Nominal Damages Law and Legal Definition

Nominal damages are a small amount of money awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit to show he/she was right but has suffered no significant losses. Nominal damages are awarded to vindicate a right or claim of the plaintiff, giving the plaintiff, in effect, a moral victory. Nominal damages may be, for instance, an award of one dollar. An award of nominal damages is intended as an affirmation that the type of conduct the defendant engaged in should not be permitted. In some cases, an award of nominal damages may be used as a basis for collecting punitive damages, legal fees and costs.