When a person wins a court hearing, it is possible that the court may award him or her with monetary restitution in order to compensate for whatever injury or harm was suffered by the plaintiff. This monetary restitution is referred to as actual damages, but is also known as compensatory damages.
In cases of civil litigation, it is possible for a plaintiff to bring a dispute to a court of law in order for him or her to ensure that the person held liable, the defendant, answer for his or her liability. When it has been proven that the defendant is accountable for the issue at hand, he or she may be required by the judge to pay for any expenses that the plaintiff may have incurred. These expenses may come in the form of actual monetary loss, opportunity costs, or any other possible harm or injury suffered by the plaintiff, whether mental, emotional, or physical.
When a judge awards actual damages to the plaintiff, it is always commensurate to the harm or injury suffered by the person. However, it is necessary that this only be commensurate to the harm or injury that has been proven to be sustained by the plaintiff due to the action or inaction of the defendant. If the harm or injury cannot be proven to be valid, then it cannot be compensated for.
It is possible to accurately measure the amount of actual damages that a plaintiff may be awarded. This is usually the case in tort and breach of contract litigation.