Aggravated damages

Aggravated damages – these types of damages may be awarded if it determined that the defendants conduct whilst committing a tort has worsened the claimant’s injury, to compensate the plaintiff for the resulting insult, humiliation, or loss of dignity.

In Uren v John Fairfax and Sons Pty Ltd (1966) (Uren) it was held that aggravated damages are “given by way of compensation for injury to the plaintiff, which may be intangible, resulting from the circumstances and manner of wrongdoing”. Further, Windeyer J in Uren held that “aggravated damages are given to compensate the plaintiff when harm done to him by a wrongful act was aggravated by the manner in which the act was done”.

With the ruling of Uren in mind, it is important to note that aggravated damages do not form a special category of damages that is part of the substantial damages that are awarded to a claimant. This is because they are compensatory in nature and should be considered distinct from exemplary and punitive damages. However, if aggravated damages are pleaded in a civil case, they need to be pleaded separately pursuant to rule 6.12(5) of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW).