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Moral Damage: Its Reparation and Indemnity Limits

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

The purpose of this article is to discuss the issue of moral damage, highlighting its repair and the limits of compensation imposed by doctrine and jurisprudence, with emphasis on the understanding of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ). The analysis covers the theoretical foundation and the legal bases that underlie the responsibility for moral damages, as well as the current most accepted by the courts about the indemnity value. The discussion seeks to understand the criteria used to quantify moral damage, in order to promote a reflection on the principles that should guide its repair and prevent abuses in the setting of indemnities.

Moral damage, even though it is a complex topic, has been consolidated in Brazilian jurisprudence as an important instrument for the protection of personality rights. This article aims to explore the legal bases and understandings consolidated by the courts, with emphasis on the Superior Court of Justice, on the limits of compensation for moral damages.

1. Civil liability and compensation for moral damage

Civil liability presupposes the existence of damage, an unlawful act and the causal link between both. In the case of moral damage, its objective is to mitigate the suffering experienced by the victim, providing compensation for the damage caused. The basis for repairing moral damages is found both in the Brazilian Civil Code, in its article 5, and in the jurisprudence of the courts.

2. The quantification of moral damage

The quantification of the indemnity value of moral damage is a topic that raises debates and different doctrinal and jurisprudential positions. The Superior Court of Justice, considered the last instance in the infraconstitutional scope, has consolidated understandings that guide the lower courts. In general, the STJ adopts the current that seeks to avoid excesses and undervaluations in indemnity amounts, taking into account criteria such as the intensity of the damage suffered, the repercussion of the damage, the economic capacity of the parties involved, as well as the pedagogical and punitive purpose of the repair.

3. Limits for compensation for moral damages according to the STJ

The understanding of the STJ is that there should be no fixed and previously established limits for compensation for moral damages, since each case must be analyzed individually, considering its particularities. However, the Court seeks to avoid exorbitant amounts, establishing reasonableness in fixing the indemnity. To this end, criteria such as proportionality in relation to the damage suffered, the severity of the offense committed, the economic condition of the offender and the victim, among others, are adopted.

4. Final considerations

The moral damage and its reparation are themes of great relevance in the legal field, seeking the protection of fundamental rights and the fair compensation of the offended. The understanding of the STJ, although it does not establish predetermined limits, promotes a careful analysis, taking into account the individuality of each case. It is essential that there is a balance between fair compensation and the principle of proportionality in order to avoid abuses and ensure effective protection of personality rights.

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