This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol4 Torts, Damages, Domestic Relations", by Albert H. Putney. Also available from Amazon: Popular Law-Dictionary.
The following set of rules given by a recent writer on the subject of Damages,15 contain all the leading principles favoring the awarding of damages in actions of tort:
"In all cases of tort, involving injury to rights of property or contract only, and where the act complained of is wholly indifferent as regards motive, the measure of damages is the value of the property or rights destroyed or injuriously affected at the time of the injury.
In all cases, so far as the effects of the injury upon rights of property or contract can be separately estimated, the extent of recovery is a matter of law.
In all cases involving other elements of injury the amount of the verdict is in the discretion of the jury.
Circumstances of aggravation are admissible to enhance and circumstances of mitigation to reduce the verdict.
14 At an additional charge, generally, of fifty per cent, of the cost of the unrepealed message.
15 Sedgwick on Damages, pp. 147, 148.
Whenever upon an examination of the verdict in the light of the evidence, the amount awarded appears to be either so great or so small as to show that it must have been the result of passion, prejudice, ignorance or mistake, the plaintiff is entitled to a new trial.
Such a case occurs whenever the verdict clearly falls short or is clearly in excess of an amount which all the heads of damage taken together show to be reasonably recoverable."