Compensatory Damages


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Compensatory Damages

A sum of money awarded in a civil action by a court to indemnify a person for the particular loss, detriment, or injury suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct of another.

Compensatory damages provide a plaintiff with the monetary amount necessary to replace what was lost, and nothing more. They differ from Punitive Damages, which punish a defendant for his or her conduct as a deterrent to the future commission of such acts. In order to be awarded compensatory damages, the plaintiff must prove that he or she has suffered a legally recognizable harm that is compensable by a certain amount of money that can be objectively determined by a judge or jury.

One of the more heated issues facing the U.S. legal system during the past quarter century has been the call for reform of states' tort laws. health care providers and other organizations have sought to limit the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive for pain and suffering because they claim that large jury awards in Medical Malpractice cases cause premiums on medical insurance policies to rise, thus raising the overall costs of medical services. California took the lead in addressing concerns with rising medical costs when it enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 3333.2 (1997). The act limits the recoverable amount for non-economic loss, such as pain and suffering, to $250,000 in actions based on professional Negligence against certain health care providers. Although the statute has been the subject of numerous court challenges, it remains the primary example of a state's efforts to curb medical costs through tort reform.

Other states have sought to follow California's lead, though efforts to limit compensatory damages have met with considerable resistance. Opponents claim that because these limitations greatly restrict the ability of juries and courts to analyze the true damage that plaintiffs have suffered, defendants avoid paying an amount equal to the harm inflicted upon the plaintiffs. Medical organizations, such as the American Medical Association, continue to advocate for limitations on damages, however, and they have sought to encourage state legislatures to enact such provisions.

Cross-references

Damages.

compensatory damages

n. damages recovered in payment for actual injury or economic loss, which does not include punitive damages (as added damages due to malicious or grossly negligent act). (See: damages, special damages, general damages, punitive damages).

References in periodicals archive ?
Let's look at the definition of compensatory damages, since our policy refers specifically to them.
(51) As to his First Amendment freedom of religion claim, the court merely noted that freedom of religious belief was not absolute and does not extend to permitting "injuries to the 'equal rights of others.'" (52) It also held that any error on the part of the district judge in not instructing the jury about corporal punishment as a complete defense to battery was harmless and did not affect the amount of compensatory damages. (53) With regard to Alamo's claim that his conduct did not rise to the level of outrage, the court held that they did not have the power to review this point because it was not preserved for appeal.
If all claims are consolidated for trial, and the punitive damage multiplier is based on a representative group of plaintiffs' evidence of compensatory damages, a multiplier may be assessed for its reasonableness based on the representative group's damages following that initial trial.
US District Judge Carl Barbier, who oversees multistate litigation over the spill, agreed with Transocean that the Swiss driller was not responsible for compensatory damage claims raised by third parties for oil spilled below the ocean surface.
Malpractice damages are of two sorts, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
that the compensatory damages remedy does not adequately protect the
CASE sought $3 million in actual and compensatory damages. After reviewing the case, the three-member arbitration panel ordered Prudential Equity to pay $900,000 in compensatory damages, $48,443 in interest, $30,000 in costs and $50,000 in attorney fees.
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In 2001, according to The National Law Journal, the median ratio of punitive to compensatory damages was 3-to-l: it jumped to 4.4-to-1 in 2002.
SUPREME COURT HOLDS, AS MATTER OF MARITIME COMMON LAW, THAT INHERENT INCONSISTENCIES IN JURY DETERMINATIONS OF PUNITIVE DAMAGES JUSTIFIES LIMITING SAME TO NO MORE THAN AMOUNT OF COMPENSATORY DAMAGES
The bill could remove the caps on punitive and compensatory damages in claims made under the Equal Pay Act, thereby providing unlimited monetary remedies for claims; allow for punitive and compensatory damages on unintentional pay disparities; eliminate employer defense for paying people differently because they work in different parts of the country or considering their prior salary history; and make it easier for plaintiffs to become parties to large class actions.
(5) The 1991 CRA permits, among other things, victims of intentional discrimination to recover compensatory damages and permits any party to demand a jury trial when the alleged victim seeks compensatory damages.