damages


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Wikipedia.
Related to damages: Consequential damages

damages,

money award that the judgment of a court requires the defendant in a suit to pay to the plaintiff as compensation for the loss or injury inflicted. Damages are the form of legal redress most commonly sought. With a few exceptions, English courts of law traditionally afforded only this remedy, while the grant of damages in courts of equityequity,
principles of justice originally developed by the English chancellor. In Anglo-American jurisprudence equitable principles and remedies are distinguished from the older system that the common law courts evolved.
..... Click the link for more information.
 was solely incidental to other relief, such as injunctioninjunction,
in law, order of a court directing a party to perform a certain act or to refrain from an act or acts. The injunction, which developed as the main remedy in equity, is used especially where money damages would not satisfy a plaintiff's claim, or to protect personal
..... Click the link for more information.
. The purpose of damages is to compensate the injured party for the loss that he has suffered and will probably suffer from the defendant's illegal conduct. Thus, in a suit for physical injuries the plaintiff may seek recovery for the pain he endured and his accrued medical expenses and for probable loss of earnings due to disability during the period of his incapacity. In suing for breach of contract the plaintiff need not prove the extent of his loss if the contract specified the "liquidated" damages, i.e., the probable loss from breach. Where there is a question as to the amount of damages, the jury usually makes the assessment. While the ordinary object of damages is simply to compensate the injured party to the extent of the injury, where there was fraud or deliberate wrongdoing, exemplary or punitive damages may be allowed. Many statutes thus provide for double or treble damages. In some instances where the extent of the loss cannot be determined or the injury is slight, nominal damages (e.g., a dollar) may be granted. Usually the losing party is required to reimburse the winning party for having put him to legal expense. In England reasonable counsel fees are recoverable, while in the United States only those expenses fixed by statute are recoverable. In some U.S. states, however, even the winning party may be required to pay compensation if by delay or other improper conduct he added to his opponent's legal costs. When damages and legal costs are awarded they become a lienlien,
claim or charge held by one party, on property owned by a second party, as security for payment of some debt, obligation, or duty owed by that second party. A lien may arise by agreement between the parties or by operation of law from the relation of the parties or the
..... Click the link for more information.
 on the debtor's property, which the creditor may seize and sell if the debtor does not meet his obligation. In some states, if the debtor attempts to put his property out of reach, an injunction ordering him to pay may be issued. During the 1990s conservatives pursuing "tort reform" prevailed on many state legislatures to enact laws limiting damages, but state courts have consistently voided these laws as violations of state constitutional guarantees of open court systems.

Damages

 

(also losses), in civil law, undesirable consequences to the property of a party to civil legal relations, resulting from a violation of law committed by another party.

In Soviet law, the definition of damages is given in civil legislation (art. 36 of the Basic Principles of Civil Legislation of the USSR and the Union Republics and art. 219 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR) in the general provisions on responsibility for breach of obligations. Damages include expenses incurred by the creditor, loss of or harm to the creditor’s property, and profits that the creditor would have obtained if the obligation had been performed by the debtor. Thus, the law affirms the principle of full compensation for damages, on the basis of which obligations arising as the result of the causing of harm are also regulated. Exceptions to this principle, expressed in the establishment of limited financial responsibility for the nonperformance or improper performance of obligations, may be provided by legislation or by agreement of the parties. Such agreements are not permitted between socialist organizations if the extent of responsibility for a given type of obligation is exactly defined by law.

In certain cases the debtor is obligated by law to compensate the creditor only for damages of a specific type. Thus, a party that has violated obligations under a construction contract must compensate the other party for such damages as expenses incurred by the latter or loss of or injury to the latter’s property. Under certain circumstances the limit of the debtor’s liability is established in advance. For example, for damages caused by a motor freight organization in the shipment of freight and baggage, the organization’s responsibility is as follows: (1) in case of loss or shortage of freight or baggage, in the amount of the value of the lost or short freight or baggage; (2) in case of damage to freight or baggage, in the amount by which the value was reduced; and (3) in case of loss of freight or baggage shipped with a declared value, in the amount of the declared value, unless it is shown to be less than the actual value.

The recovery of damages is also allowed outside of legal relations of obligation. The civil codes of the Union republics (for example, art. 500 of the Civil Code of the RSFSR) give an author or his legal successor the right to demand compensation for damages, as in the case of illegal use of a work without the consent of the author. Compensation for damages is also possible in the case of recovery by the owner of property from illegal possession by another.

liquidated damages

A sum specified in a contract whereby damages in the event of breach are to be determined. In a construction contract, liquidated damages usually are specified as a fixed sum per day for failure to complete the work, 1 within a specified time. If set at a level consistent with a reasonable forecast of actual harm to the owner, liquidated damage clauses will be upheld and will preclude use of standards for computation of damages that would otherwise be imposed by law. If the amount prescribed for liquidated damages is unreasonably high, the provision will be denominated an illegal “penalty” by the courts and held invalid; in such case, damages will be determined pursuant to otherwise applicable rules of law.
References in classic literature ?
After this he alluded professionally to the damage done to the ship, and went on thus:
Damages, gentlemen--heavy damages is the only punishment with which you can visit him; the only recompense you can award to my client.
One night there was a beautiful electric storm, though not enough rain fell to damage the cut grain.
You are burnt beyond recognition," he added, looking at his wife as one looks at a valuable piece of personal property which has suffered some damage.
The twins considered that success in the election would reinstate them, and that defeat would work them irreparable damage.
The Finches spent their money foolishly (the Hotel we dined at was in Covent-garden), and the first Finch I saw, when I had the honour of joining the Grove, was Bentley Drummle: at that time floundering about town in a cab of his own, and doing a great deal of damage to the posts at the street corners.
Now the buildings of the outer court were at least five feet high, and it was impossible for me to stride over them without infinite damage to the pile, though the walls were strongly built of hewn stone, and four inches thick.
But all the same, she has forgotten one person, who will certainly kill you if you fall asleep and let the wolves damage the tree.
The curate as a sensible man made sound reflections upon the whole affair, and congratulated each upon his good fortune; but the one that was in the highest spirits and good humour was the landlady, because of the promise Cardenio and the curate had given her to pay for all the losses and damage she had sustained through Don Quixote's means.
Further, the enemy would naturally on his arrival at once burn and ruin the country at the time when the spirits of the people are still hot and ready for the defence; and, therefore, so much the less ought the prince to hesitate; because after a time, when spirits have cooled, the damage is already done, the ills are incurred, and there is no longer any remedy; and therefore they are so much the more ready to unite with their prince, he appearing to be under obligations to them now that their houses have been burnt and their possessions ruined in his defence.
Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on them; and make trouble for them, and keep them constantly engaged; hold out specious allurements, and make them rush to any given point.
No matter what the damage was, but it was serious enough to induce me to go aloft myself with a couple of hands and the carpenter to see the temporary repairs properly done.