Just Compensation

Black’s Law Dictionary defines it in many ways including:

  1. “Making whole;”
  2. “Giving an equivalent or substitute of equal value;”
  3. “That which is necessary to restore an injured party to his former position;”
  4. “An act which a court orders to be done, or money which a court or other tribunal orders to be paid, by a person whose acts or omissions have caused loss or injury to another, in order that thereby the person [who received losses or damages] may receive equal value for his loss, or be made whole in respect of his injury;” or
  5. “a recovery for an imponderable and intangible thing for which there is no money equivalent.”

“A fair and reasonable amount of money to be paid for work performed or to make one whole after loss due to damages” (Nolo’s Law Dictionary). Utah Code defines compensation as “money, money bonuses, overrides, prizes, or other real or personal property, tangible or intangible.”

Example Sentence

After finding Mr. Long responsible for the accident, the jury needed to decide a just compensation for the losses Mrs. White suffered.

Case Study

Doug usually let his dog roam the neighborhood without him. However, his dog eventually bit a child playing in the yard with her cat. The family took Doug to court because he refused to pay for the medical bills that came from the dog bite. The jury found him responsible for the bite and then gave the family a just compensation for all their losses including the medical bills and emotional trauma suffered by the family.

Other Important Information

This phrase is often used for cases about eminent domain, but also applies to personal injury law. What is considered just compensation is subjective and each party must convince the jury or judge what a fair amount would be for the injuries, if anything should be received. The judge will ask the jury to determine what a just compensation would be for the injured party. Both sides will offer suggestions sometimes based on the different types of losses. This may include loss of life, friendship, money, ability to perform normal or former functions, etc. Utah Code prohibits insurance companies from reducing their just compensation to injured drivers because you do not have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, property damage cannot include any just compensation for losing the use of the vehicle (Utah Code).

Photo “Stack of Cash” copyright by Ken Teegardin.

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