Treble Damages Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Treble Damages, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Treble Damages?

It is tripling of damages by certain state statute,which vary by state.It applies in certain cases like not making good on a bad check or intentionall refusing to pay rent. Treble damages are intented to punish the guilty party and discourage others from similar behaviour.

History and Meaning of Treble Damages

Treble damages refer to a legal provision that allows a court to triple the amount of damages awarded to a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. The purpose of treble damages is to punish the defendant for wrongdoing and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. The availability of treble damages varies by state, and they are typically only available in specific types of cases, such as antitrust violations, intellectual property infringement, or bad faith insurance practices.

The origin of treble damages can be traced back to English common law, where the rule of "single damages" prevailed. Under this rule, a plaintiff could only recover the amount of actual damages suffered as a result of the defendant's wrongful conduct. However, in certain cases, courts began to award treble damages as a way to deter future misconduct.

Examples of Treble Damages

  1. A company is found guilty of antitrust violations and is ordered to pay treble damages to the plaintiffs, who were competitors harmed by the anti-competitive behavior.
  2. A landlord intentionally refuses to return a tenant's security deposit, and a court awards treble damages to the tenant as a penalty for the landlord's bad faith.
  3. An individual bounces a check and fails to make good on the payment after being given notice, resulting in treble damages being awarded to the party owed the money.

Legal Terms Similar to Treble Damages

  1. Punitive damages - Similar to treble damages, but punitive damages are awarded solely to punish the defendant and deter future wrongdoing. They are not tied to the amount of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff.
  2. Liquidated damages - Damages that are agreed upon in advance by the parties to a contract as a way to compensate for potential harm caused by a breach of the agreement.
  3. Compensatory damages - Damages that are intended to compensate a plaintiff for actual losses suffered as a result of the defendant's wrongful conduct. Unlike treble damages, compensatory damages are not meant to punish the defendant.