Victims get compensatory damages in order to return them back to the same position they were in before the injury. This basic Tort law concept is taught to law students – and it is wrong. Often, victims cannot “return” to their pre-injury condition.
The nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty shows my point. Humpty Dumpty was an egg who fell off a wall. He broke his shell so badly that none of the king’s horses or the king’s men could fix him. Humpty Dumpty would never be put back together again.
At best, compensatory damages are a substitutional remedy for a victim’s injuries. They cannot restore a person’s amputated arm, damaged brain, or lost life. They are not the judicial system’s Lotto 6/49. Compensatory damages are given, in paper money form, as a substitute for a victim’s real-life suffering.