At common law, damages are a remedy in the form of a monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury.[1] To warrant the award, the claimant must show that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. To be recognised at law, the loss must involve damage to property, or mental or physical injury; pure economic loss is rarely recognised for the award of damages.[2]

Compensatory damages are further categorized into special damages, which are economic losses such as loss of earnings, property damage and medical expenses, and general damages, which are non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.[3] Rather than being compensatory, [4] at common law damages may instead be nominal, contemptuous or exemplary.[5]