If we talk about the definition of damage in informal terms, it refers to physical harm that impairs the value and/or integrity of something. But in formal legal terms, legal damages refer to a form of monetary compensation to the party who has been wronged.


This very article will help you to understand the legal definition of damages and why it matters. Furthermore, we’ll also cover some of the types related to damages’ legal definition.

Let’s explore all about legal damages.


 

What’s Damages’ Legal Definition in Terms of Law?


The common law worldwide refers to damages as a remedy in the form of money for loss or injury for the innocent party.


Legally, damages is the sum of money the law imposes to the guilty party for breaching or violating the rights of another party. But in order to receive the award, the claimant must be able to show the loss.


Damages to be really recognized at the court of law, the loss must involve some sort of destruction to property, finances, a living being (mentally or physically), and other tangible things.


We have now covered the definition of legal damages; let’s move forward and learn about its types.


Types of Legal Damages


Damages’ legal definition in terms of law branches out into two types - compensatory and punitive. The term damages represent both compensatory and punitive damages. But when the term actual damages is brought into the discussion, it’s linked with the compensatory kind, not the punitive. We know that’s a lot to take in; let’s explore both types!


Compensatory/Actual Damages


As the name suggests, compensatory damages are meant to settle an incident in terms of compensation. Actual or compensatory damages refer to the settlement between the two parties who have been involved in an injury or loss scenario.


For instance, if someone in a vehicle hits a pedestrian who’s walking on the sidewalk, the pedestrian is likely entitled to compensation in the form of damages. The parties can settle the incident in-person for a monetary value exchange. This is the prime example of compensatory/actual damages.   


Punitive Damages


Unlike compensatory damages where both parties are ready to settle, punitive damages are awarded to punish a wrongdoer who isn’t ready to compromise or cooperate. The law punishes such a person by applying a penalty that’s formally known as punitive damages.


For instance, if the driver of the vehicle strikes the pedestrian on the sidewalk, then flees the scene of the incident, the driver may face additional punitive damages cost. The court will find that particular culprit and impose a penalty on them to make sure the pedestrian receives additional financial relief.


Other Types of Damages


In law, nominal damages refer to little compensation like a few dollars. Nominal damages are imposed in cases where there’s no substantial loss of finance. Additionally, liquidated damages serve the purpose of contractually established damages.


Why Does All This Matter?


Learning a thing or two about the legal definition of damages can help you later in life to deal with accidents, casualties, and other incidents. And at the end of the day, it’s about knowing about your rights and adequately exercising them in scenarios where you have been wronged by another party.


If you ever need help with any personal injury-related law, reach out to Erjavec Injury Law at our External link opens in new tab or windowwebsite or by calling 941-907-1133.