This legal glossary is a basic guide to common legal terms. A lawyer is in the best position to advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities.
Different terms may have different meanings based on the specific area of law or the context in which they are being used. For legal terms not referred to in this glossary, or for more comprehensive definitions, you may wish to refer to a legal dictionary or to an internet resource.
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- Money claimed by, or ordered to be paid to, a person as compensation for loss or injuries.
- Aggravated Damages
- Damages designed to compensate a plaintiff for suffering intangible damages such as humiliation and distress, as a result of the defendant's actions.
- Compensatory Damages
- Damages awarded for actual loss, in order to place the plaintiff in a position that he or she would have been in had he or she not suffered the wrong complained of.
- General Damages
- Damages for non-monetary losses suffered by a plaintiff. These damages are not capable of exact quantification. Examples of such losses suffered include pain, suffering, and disfigurement.
- Nominal Damages
- Token (i.e. small) damages awarded to redress a violation of a legal right that the law deems necessary to protect, even in the absence of actual harm.
- Non-Pecuniary Damages
- Damages that cannot be measured in money, but nevertheless are compensated for with money (i.e., general damages).
- Pecuniary Damages
- Damages that can be measured in money (i.e., special damages).
- Punitive Damages
- Damages awarded to punish a defendant for their purposely harsh, vindictive or malicious behaviour.
- Special Damages
- Damages intended to compensate a plaintiff for a quantifiable monetary loss. Examples of such losses include: lost earnings, medical bills, and repair costs.