What are Legal Remedies?

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  • Written By: Jodee Redmond
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 February 2020
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Legal remedies are used by a court to settle claims or disputes between parties. They include compensating people who have been wronged by someone else's negligence, as well as enforcing the provisions of legally-binding contracts. Judicial relief also includes cases where the court is asked to make a decision on a legal matter.

Under civil law, a person who has been injured or suffered a financial loss can use legal remedies to seek monetary damages. An accident victim may ask the court to award a sum of money for general damages, such as pain and suffering. He or she may also ask for a monetary award to pay for the cost of medical bills, lost wages and other expenses incurred as the result of the accident.

In cases where fraud or an unconscionable act has occurred, the court may award punitive damages as well as compensatory damages. This type of legal remedy is not always awarded in civil actions. It is reserved for specific cases where the court is trying to punish the defendant, as well as to deter others from behaving in a similar manner.


Another situation where a person may consider using legal remedies to seek justice is when he or she entered into a contract and the other party did not perform his or her duties as agreed. The plaintiff in that type of case may ask for financial compensation as a result of the breach of contract. He or she can also ask the court to order that the defendant perform his or her duties under the terms of the contract, which is known as an order for specific performance.

Legal remedies may include a situation where a request for an injunction is made. This type of court order is made to specifically bar a person or a group from doing a particular action. The injunction is used as a preventive measure instead of a way to recover damages after the fact.

Other legal remedies include matters surrounding the ending of a marriage. A divorce judgment signed by a judge includes provisions for dividing the couple's marital property and dealing with any debts accumulated during the marriage. Child custody and the amount of child support payments are among the matters that can be dealt with by the court. A judge will also determine whether one spouse is entitled to financial support from the other, how much will be paid, and how long the alimony payments will be made.


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Post 4

@Charred - I agree with you that some guidelines need to be in place, but I’m not sure we can really curtail some legal remedies.

Where do you draw the line between what is a legitimate legal claim and what is a frivolous lawsuit? Sometimes these things are clearly obvious, but at other times these determinations are more subjective.

Doctors assume these costs however in the form of malpractice insurance. Unfortunately, those costs get passed down to the patient, which is one reason that medical costs can be so high from what I understand.

Post 3

@SZapper - I’m all for legal remedies myself, and I am glad we live in a society where disputes can be resolved in court rather than with the barrel of a gun.

However, I am concerned that we have become somewhat overly litigious as a society. Many people will not go into medicine for example because of the overabundance of malpractice lawsuits brought against doctors.

While I believe that legal remedies should certainly exist for genuine cases of medical malpractice, I think that there should be more stringent guidelines governing these lawsuits.

In other words, we need some kind of tort reform that will ensure a patient can’t just file a lawsuit at the drop of a hat over some minor thing. There are far too many trial lawyers, in my opinion, ready to pounce at the slightest suggestion that some wrongdoing has taken place.

Post 2

@SZapper - You're right. It is great that legal remedies exist. Unfortunately, legal remedies aren't enforced very quickly.

A friend of mine was involved in a civil suit because someone breached a contract with her. The suit dragged on and on for many months. She did win, and get legal remedies, but the waiting was rough. I wish the court system could do something to speed up these cases!

Post 1

I am glad legal remedies exist. People shouldn't just be able to renege on a contract or be negligent in their daily life. Actions should have consequences! Even if it the case isn't serious enough to be heard in a criminal court, people should have an option if someone backs out of a contract.

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