Introduction to Damages

Damages, an award of money that a court of law requires be given to one who has suffered a loss, injury, or invasion of a legal right (as when one party to a contract does not fulfill its obligations) as a result of the act of another.

Damages may be compensatory or punitive. Compensatory damages, the most usual type, are intended to place the injured party in the position the person would have occupied if no injury had occurred. Thus, one who has been wronged by the failure to meet the terms of a contract is awarded as damages a sum equal to the profits that would have been earned if no breach had occurred. In accident cases arising out of negligence the theory is that the damages compensate for such more or less measurable elements of loss as medical expenses and impaired earning capacity and also for the intrinsically immeasurable element of pain and suffering. Alternatively, compensatory damages may be trivial or nominal, to indicate disapproval of an action, such as trespass, from which no damage results. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer by obligating him or her to pay a sum in addition to the amount of compensatory damages. Provision for double or treble damages is usually embodied in statutes. Punitive damages are allowed in only a few types of lawsuits, including those for libel and slander.” (1)

Damages in International Trade

Meaning of Damages, according to the Dictionary of International Trade (Global Negotiator): A monetary amount claimed and awarded to a person for loss or injury to the person or the person’s property. Various types of damages may sought depending on the circumstances of the injury or loss, including:

Actual: compensation for amounts in fact incurred.

Expectation: compensation for amounts that a person could have reasonably anticipated receiving from a transaction had it not failed.

Incidental: expenses reasonably incurred by mitigating, or otherwise in association with losses.

Liquidated: an amount fixed by contract as reasonable compensation in the event a party defaults.

See liquidated damages.

Expulsion, Damages

From the book The Clergyman’s Hand-book of Law, about Expulsion, Damages (1): A man who has been wrongfully expelled from a temperance society for religious reasons may recover damages therefor.347

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Damages in Private International Law

This section contain conflict of laws information and cross references related to damages on some major countries and additional jurisdictions. It covers key issues involved when citizens face international situations. Information on private international law cases and courts related to damages is provided here. Details on private international law books are available here.


See Also

  • Personnel
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Military Personnel
  • Law Practice Management
  • Job
  • Labor Law
  • Labor Right
  • Employment Contract


See Also

Further Reading

  • Jan Von Hein, “Damages”, Encyclopedia of Private International Law, Edward Elgar, 2017


Notes and References

  1. Charles M. Scanlan, The Clergyman’s Hand-book of Law. The Law of Church and Grave (1909), Benziger Brothers, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago

See Also

  • Religion
  • Church


Notes and References

Guide to Damages

Hierarchical Display of Damages

Law > Civil law > Civil law > Liability
Law > Criminal law > Criminal liability > Victim
Law > Justice > Judicial proceedings > Criminal procedure > Restorative justice


Concept of Damages

See the dictionary definition of Damages.

Characteristics of Damages

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Translation of Damages

Thesaurus of Damages

Law > Civil law > Civil law > Liability > Damages
Law > Criminal law > Criminal liability > Victim > Damages
Law > Justice > Judicial proceedings > Criminal procedure > Restorative justice > Damages

See also