they’re hurt.

Different types of special damages

Special damages, which are also known as economic damages, are all about the specific and countable money losses in personal injury cases. Generally speaking, these personal injury cases come as a result of someone being injured or being part of a workplace accident.

Personal injury damages are meant to repay the injured person for the real expenses they’ve had to pay because of what happened. In New South Wales, they are regulated under the Civil Liabilites Act of 2002. The main idea behind special damages is to make sure that, at least in terms of money, the injured person is put back in the same financial situation they were in before the injury.

Special damages cover different things, these include:

Medical Expenses:

This is one of the most common parts of special damages. It includes all the money spent on medical treatment like doctor visits, surgeries, hospital stays, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and any other medical treatment needed because of the injury. You might have had to pay these past medical expenses, and there is a good chance these medical expenses were not cheap!

It is important to be able to recover the money back for medical costs that you need to. These expenses can add up quickly so seeking compensation is important. It is also possible, in some cases, to seek compensation for future medical expenses from future medical care they might have to work through.

Loss of Earnings:

Special damages also consider the money that the person couldn’t earn due to the injury. This includes both lost wages that the person has already faced as a result of personal injury, and lost wages that might also be lost in the future! For instance, if someone has to take time off work to recover or can’t work as they did before because of the injury, the wages they couldn’t earn are included as special damages.

Property Damage:

In cases where the injury results in damage to the injured person’s property, like their car in a car accident, special damages can cover the cost of fixing or replacing the property damage. By being able to seek compensation for property damage, the law ensures that the individual doesn’t have to bear the financial responsibility of restoring their property to its pre-accident condition.

Travel Expenses:

If the injury requires frequent travel for medical appointments, the expenses associated with transportation, parking, and other travel-related costs can be part of special damages. These expenses might often be overlooked but can significantly burden the injured person’s finances.

Assistive Devices:

Special damages may also encompass the costs related to acquiring or renting devices that assist the injured person, such as wheelchairs, crutches, or home modifications to accommodate their needs. This aspect of special damages aims to guarantee that the injured person can maintain a good quality of life despite their injury.

Care and Assistance:

In situations where the person requires extra care or help with their daily activities, the cost of these services may be included as special damages. This could involve in-home healthcare, nursing care, or other forms of assistance.

Loss of Future Earning Capacity:

If the injury has a long-lasting effect on the injured person’s ability to earn income you can also seek compensation for this! The law here helps you by ensuring that harm suffered and the loss of future earning capacity can be factored into special damages. This is especially relevant when the injury significantly affects the person’s career or job prospects.

Other Out-of-Pocket Expenses:

Special damages are flexible and can include any other costs directly linked to the injury. This might involve expenses for therapy, job retraining, or changes made to the injured person’s home to meet their needs.

What sets special damages apart is that they can be counted, and there is clear evidence supporting them, such as bills, receipts, and medical records. The goal is to fully compensate the person for their actual financial losses so that they don’t have to bear the entire financial burden of the injury. These damages aim to make sure that individuals are made financially whole after their ordeal.

What are general damages compared to special damages in personal injury cases?

General damages, also known as non-economic damages, are about the hard things to put a price on, like the pain and suffering you go through because of an injury. The Judicial Commission of New South Wales helps clarify this.

General damages aim to compensate you for the emotional distress, physical pain, and loss of enjoyment of life that the injury has caused. Unlike special damages, which cover specific money losses like medical bills and lost wages, general damages don’t have a clear dollar value. They are more about acknowledging the human side of the injury and trying to make things better for you emotionally.

So, while special damages are all about the specific costs you faced because of the injury, general damages are more about the things you can’t see on a bill or a receipt. They’re about making sure you’re compensated for the ways the injury has impacted your life beyond just the money. General damages are also an important part of your claim compensation process and something that a skilled personal injury lawyer, like those at Jameson Law, can help you out with.

How are special damages calculated in personal injury claims?

In New South Wales, special damages are all about figuring out the specific money you lost due to an injury or accident. This means gathering proof of things like medical bills, repair costs, travel expenses, and any income you couldn’t earn because of the injury.

You’ll need to show your average earnings before the injury and the time you had to take off work. If you need rehab or care, keep records of those expenses too. The goal is to pay you back for the real costs you faced, and you do this by collecting bills, receipts, and other records to show the money you lost. Expert personal injury lawyers, like those at Jameson Law, can help you through every step of this process.

What are the special damages in a personal injury claim?

The special damages claim covers prescription costs travel costs, and sometimes even wages lost. If your injuries left you unemployed and you lost income in the process the special damages included losses in your earnings.


The key difference between general and special damages is that special damages compensate for specific, quantifiable financial losses, like medical bills and lost income, while general damages address intangible losses such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

In New South Wales, there is no specific statutory limit on the amount of special damages compensation. The compensation awarded for special damages varies depending on the individual case and the extent of the verifiable financial losses incurred due to an injury or accident.


02 8806 0866

Book Online


Explore More Legal Resources and Articles

Public Liability Claim Guide

Definition of a Public Liability Claim A public liability claim is claim for compensation to cover the losses incurred as a result of sustaining an


Book your consultation

Scroll to Top