An amount awarded by a court to an appellant who has suffered loss as a result of the actions of another party. The action for damages may be in contract or in tort. Damages are intended as a form of compensation and though not the only remedy for loss that a court can supply, they are the most common. Other remedies lie in equity and include a decree of specific performance (in Contract) or an injuction, though damages may be awarded in addition to such orders.
The assessment of damages is a very complex matter, particularly where the case concerns injury or death to another party or parties. In some instances, damages running into millions of pounds have been awarded where an innocent person has suffered serious permanent disfigurement or disability as the result of carelessness on the part of the person or corporation against which the claim is being made. Such massive sums tend to be awarded more frequently when insurance against loss has been effected, and the monies will be payable by an insurance company rather than by an individual.
Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.