The various kinds of damages

This chapter mainly deals with the various kinds of damages which are in use in the recent scenario in various parts of the world.. These damages are classified into categories, mainly based on the method which is used to calculate them and also what these aim to achieve. General damages are those awarded for harms and losses which are a natural and usual consequence of the tort and injury asserted. These harms and losses may be proved even though plaintiff did not specifically allege them in his complaint.

For example, a battery which causes bodily harm normally results in physical pain, and so "pain and suffering" may be proved under a complaint for a battery which alleges only that plaintiff suffered "great bodily harm" or "a broken leg. " Nominal damages are a small sum of money awarded, not as compensation, but solely because the plaintiff has proved that a tort has been committed against him, e. g. in a case of trespass to land involving no physical damage to the land or other loss to the plaintiff. It follows that nominal damages are confined to torts actionable per se.

In Constantine v. Imperial London Hotels Ltd (1944), the famous West Indian cricketer was refused admittance to the defendant's hotel without reasonable cause, but suffered no special damage. Ordinarily damages are equivalent to the harm suffered by the plaintiff. When there has been infringement of the plaintiff's legal right but he has suffered no loss thereby the law awards him nominal damages in recognition of his right. Contemptuous damages are awarded to the plaintiff when the plaintiff has suffered some loss but he does not deserve to be fully compensated.

These are the general unliquidated damages awarded to compensate the successful plaintiff for the loss, injury or damage he has suffered and, as far a possible, to restore him to the condition he was in before the tort – restitutio in integrum3. The quantum of damages is a question of fact, but the methods of assessment used by the courts are outside the scope of this book. These are awarded to unmeritorious plaintiffs who are nevertheless entitled to succeed. They are the court's expression of its displeasure at a frivolous, vexatious or vindictive action.. A plaintiff awarded contemptuous damages is unlikely to be awarded costs.

The case of Kelly v. Sherlock clearly illustrates the circumstances for warding of this type of damages. In Kelly v. Sherlock, where the defendant in his newspaper had libelled the plaintiff in very bad terms but the plaintiff had retorted with a counter attack, equally bad and base4, the plaintiff got only a farthing as damages. Here the researcher feels that where contemptuous damages are awarded, it generally means that the defamatory statements are nearly true that very small damages will suffice or that the plaintiff's character is so bad that contemptuous damages should be given.

In such a case the action should be regarded as oppressive and that it should never have been brought, and therefore good cause exists for depriving the plaintiff of his costs. Generally the damages are compensatory because the idea of civil law is to compensate the injured party. When a insult or injury to plaintiff's feeling has been caused, the court may take into account the motive for the wrong and award an increased amount of damages. Such damages are called aggravated damages. The idea in awarding such damages is not to punish the wrongdoer .

Such damages, therefore, are compensatory in nature. Exemplary damages 5 represent an addition to what is awarded as real damages, to compensate the plaintiff for what the court considers deplorable or outrageous conduct by the defendant, and (in effect) by way of punishment for it. Exemplary damages are sometimes criticized on the grounds that a civil court should have no concern with punishment. Compensatory damages are awarded to a person to indemnify for personal injury, property, and other economic harm sustained by the victim.

Compensatory damages are awarded for both pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses. Unlike economic loss, pain and suffering, and other forms of mental distress have no obvious monetary equivalent. This valuation problem has generated controversy over the desirability of compensating for pain and suffering at all. The researcher illustrates this with the help of the following cases. Exemplary damages would therefore be available in. defamation, private nuisance and trespass but not in claims brought in public nuisance or negligence.

This reflects the general view that awards of damages in cases of personal injury are designed to compensate rather than to punish These are the reciprocal of contemptuous damages, in that they rep resent an additional sum awarded to the plaintiff because the defendant's conduct was e. g. willful or malicious. Aggravated dam ages differ from exemplary damages in that aggravated damages represent merely additional compensation, whereas exemplary dam ages contain a punitive and deterrent element.

When the damages awarded are in excess of the material loss suffered by the plaintiff with a view to prevent similar behavior in future the damages are known as exemplary or vindictive. For purposes of pleading and proof, there is a distinction between general damages and special damages. General damages are those awarded for harms and losses which are a natural and usual consequence of the tort and injury asserted. These harms and losses may be proved even though plaintiff did not specifically allege them in his complaint.

For example, a battery which causes bodily harm normally results in physical pain, and so "pain and suffering" may be proved under a complaint for a battery which alleges only that plaintiff suffered "great bodily harm" or "a broken leg. " Special damages are those awarded for all other compensable harms and losses. Such harms or losses must be specifically pleaded so that defendant will be on notice that damages for them will be claimed. Medical expenses, lost wages, and dam ages for any unusual effects of the injury (e. g. traumatic neurosis) are illustrations of special damages in a personal injury case.