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What is Prayer for Relief?

By Jodee Redmond
Updated May 16, 2024
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A prayer for relief is part of a claim made under civil law. It lists the legal remedies the plaintiff is requesting from the court. This part of the claim can include a request for compensatory damages, punitive damages and legal costs. The prayer for relief may also include a request for an injunction.

Compensatory damages are awarded by the court to make the plaintiff whole. They are meant to restore the plaintiff to the state he or she was in before the incident leading to the lawsuit took place. General damages are a form of compensatory damages, and they are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for his or her pain and suffering.

Special damages are another form of compensatory damages. They are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for out of pocket expenses. The plaintiff may ask the court to award an amount to reimburse him or her for lost wages, loss of future income or medical expenses. The cost of repairs to personal property may also be included in the calculation of special damages.

The legal costs involved in a lawsuit are another item that may be listed in the prayer for relief. If the plaintiff is successful in his or her legal action, he or she will be asking the court to award a certain amount to be used toward paying legal fees and disbursements. The disbursements are the extra costs that an attorney may incur on behalf of a client. Examples of these kinds of expenses include photocopies, postage and long distance phone calls.

A prayer for relief may also include a request that the court grant an injunction to the plaintiff. This is a specific type of court order barring the defendant from doing something. The injunction may be granted on a temporary basis until other issues before the court can be resolved. The plaintiff may request only an injunction in the prayer for relief, or the injunction may be listed along with several other legal remedies, depending on the situation.

The prayer for relief is only part of a claim for damages. The plaintiff lists all the remedies that he or she is seeking from the court. The claim also includes a series of statements in support of the claim being made. These statements are not considered facts unless and until they are proven in a court of law.

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