What are damages?

Damages is a term used to describe the money awarded to an individual who has filed a successful civil action claim. For example, if a car accident victim makes a successful claim against the negligent party responsible for the wreck, then he or she may receive damages. In general, there are two types of damages – compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages, also known as actual damages, are paid to reimburse one for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and damaged property. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are awarded in an effort to reform or punish the party at fault.