What are Compensatory Damages

What are compensatory damages? They are one of several types of monetary awards that can be won at trial.


The purpose of compensatory damages is to “make the plaintiff whole again”. In other words, they exist to cover all of the damages that were created by the defendant’s bad actions. These do not include punitive damages, court costs, or attorneys’ fees generally. You also won’t include other special types of damages.

Examples of Compensatory Damages

In personal injury cases, you receive medical expenses and lost wages as compensatory damages. You may also receive pain and suffering or emotional damages. These are also compensatory.

Breach of contract claims almost always only receive compensatory damages in North Carolina. Courts will only grant other types of damages if there is a statute or an extremely egregious circumstance. You can get reciprocal attorney fees in certain circumstances.

Fortunately, a lot of tort and consumer protection cases come with special damages on top of compensatory. Courts will follow statutes regarding these. Additionally, these cases might fall under an unfair or deceptive trade practice. In the event they fall under that act, you may receive trebel (triple) damages and attorney fees. The attorney fees are discretionary. However, if you can show a good faith attempt to resolve the case before court, the judge will likely grant them.


In conclusion, these damages are the most common type of damages. They’re the default. They make you whole and nothing more.


If you have questions about your case, we can help. We handle a variety of business litigation. Additionally, we can help setup your contracts so you’re more protected. Please feel free to contact us at info@lawplusplus.com or by calling 919-912-9640.


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