Loss – the decrease or total diminishing in value of property, usually in an unexpected or relatively unpredictable way, or the act of losing something that is gone and cannot be recovered, such as a life or friendship, etc.

     This page is continued from Civil Complaint Self-Help Walkthrough >>>> Section 2:


(bef. 12c)

1. An undesirable outcome of a risk; the disappearance. or diminution of value, usually in an unexpected or relatively unpredictable way.  *  When the loss is a decrease In value, the usual method of calculating the loss is to ascertain the amount by which a thing’s original cost exceeds its later selling price.

2. Tax. The excess of a property’s adjusted value over the amount realized from its sale or other disposition. IRC (26 USCA) § 1001. — aka realized loss.  See AMOUNT REALIZED.  Cf. GAIN (3).

3. Insurance. The amount of financial detriment caused by an insured person’s death or an insured property’s damage, for which the insurer becomes liable.

4. The failure to maintain possession of a thing. [1]

1. A deprivation.  Damage; also the act of losing and the thing lost.  22 Am J2d Damg § 1.
     The word is not one of limited, hard and fast meaning.  There are many kinds of loss, besides money out of pocket.  No man would doubt that he might rightly call a “loss” that event which changed his status from solvency to insolvency.  In the strictest sense of the word a man against whom a tort judgment has bcome final has suffered a loss.  Schambs v Fidelity & Casualty Co. (CA5 La) 250 F 6, 6 ALR 1231, 1233.
     Even though a showing of losses may be necessary to constitute the particular transaction a joint adventure, the term “loss” does not necessarily mean actual monetary loss.  There is a loss if one’s time has been for nought.  Summers v Hoffman, 341 Mich 686, 69 NW2d 198, 48 ALR2d 1033.
     See fire loss; indemnity insurance; liability insurance; proof of loss; risk and causes of loss. [2]

1. A deprivation.  The word “loss” connotes both the act of losing and the thing loss.  it is not a word of hard and fast meaning.  It does not necessarily mean actual monetary loss; it may refer to an event such as a death, or the end of a friendship, or to anything that is gone and cannot be recovered. 
     In the law, the word “loss” chiefly appears int eh context of liability, injury, or damage and damages, and therefore, not surprisingly, insurance.  In the context of insurance, loss is the consequence of the occurrence of the risk against which the insurance company has agreed to indemnify the insured.  The term is also applied extensively in tax law, where it is used in contradistinction to gin, and refers to transactions involving an excess of expense over revenue. [3]

Legal Terms used
in relation to assessing Losses:

proximate – very near or close, or happening immediately before or after.

remote – far removed or separated in dime, space, or relation; or slight; little; inconsequential.

Types of Losses:

capital loss: (1921) The loss realized upon selling or exchanging a capital asset.  Cf. CAPITAL GAIN.

economic loss:  See ECONOMIC LOSS.

expectation loss: See benefit-of-the-bargain damages under DAMAGES.

long-term capital loss: (1938) A loss on a capital asset held for an extended period, usually at least 12 months.

net loss: (18c) The excess of all expenses and losses over all revenues and gains.

net operating loss: (1921) The excess of operating expenses over revenues, the amount of which can be deducted from gross income if other deductions do not exceed gross income. —: Abbr. NOL. .

out~of-pocket loss: (1921) The difference between the value of what the buyer paid and the‘ market value of what was received in return.  *  In breach-of~contract cases, out-of-pocket loss is used to measure restitution damages.

paper loss: (1924) A loss that is realized only by selling something (such as a security) that has decreased in market value. — aka unrealized loss.

salvage loss: (1831) 1. Generally, a loss that presumptively would have been a total loss if certain services had not been rendered. 2. Marine underwriting. The difference between the salvage value, less the salvage charges, and the original value of the insured property.

General Terms used for
Describing and Assessing
Various Types of Losses:

consequential loss – a loss-arising from the results of damage rather than from the damage itself. — aka indirect loss; consequential injury.

direct loss – loss or damage resulting from a direct cause, as distinguished from a remote cause.

extraordinary loss – a loss that is both unusual and infrequent, such as a loss resulting from a natural disaster.

intangible loss – the damage caused by the disruption of an intangible right or benefit.

pecuniary loss – a loss of money or of something having monetary value (often used in relation to wrongful death actions and many other cases).

  • temporal loss – a pecuniary loss which causes actual deterioration of person or property, thereby forming an independent and substantive ground of proceeding, as opposed to a spiritual grievance or injury to the feelings, which is not grounds for a proceeding.

progressive loss – loss that spreads or becomes more expensive to repair over time (i.e. asbestosis).

nonpecuniary loss – a loss resulting from emotional or sentimental loss. — aka emotional-distress damages; dommage moral (French law).

Specific Types of Losses
which are also Insurance-Related Terms:

partial loss – partial disability in health, mind, or person, such as the loss of use of ability to use an arm or leg; or – in insurance – damage not amounting to a total loss.

  • particular average loss – a term used primarily in marine insurance in contrast to “general average,” indicating a loss to a ship’s cargo that is absorbed solely by the owner or owners of the particular cargo that has been destroyed.

Types of Losses pertaining to Insurance:

actual loss – the real and substantial destruction, whether total or partial, of insured property.

actual total loss – the same as total loss, although primarily used in marine insurance.

constructive total loss – such serious damage to the insured property that the cost of repairs would exceed the value of the thing repaired, or half the value when dealing in marine underwriting. — aka constructive loss. — Abbr. CTL.

general average loss – loss at sea usually incurred when cargo is thrown overboard to save the ship; such a loss is borne equally by all the interests concerned in the venture.

total loss – the complete destruction of the insured property by fire so that nothing of value remains, and cannot be rebuilt, as distinguished from a partial loss.

Types of Losses pertaining to Taxes:

casualty loss – a deduction in an income tax return for a loss arising from fire, storm, shipwreck, automobile accident, tornado, or other casualty to property owned by the taxpayer.

  • disaster loss – a casualty loss sustained in a geographic area that the President designates as a disaster area which may be treated as having occurred during the previous tax year so that a victim may receive immediate tax benefits.

deductible loss – a taxpayer’s loss that may be deducted in computing net taxable income, such as losses as a result of property being destroyed, damaged, confiscated, stolen, abandoned, taken by foreclosure, or becoming entirely worthless from other special losses, such as embezzlement or theft, provided the losses are not fully compensated by the insurance or otherwise.

hobby loss – a nondeductible loss arising from a personal hobby; as contrasted with an activity engaged in for profit. IRC (26 USCA) § 183

ordinary loss – a tax that is deductible from ordinary income in business or trade, from the sale or exchange of an item; more beneficial to the taxpayer than a capital loss. — aka business loss.

passive loss – a loss, with limited tax deductibility, from an activity in which the taxpayer does not materially participate, from a rental activity, or from a tax-shelter activity.

products-liability loss – the total of a taxpayer’s products-liability expenses up to the amount of the taxpayer’s net operating loss. IRC (26 USCA) § 172(j)(1).

recognized loss – the portion of a loss that is subject to income taxation. IRC (26 USCA) § 1001(c)


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[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black, Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-61300-4

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition by Jack Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.


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