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In law, the money awarded to a party in a civil suit as reparation for the loss or injury for which another is liable. The theory of an award of damages in a personal-injury or other tort case is that injured parties should be placed in the position they would have been in if the injury had not occurred, so far as this can be accomplished with a monetary award. Where the legal wrong at issue is the breach of a contract, the goal of the damages remedy is to give the injured parties the benefit they would have received had the contract been performed. More than one type of damages (e.g., direct, incidental, and punitive) may be awarded for a single injury.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on damages, visit Britannica.com.