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Definitions of damages

  1. Money awarded by a court of law on account of loss or injury to property, or injury to person, through the fault of another. Etymological and pronouncing dictionary of the English language. By Stormonth, James, Phelp, P. H. Published 1874.
  2. In a lawsuit, money awarded to one party based on injury or loss caused by the other. There are many different types or categories of damages that occasionally overlap, including: compensatory damages Damages that cover actual injury or economic loss. Compensatory damages are intended to put the injured party in the position he was in prior to the injury. Compensatory damages typically include medical expenses, lost wages and the repair or replacement of property. Also called "actual damages."general damages Damages intended to cover injuries for which an exact dollar amount cannot be calculated. General damages are usually composed of pain and suffering, but can also include compensation for a shortened life expectancy, loss of the companionship of a loved one and, in defamation cases (libel and slander), loss of reputation. nominal damages A term used when a judge or jury finds in favor of one party to a lawsuit--often because a law requires them to do so--but concludes that no real harm was done and therefore awards a very small amount of money. For example, if one neighbor sues another for libel based on untrue things the second neighbor said about the first, a jury might conclude that although libel technically occurred, no serious damage was done to the first neighbor's reputation and consequentially award nominal damages of $1.00.punitive damages Sometimes called exemplary damages, awarded over and above special and general damages to punish a losing party's willful or malicious misconduct.special damages Damages that cover the winning party's out-of-pocket costs. For example, in a vehicle accident, special damages typically include medical expenses, car repair costs, rental car fees and lost wages. Often called "specials."statutory damages Damages required by statutory law. For example, in many states if a landlord doesn't return a tenant's security deposit in a timely fashion or give a reason why it is being withheld, the state statutes give the judge authority to order the landlord to pay damages of double or triple the amount of the deposit.treble damages Lawyerspeak for triple damages. To penalize lawbreakers, statutes occasionally give judges the power to award the winning party in a civil lawsuit the amount it lost as a result of the other party's illegal conduct, plus damages of three times that amount.

Usage examples for damages

  1. Shall have to pay damages when I settle up with Slaney. – It Happened in Egypt by C. N. Williamson A. M. Williamson
  2. After a hard set- to, lasting about three- quarters of an hour, the Frenchman struck, having lost 50 men killed and 30 wounded, whilst the Eagle lost 10 killed and 80 wounded; and the list of damages to the ship reported to the Admiralty shows that the action was sharp though short. – The Life of Captain James Cook by Arthur Kitson
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