Damages may be awarded to compensate victims and, in some cases, to punish wrongdoers.

If jurors - or judges sitting in non-jury bench trials - find for the plaintiff on the issue of liability, then they must decide damages.  In general, there are two types of damages that may be awarded depending upon the facts of a particular case:

1. Compensatory Damages - designed to compensate the victim; and
2. Punitive Damages - designed to punish the wrongdoer.

In most cases, where damages result from negligence or unintentional conduct on the part of others, compensatory damages are the sole means of recovery.  It is, indeed, the rare case involving intentional misconduct or fraud in which punitive damages are appropriate to punish the wrongdoer and to deter future misconduct.