Compensatory Damages

Money awarded to a plaintiff to compensate for damages, injury, or another incurred loss. Compensatory damages are awarded in civil court cases where loss has occurred as a result of the negligence or unlawful conduct of another party. To receive compensatory damages the plaintiff has to prove that a loss occurred, and that it was attributable to the defendant. The plaintiff must also be able to quantify the amount of loss in the eyes of the jury or judge.

Compensatory damages differ from punitive damages, which may compensate over and above any loss or damage incurred and are meant to provide an incentive against repeating the act that caused the plaintiff's loss or damages.

Cases related to compensatory and punitive damages are a major source of debate in the field of health insurance, as proponents of tort reform claim that excessive damages above the actual loss incurred increase the overall cost of healthcare.


Investment dictionary. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • compensatory damages — n: actual damages at damage 2 Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

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  • compensatory damages — noun (law) compensation for losses that can readily be proven to have occurred and for which the injured party has the right to be compensated • Syn: ↑actual damages, ↑general damages • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • compensatory damages — The damages recoverable in satisfaction of, or in recompense for, loss or injury sustained, including all damages except nominal damages, punitive or exemplary damages. 22 Am J2d Damg § 11. Damages awarded not only as a recompense for actual… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • compensatory damages — Law. damages, measured by the harm suffered, awarded to the injured person as due compensation. Cf. punitive damages. * * * …   Universalium

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  • compensatory — I adjective atoning, balancing, compensating, compensative, equivalent, expiating, expiatory, in compensation, indemnificatory, paying, propitiating, recompensive, redemptive, refunding, reimbursing, remitting, remunerative, reparative, repaying …   Law dictionary

  • damages, actual — n. Damages for actual losses and injuries sustained; also called compensatory damages or general damages. The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008 …   Law dictionary

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  • damages — A pecuniary compensation or indemnity, which may be recovered in the courts by any person who has suffered loss, detriment, or injury, whether to his person, property, or rights, through the unlawful act or omission or negligence of another. A… …   Black's law dictionary

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