Damages (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Monetary compensation that is awarded by a court in a civil action to an individual who has been injured through the wrongful conduct of another party.
Damages attempt to measure in financial terms the extent of harm a plaintiff has suffered because of a defendant's actions. Damages are distinguishable from costs, which are the expenses incurred as a result of bringing a lawsuit and which the court may order the losing party to pay. Damages also differ from the verdict, which is the final decision issued by a jury.
The purpose of damages is to restore an injured party to the position the party was in before being harmed. As a result, damages are generally regarded as remedial rather than preventive or punitive. However, PUNITIVE DAMAGES may be awarded for particular types of wrongful conduct. Before an individual can recover damages, the injury suffered must be one recognized by law as warranting redress, and must have actually been sustained by the individual.
The law recognizes three major categories of damages: COMPENSATORY DAMAGES, which are intended to restore what a plaintiff has lost as a result of a defendant's wrongful conduct; nominal damages, which consist of a small sum awarded to a plaintiff who has suffered no substantial loss or injury but has nevertheless experienced an...
(The entire section is 2950 words.)
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Damages (Great American Court Cases)
Damages are a civil judicial remedy used to monetarily compensate a party for injuries caused by the wrongful conduct of another, resulting in loss, injury, or other detriment to one's person, property, or rights. Damages are awarded to a plaintiff for losses caused either by a defendant's conduct or to provide a remedy for the breach of a contractual relationship. Damages are sometimes also used to punish outrageous conduct and deter future misconduct. Damages are only one category of remedies; other remedies include restitution (restoring something to its rightful owner); injunctive relief (forbidding a party to do an act); mandamus (requiring a party to do an act); and declaratory relief (a judicial decision setting forth the legal rights of respective parties even when no further relief is ordered).
Damages are traditionally awarded in American dollars and are generally made in a single lump-sum payment. The one-time payment is meant to compensate for both past harms as well as those anticipated in the future. Although making only one payment simplifies administration, the amount of the judgement may prove insufficient in six months or ten years. Not only must the award accurately reflect compensation for future harm, it must also include calculations for future inflation and make reductions to present value for payments made now.
(The entire section is 1953 words.)