Special Damages in a Personal Injury Claim

After an accident resulting in personal injury, a plaintiff may incur out of pocket for expenses related to the accident over the course of their recovery. Such costs are referred to as special damages and are recoverable from the at fault party’s insurer to the extent that they are reasonable and related to the accident.

Proving Special Damages

Special damages must be proven, and the onus lies on the Plaintiff to do so. In contrast to general damages for one’s pain and suffering, special damages are more tangible and are typically substantiated by invoices or bank statements.

Types of Recoverable Expenses

There are a wide range of expenses that a plaintiff may incur over the course of their injury claim, including:

  1. Treatment costs for physio, massage, chiropractic, dental, counselling, and attendance at rehabilitation facilities.

  2. Uncovered diagnostic costs for medical imaging;

  3. Costs of medications or orthopedic devices, both past and future;

  4. Transportation costs to travel to and from medical appointments, either using one’s own vehicle or by taxi, bus, etc., and associated parking;

  5. Costs for retraining or forfeited tuition;

  6. Replacement costs for property damage to clothing, glasses, or to your vehicle to the extent that you were not indemnified by your insurer or otherwise; and

  7. Costs for a hired house cleaner or yard maintenance service.

Non-compensable Expenses

If incurred expenses are either unreasonable or not causally linked to the subject accident, they will not be compensable. To prevent double recovery, any expenses that are incurred but covered by an insurer, extended health care plan, or other benefits, will not be recoverable.

As a simple example, if a hypothetical Plaintiff sustained injuries following a car accident solely to his back, it would not be reasonable for them to purchase an elbow brace and then claim for the associated costs. Similarly, if a Plaintiff’s injuries do not prevent them from being able to mow their lawn, it would be unreasonable to hire a landscaping company to do so, and then claim those costs from the Defendant.

How an Injury Lawyer Can Help Calculate Special Damages

Calculating special damages is relatively straightforward as most of such costs are tangible in nature and therefore accompanied by an invoice. Accordingly, it is exceedingly important that a Plaintiff diligently track and manage any and all out-of-pocket expenses that they incur over the course of their claim and keep all associated invoices. Such information can be provided to your personal injury lawyer who will determine which expenses are claimable and calculate interest thereon.  

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