Compensatory Damages (Tort) - Explained
Damages Made to Make Whole
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What Are Compensatory Damages?
Tort plaintiffs may generally recover compensatory damages for injuries or losses suffered as a result of the tortious conduct. As the name implies, these damages are used to compensate the plaintiff for an injury suffered and to make the plaintiff whole again. Compensatory damages may include financial loss, pain and suffering, decreased life expectancy, loss of enjoyment, and loss of life or limb. Calculation of damage awards is made by the jury.
- Note: Juries may employ life expectancy tables and present value discounts in arriving at a damages award.
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Do you have any opinions on how compensatory damages should be calculated? Should any factors other than the harm suffered by the plaintiff be considered? Do you think the award of compensatory damages is always fair? Why or why not? Should there be a cap on damages? Why or why not?
Arthur gets into an automobile accident. He suffers some bruising and a broken ankle. He also has to take leave from work for several months until his ankle fully heals. The doctors are concerned that Arthur could suffer long-term pain and arthritis in the ankle. He sues the other driver for negligence and wins. What do you think the jury will consider in awarding compensatory damages to Arthur?
- Compensatory damages are the sum of money to which a party may be awarded in a trial as compensation for damages or injuries suffered. The compensatory damages are meant to restore the plaintiff to the level they were before the harm was inflicted. To receive compensatory damages, the plaintiff must also be able to quantify the amount of loss in the eyes of the jury or judge. When calculating compensatory damages in a personal injury, the following factors are often considered by the jury:
- The accident victims age.
- The nature and extent of the victim's injuries.
- Whether or not the victim contributed to the cause of the accident.
- The cost associated with the medical treatment of the victim's injuries.
- Any difference in the victims earning capacity before and after the injury.
- Loss of income as a result of the injury.
- Any negative impacts that the injury may have on the victim's quality of life.
- Civil Litigation Procedure (Intro)
- What is a civil lawsuit or civil action?
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- What is standing to sue?
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- Default Judgment
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- Compensatory Damages
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- What is joint and several liability?
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- Amicus Curiae Brief
- How do parties enforce a civil judgment?
- Writ of Attachment
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- What is res judicata