Temperate or moderate damages are awarded when there is a finding of pecuniary loss but the amount cannot be determined with certainty due to the nature of the circumstances. Temperate damages are more than nominal but less than compensatory damages.Despite the fact that the amount cannot be determined, the courts are required to impose reasonable amounts as may be derived from the circumstances of the case.
Tan v. OMC Carriers, Inc.
G.R. No. 190521, 12 January 2011
Temperate damages in lieu of actual damages – Despite the failure to submit proof of actual damages, “a party still has the option of claiming temperate damages, which may be allowed in cases where, from the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be adduced although the court is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered some pecuniary loss.” In this case, the petitioners submitted photographs as evidence to show “the extent of damage done to the house, the tailoring shop and the petitioners’ appliances and equipment.” The loss thereof or damage to petitioner is directly attributed to the truck ramming her house and tailoring shop, as well as the gross negligence of the driver in handling the truck. However, the photographs alone is not sufficient to establish the amount with certainty. The Supreme Court found the award of P200,000.00 as a fair and sufficient award by way of temperate damages based on “the attendant circumstances and given the property destroyed.”
Temperate damages in lieu of loss of earning capacity – For loss of earning capacity, temperate damages may be awarded in lieu of actual damages “where earning capacity is plainly established but no evidence was presented to support the allegation of the injured party’s actual income.” Here, the deceased income-earning capacity was never disputed. His five minor children “all relied mainly on the income earned by their father from his tailoring activities for their sustenance and support. Under these facts and taking into account the unrebutted annual earnings of the deceased, [the Court holds] that the petitioners are entitled to temperate damages in the amount of P300,000.00 [or roughly, the gross income for two (2) years] to compensate for damages for loss of the earning capacity of the deceased.”
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 Ibid. Article 2224.
 CIVIL CODE. Article 2225.