Legal word of the week- Series by Alan M L Jones.
DAMAGE and DAMAGES
1 Damage (both verb and noun) and damages (plural noun) are very different
If you damage something or cause damage to something, you do / cause harm (noun) to it / you harm (verb) it
Case 1 when driving you negligently hit Bill's car and damage it / cause damage to it and cause harm / physical injury to Bill who was driving his car
Bill instructs his lawyer to commence proceedings against you
Case 2 A, B and C are all in the same business. A and B enter into a cartel and cause loss to C's business. C instructs its lawyer to commence proceedings against A and B
In both cases, the injured party can sue the person or persons who caused the damage for DAMAGES - compensation
2 Case 1
The cause of action in Case 1 is in the tort of negligence. Bill can sue for damages / compensation for the cost of repairing the damage to his car and for the physical harm he's suffered
3 Case 2
In Case 2 the cause of action is under competition law and C can sue A and B for damages / compensation for the loss it has suffered as a result of A and B's unlawful act in setting up the cartel
Except in the situation, which is rare in England and Wales, that the court awards punitive damages a claimant will not recover more than the amount the claimant has lost as a result of the breach of contract or negligent act
Sometimes the claimant will not recover the full amount of the claimant's loss
This is because of the rules relating to how damages are calculated and to the fact that some loss is too remote to be included in a compensation payment
This is a complicated area of law - the leading book on Damages and calculating quantum is hundreds of pages long
I will leave this subject alone and simply encourage you to remember that damage and damages are very different.
About Alan M L Jones
Qualified as a solicitor more than 35 years ago and has practised for many years mostly in London but also further afield in Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Tokyo. Alan has been both a lawyer and a communication / language teacher for years and used his experience to create the ACE Legal English online courses for non-native speaker lawyers. The courses are very engaging and relevant and are the first of their kind.