Compensation is the payment made by parties involved to cover material or moral damages resulting from an unlawful act. In exceptional cases, compensation can also refer to non-monetary remedies, such as publishing a decision in a newspaper or social media, or issuing an apology. However, in our legal system, these cases are rare, and compensation is generally associated with the payment of money.
The individual who causes the event leading to compensation may have intentionally committed the act, or the act could have been committed negligently, unknowingly, or unintentionally. For instance, in traffic accidents, no one intends for an accident to occur, but negligence, carelessness, or lack of precaution can lead to accidents. The extent of the negligence of the person causing the accident determines the extent of their responsibility for the resulting damages.
Accidental damages occur unintentionally, whereas damages caused intentionally are certainly subject to compensation. For example, damaging someone’s car tires, breaking their nose with a punch, or causing any other harm intentionally results in compensating the entire damage. However, intentionally caused damages do not always constitute a crime. For instance, behavior such as infidelity or disloyalty within a marriage may not be a crime, but it could lead to a compensation claim.
Apart from these two scenarios, compensation may also be applicable in cases of breach of various contracts. In commercial relationships, if a task cannot be completed within the agreed time, and the party unable to fulfill it is ordered to pay compensation, such a situation arises. Similarly, if an employee is wrongfully terminated, certain specific compensations arising from the law may be payable. Examples include severance pay and notice pay.
The amount of compensation may vary based on the type of damage, and the economic conditions of the parties are also important in determining the compensation amount. According to the compensation criteria developed by the Court of Cassation over the years in Turkish Law, the party paying compensation should not become impoverished, and the party receiving compensation should not become enriched. These are abstract definitions, and what may be considered as enrichment for some individuals might be considered as very low amounts for others.
For instance, in a case of non-pecuniary compensation arising from an insult between two minimum wage earners, the determined compensation amount may be low. However, in the same case between two famous industrialists, the determined non-pecuniary compensation amount may be much higher. In compensation-based lawsuits, since reaching a settlement is always possible, it is feasible for both parties to reach an agreement over a reasonable amount and conclude the case at any stage.
Compensation lawsuits require professional legal support for both the plaintiff and the defendant, with accurate determination of the type of case, attention to deadlines, and evidence presentation. Initiating such cases or defending them as a defendant without the assistance of a lawyer can lead to undesirable outcomes and significant economic losses. Therefore, we strongly advise individuals wishing to file such a lawsuit or those facing such a lawsuit to seek legal assistance.