This chapter examines the expressive and material importance of damages, with particular emphasis on how race and gender have affected the amount of damages awarded to plaintiffs in personal injury cases. There are two categories of tort damages: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are often awarded and are considered the “normal” remedy in tort cases. To accomplish the restorative function of tort law to the widest extent possible, compensatory damages are awarded to cover a wide variety of losses, including economic damages and noneconomic harms. This chapter comments on the use of race-based and gender-based tables and statistics to compute loss of future earning capacity, arguing that such estimations are neither accurate nor equitable. It explains how women and racial minorities have been affected by legislative caps on noneconomic damages for pain and suffering and other intangible losses. It contends that non-economic losses should be treated on a par with economic losses.
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