damages

  

Definition

Compensation for causing loss or injury through negligence or a deliberate act, or a court's estimate or award of a sum as a fine for breach of a contract or of a statutory duty. Types of damages include (1) General: damages that are presumed in law and follow indirectly from a wrong. They need not be specifically-claimed or proved to have been sustained, and are awarded also where an injury or loss (such as physical pain and mental anguish) cannot be precisely estimated. (2) Special (or specific): damages that are not presumed in law and are a direct result of an action or injury, such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, and repair bills, that can be assessed with fair accuracy. Such damages must be expressly claimed and proved. (3) Nominal: trifling sum awarded where a legal injury has occurred but has not resulted in a significant loss. (4) Substantial: where the aim of a court award is to restore a plaintiff to his or her economic position prior to the injury or loss. (5) Punitive (or exemplary): additional and heavy damages awarded where a court believes a defendant acted in a fraudulent, malicious, reckless, or violent manner, and therefore must be made an example of. (6) Liquidated: damages awarded where a contract provides for an exact sum to paid as compensation in case of a breach of contract, and describes conditions that constitute a breach. (7) Unliquidated: where the court has to decide the sum to be paid as compensation in case of a breach of contract, what constitutes a breach, and whether a breach actually occurred.

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