general damages

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General damages refers to harm which arises directly and inevitably from a breach of contract or tort. In other words, those damages that would be theoretically suffered by every injured party under these circumstances. 

For example, if the defendant breached a contract which would have paid the plaintiff $100,000 for services rendered, then any plaintiff in this situation would have suffered at least $100,000 in general damages. 

In addition to general damages, courts can also award consequential (special) damages and/or punitive damages.

[Last updated in January of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team