What are general damages?

The general rule of damages in tort is that the injured party may recover for all detriment caused whether it could have been anticipated or not. (Code of Civ. Proc., § 3333; Hunt Bros. Co. v. San Lorenzo etc. Co. [(1906)] 150 Cal. 51, 56.) The recoverable damages include “special” or “general” damages. (Beeman v. Burling (1990) 216 Cal.App.3d 1586, 1601.)

Special and General Damages

“Special” damages consist of all economic (i.e., out-of-pocket) losses caused by the injury that can be documented by bills, receipts, and other records. (Id. at 1599.)

“General” damages consist of the noneconomic or intangible losses that result from the injury complained of, such as pain and suffering and other forms of loss that are subjective and not directly quantifiable by reference to bills or receipts. (Id.) General damages “may be proved under the ad damnum clause or general allegation of damage.” (Zvolanek v. Bodger Seeds, Ltd. (1935) 5 Cal.App.2d 106, 108; Treadwell v. Whittier (1889) 80 Cal. 574, 579.)

A plaintiff must present evidentiary facts, not conclusions, regarding general damages; the types of evidence supporting an award of general damages include evidence disclosing that plaintiff suffered severe pain following the incident, “presently suffers from pain on a daily basis which creates functional lifestyle limitations, and will have chronic pain for the rest of [his] life.” (Westphal v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 68 Cal.App.4th 1071, 1080 (1998).)

It “has traditionally been left to the trier of fact to assess the degree of harm suffered and to fix a monetary amount as just compensation.” (Walnut Creek Manor v. Fair Employment & Housing Com., 54 Cal.3d 245, 263 (1991).) For example, “the law does not prescribe a definite standard or method to calculate compensation for pain and suffering. The jury is merely required to award an amount that is reasonable in light of the evidence.” (Damele v. Mack Trucks, 219 Cal.App.3d 29, 38 (1990).)

Useful Rulings on General Damages

Recent Rulings on General Damages

JINGXUAN ZHANG VS HUMMINGBIRD NEST ENTERTAINMENT CORP

The following defects are noted: Again, the Judicial Council Request for Entry of Default Form CIV-100 identifies the following amounts: $43,610 as “[d]emand of complaint,” $35,642.50 in general damages, $4,355.00 in interest, $3,210.69 in costs and $1,698.00 in attorney fees; however, the “TOTALS” amount is listed as $39,997.50 (the above figures, however, total $80,548.69).

  • Hearing

    Oct 19, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Other Employment

STEPHEN ALAN GREEN VS AXIALL CORPORATION, ET AL

Damages claims; · Plaintiffs' Loss of Earnings claims; and · Loss of Consortium Damages claims.

  • Hearing

    Sep 29, 2020

  • Judge

    H. Jay Ford

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

DEMETRIO HARO, ET AL. VS C&P PROPERTIES #1, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

Merits – Page 18, Lines 10-12 of the FAC states: "For compensatory/general damages in the amount not less than $100,000.00 and according to proof;". (FAC, 18:10-12.) Defendant argues that the non-economic damages requested in the FAC relating to emotional distress are disallowed in real property cases, citing Erlich v. Menezes (1999) 21 Cal.4th 543, 555-558.

  • Hearing

    Sep 25, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Landlord Tenant

ANNE MOOORE VS VERMONT HEALTHCARE CENTER, LLC, ET AL.

Attorneys’ Fees and General DamagesPlaintiff’s prayers for attorneys’ fees and general damages rise and fall with her cause of action for elder abuse. Because the cause of action survives demurrer, the motion to strike is denied. c. $500 Violations, Interest, and Costs Defendants move to strike the prayer for $500/statutory violation, as well as for interest and costs. Defendants fail, however, to brief these issues. Their motion to strike is therefore denied. d.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

ALVAREZ VS ZOOK

The employment attendance records are relevant to the plaintiff’s claims for general damages, since pain is likely to affect attendance.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

GIANCARLO BARRIOS VS DAVID PADILLA ESCALERA, JR., ET AL.

The requested general damages are reasonable considering the injuries and special damages Plaintiffs sustained. As such, the applications filed on June 1, 2020 are properly approved. CONCLUSION The applications for default judgment filed on June 1, 2020 against Defendants are APPROVED. Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

  • Hearing

    Sep 22, 2020

LARISA GALSTYAN VS LUSINE KHACHIKYAN ET AL

Second, there is insufficient evidence showing an award of $1,000,000.00 in general damages would compensate Plaintiff for the non-economic injuries Plaintiff has sustained. General damages are intended to compensate for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-quantifiable damages that flow from quantifiable damages. (See Licudine v. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 881, 892.)

  • Hearing

    Sep 22, 2020

EVITT JAUREGUI VS ARTURO MARTINEZ ET AL

Plaintiff’s request for $300,000.00 in general damages is reasonable considering the pain and suffering Plaintiff declares to in support of the application. As such the application for default judgment filed on June 12, 2020 is properly approved. CONCLUSION The application for default judgment filed on June 12, 2020 is APPROVED. The Court awards $330,705.00 in Plaintiff’s favor against Defendants Arturo Martinez, Martha Martinez, and Jose Martinez. Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

  • Hearing

    Sep 22, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

ZAKIR SARANG VS FOX RENT A CAR, INC., ET AL.

Here, the complaint requests: lost wages, overtime and related employment benefits Special damages Medical expenses Attorney fees Punitive Damages General damages Compensatory Damages Restitution of all monies due to Plaintiff and disgorgement of profits from the unlawful business practices of defendants Jury trial Costs Interest Declaratory Relief stating the violations that Defendants committed as to the FEHA and public policy Penalties Waiting time penalties Premium Pay Penalties under Labor

  • Hearing

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

  • Judge Elaine Lu
  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

EVAN PIERCE VS STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (CALTRANS), A PUBLIC ENTITY, ET AL.

Plaintiff’s statement of damages to the Association notes that Plaintiff seeks $15 million in general damages and $5 million in special damages against the Association. (See City Ex. D.) The settlement amount--$3.25 million paid out by State Farm Insurance Company --is only 16.25 % of the total of the $20 million that Plaintiff seeks from the non-settling defendants.

  • Hearing

    Sep 17, 2020

TONYA BATES WILSON VS TIONG SAN LIEM ET AL

Counsel’s declaration also states that “[b]ased on the current and limited information we have, as a result of the subject incident, Plaintiff is alleging medical damages in the amount of approximately $15,000,” but she is continuing to treat for her injuries and is claiming other categories of damages, including general damages. The Court concludes that the Liems have not met their initial burden of showing that the $5,000 is out of the ballpark of Cardenas’ liability.

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

BENGT PETERSON VS STONELEDGE FURNITURE LLC

Moreover, Defendant argues general damages for emotional distress are not available on Plaintiff’s causes of action for Breach of Contract, Negligence or Elder Abuse because this case arises from the loss of personal property. The court agrees Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to constitute general damages. “Damages for mental suffering and emotional distress are generally not recoverable in an action for breach of an ordinary commercial contract in California.” (Erlich v.

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • Judge

    Paul A. Bacigalupo or Virginia Keeny

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

LAWSON VS. JUDICIAL COUNCIL

Petitioner seeks $2,000 for the cost of the report, $4,500 in attorney’s fees incurred attempting to obtain it, and general damages in excess of $25,000. (Ibid.) Respondent returned petitioner’s government claim on March 15, 2019, stating it was untimely, based on an accrual date of October 19, 2017, the date of the first Alameda County court hearing. (Ex. C to Lawson Decl.) Subsequently, petitioner presented an application for late claim relief on September 14, 2019.

  • Hearing

    Sep 03, 2020

PAUL RICHARD V. LADERA PLAZA, ET AL.

Plaintiff seeks damages for wage loss, medical expenses, property damages, and general damages. GMC now moves pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 428.10, 428.30 and 428.50, for an order granting leave to file a Cross-Complaint for equitable indemnity and declaratory relief against Eric Ford Shepherd (“Dr. Shepherd”) and Roes 1 through 100, inclusive. (Exh. A to Motion.) GMC argues that Dr. Shepherd performed the amputation of Plaintiff’s leg, and that Dr.

  • Hearing

    Sep 03, 2020

WAYNE H. PLATT INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CO-TRUSTEES OF THE PLATT FAMILY TRUST DATED NOVEMBER 7, 2000,, ET AL. VS OAKHURST INCOME FUND I, LP, A DELAWARE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, ET AL.

Issue No.2: General Damages under California Business and Professions Code, Section 17200 Moving Defendant asserts that paragraph 195 in the FAC, which alleges general damages pursuant to the fourteenth cause of action, should be stricken. In their opposition to Moving Defendant’s motion to strike, Plaintiffs consent to striking such paragraph. Thus, the Court GRANTS Moving Defendant’s motion to strike with 20 days leave to amend. Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

  • Hearing

    Sep 03, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Foreclosure

ALTAGARCIA PERALTA VS FIRST IMAGE NURSERY, LLC ET AL

The Court is inclined to continue the Order to Show Cause re: Entry of Default Judgment to allow Plaintiff to address deficiencies in the Request for Entry of Default Judgment.While the request for default judgment specifies a request for $250,000 in general damages and $25,000 in special damages, this amount is not supported in the First Amended Complaint. The First Amended Complaint does not plead any specific amount of damages.

  • Hearing

    Sep 02, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

FERNANDO MORAN GONZALEZ VS JORGE OCTAVIO HERERRA ET AL

Request for Admission #16: “Admit that the reasonable amount that would compensate the Plaintiff for General Damages stemming from the incident is at least $50,000” – Denied. This RFA effectively seeks premature disclosure of expert opinion. In the alternative, the Court finds that Defendant’s response is sufficient for purposes of Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.220(c). Form Interrogatory #17.1 – Denied. CONCLUSION AND ORDER Plaintiff’s motions to compel further responses are denied.

  • Hearing

    Sep 02, 2020

SHEYNA BURNS VS FELICIA KELLEY

Plaintiff seeks judgment in the total amount of $149,260.60, comprising $136,240 in general damages, $5,250 in special damages, $731.60 in costs, and $7,039 in attorney fees. The Court notes a number of defects with the submitted default judgment package. “A complaint . . . shall contain . . . the following: . . . . (2) A demand for judgment for the relief to which the pleader claims to be entitled. If the recovery of money or damages is demanded, the amount demanded shall be stated.” ((Code Civ.

  • Hearing

    Aug 28, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

CARLOS CHAVEZ VS SECURITY AMERICA INC

(2) The specific cause(s) of action and legal authority in support entitling Plaintiff to general damages. (3) The specific cause(s) of action and legal authority in support that general damages are to be calculated as a multiplier of two on Plaintiff’s loss of income. The court will hear argument on these points at the continued hearing on 10/30/20. Dated: ____________________________ Gregory Alarcon Superior Court Judge

  • Hearing

    Aug 28, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

MARKS HOUSE, LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY VS HEATHER ALLEN

ANALYSIS: The request FOR Entry of Default Judgement is GRANTED as indicated below: Default Judgment Category Amount Requested Amount Granted Demand of Complaint $34,924.00 $34,924.00 General Damages $0.00 $0.00 Special Damages $0.00 $0.00 Interest $0.00 $0.00 Costs $435.00 $435.00 Attorney's fees $0.00 $0.00 $35,359.00 $35,359.00

  • Hearing

    Aug 26, 2020

ALBERTO CORTES VS ORBITA CORP ET AL

., general damages re: discrimination. All other amounts including costs and fees are allowed. Counsel is to prepare a new order with the corrections for the Court's signature. The new amount totals $106,986.03.

  • Hearing

    Aug 25, 2020

  • Type

    Employment

  • Sub Type

    Wrongful Term

MIRIAM STOSSER VS ATRIA SENIOR LIVING, INC., ET AL.

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff, Miriam Stosser RELIEF REQUESTED Demurrer to the Complaint · 1st Cause of Action: Statutory Elder Abuse and Neglect Motion to Strike · Allegations in support of, and claim for, punitive damages · Prejudgment Interest, Treble Damages, General Damages SUMMARY OF ACTION Plaintiff Miriam Stosser was a resident in an assisted living facility owned and/or operated by Defendants Atria Senior Living, Inc. and Atria Santa Clarita.

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

SIMON PANTOJA ET AL. VS WORLD EVENTS INSURANCE SOLUTIONS ET AL.

Pantoja’s medical specials, wage loss, general damages and emotional distress as stated in paragraph 18, which is not correct for any of the causes of action alleged in the current FAC, see e.g., ¶¶ 24, 28, 32, because those damages are Mr. Pantoja’s personal injury damages. The damages in these assigned causes of action are for Hanzalik’s loss of third party liability coverage to defend him against Mr. Pantoja’s personal injury claim and compensate Mr. Pantoja’s damages if appropriate.

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

PACIFIC ANVEST ENTERPRISES, LLC A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY VS COASTLINE EQUITY, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

Plaintiff has suffered general damages in the amount of $27,000, as this is the minimum amount plaintiff was able to calculate it is owed from the co-mingled accounting provided by defendants. Id., ¶22. Plaintiff is also entitled to recover from defendants all amounts paid by it to defendants from August 28, 2013, the date defendants began controlling security deposit funds, through October 31, 2018, when the management agreement was ultimately terminated. Id., ¶23.

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

TIMOTHY SCHIRMER VS CHELSEY E FINEGAN

Plaintiff’s indication on his Statement of Damages that his general damages are $75,000 is only a cap on his recovery in the event of a default, and the figure has no evidentiary value. In the court’s experience, cases of this nature rarely, if ever, generate verdicts with general damages anywhere near that figure. CONCLUSION The motion is GRANTED. Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling. The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

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