Discretionary Damages – not precisely measurable (i.e. mental anguish, pain and suffering, etc.) but are determined by a jury


1. That which is subject to a person’s discretion. [1]

discretionary damages:

1. Damages (such as mental anguish or pain and suffering) that are not precisely measurable but are determined by the subjective judgment of a jury. — aka indeterminate damages. [2]

indeterminate damages:

1. A A little-used and unsatisfactory term for punitive or exemplary damages. [3]

Various Forms of Discretionary Damages:

cosmetic damages – the amount awarded to compensate for personal disfigurement.

future damages – awarded to an injured party for an injury’s residual or projected effects (i.e. a reduction in a person’s ability to function, expected pain and suffering, loss or impairment of earning capacity, projected medical expenses).

hedonic damages – for loss of enjoyment of life or of life’s pleasures. aka hedonistic damages.


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[1]:  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.

[2]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[3]: 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


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