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How to Value Punitive Damage in a Car Accident Case in New York?

How to Value Punitive Damage in a Car Accident Case in New York?

What Are Common Car Accidents In New York?

New York has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 1 million auto accidents in 2016 alone. In fact, according to the NHTSA, New York had the second-most traffic fatalities in 2015. Our experienced car accident attorneys understand the legal rights available for injured motorists and fight to get the compensation they deserve.

Our Car Accident Lawyers Serve:

Here are some common causes of car accidents that typically occur in New York:

1. Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the state. If you're drinking alcohol, don't drive. Even if you think you won't be affected by alcohol, you may still be impaired. Alcohol is involved in slightly more than 30% of fatal crashes in New York State, according to Troopers.ny.gov. Every two minutes, a person gets injured as a result of drunk driving.

2. Speeding

Speeding is another major cause of car accidents in New Jersey. If you're speeding, slow down. Speeding can lead to crashes and injuries.

3. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another major cause of accidents in New York. Texting while driving is illegal in New York. Don't do it.

4. Poor Road Conditions

Poor road conditions are another major cause of car accidents in New York. If roads are icy or snowy, slow down.

5. Improperly Maintained Vehicles

Improper maintenance of vehicles is another major cause of vehicle accidents in New York. If your brakes aren't working properly, slow down.

If you've been involved in an accident, contact our car accident injury law firm. We can help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

What Can I Recover For My Car Accident?

A car accident can happen anytime, anywhere. If you're involved in an auto collision, there are several things you can do to recover financially after the incident.

A car accident can cause serious injuries and leave you unable to work. If you were injured in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

In order to receive compensation, you must prove that the accident was caused by another person’s negligence. This means that the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident was negligent and did something wrong that contributed to causing your injury.

To recover damages, you must show that the accident was caused solely by the fault of the other party. This means that no one else’s actions or omissions played any role in causing your injuries.

There are several types of compensation available to victims of auto accidents. These include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage.

  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Property Damage

What Are Punitive Damages and How Does It Affect My Car Accident Case?

Punitive damages are awarded to plaintiffs in personal injury cases to punish defendants for egregious conduct. They are meant to deter future misconduct by punishing past wrongdoing.

In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages may be awarded in certain types of car accident injury lawsuits. For example, punitive damages may be appropriate where a defendant has acted with malice or reckless indifference to the rights of others.

A plaintiff seeking punitive damages must prove that the defendant engaged in outrageous behavior. This means that the defendant had an evil motive or intent, or was conscious of doing wrong. For example, a defendant who intentionally caused harm to another person would be liable for punitive damages. If a defendant knew that his actions were dangerous and he continued to act anyway, then he would be liable for punitive damage.

However, a defendant who negligently caused harm to another person is not liable for punitive damages unless the defendant acted with actual malice. Actual malice exists when the defendant “desires to cause the consequences of his act or believes that the consequences are substantially certain to result from it.”

Punitive Vs Compensatory Damages

Compensation is an essential part of any lawsuit. If you win a car accident case, you may receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

However, there are two types of damages that are not considered compensation. Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant for his or her wrongdoing. Compensatory damages compensate a plaintiff for injuries caused by the defendant’s wrongful conduct.

In addition to compensating plaintiffs for their losses, punitive damages serve another purpose. They deter future misconduct by defendants. Punitive damages are awarded to victims of intentional torts such as fraud, libel, slander, and defamation. These damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter him or her from committing similar acts in the future. 

There are two main types of punitive damages: general and exemplary. General punitive damages are used to punish the defendant for the harm caused to the plaintiff. Exemplary punitive damages are used to deter future misconduct by the defendant.

General punitive damages are usually awarded in cases involving personal injury and wrongful death. These awards are designed to punish the defendant for causing the plaintiff's injuries and/or death.

Exemplary punitive damages are typically awarded in cases involving fraud, malice, gross negligence, or willful and wanton misconduct. These awards are meant to punish the defendants for intentionally harming another person.

Does New York Allow Punitive Damages?

New York State allows punitive damages for certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice, products liability, personal injury, and car accident cases.

Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and deter others from similar conduct. They are intended to serve as an example to others. In New York, punitive damages may be awarded where there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with fraud, malice, oppression, gross negligence or reckless disregard for the rights of others. 

Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages in New York?

Punitive damage awards are limited to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per occurrence.

There are several factors that influence whether punitive damages are appropriate in any given case. These include the nature and extent of the harm caused, the financial position of the defendant, the character of the defendant's conduct, the likelihood of repetition of the same conduct, the costs of litigation, and the deterrent effect of the award.

Punitive awards should be used sparingly. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the wrongdoer and deter future wrongdoing. 

A punitive damage award is based on the amount of money needed to punish the defendant for what he or she did wrong. Punitive damages are usually higher than compensatory damages because they are intended to send a message to others about the seriousness of certain types of conduct.

When Can I Recover Punitive Damages in a Car Accident?

In most states, punitive damages are awarded in cases where there has been an accident resulting in bodily injury or death. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for his or her actions, rather than compensate the plaintiff for any injuries he or she may have suffered.

In most states, punitive damages cannot be recovered unless there is clear evidence that the defendant acted intentionally or maliciously. However, in certain circumstances, punitive damages may be available.

For example, punitive damages may be recoverable in an automobile accident case if the driver was intoxicated or driving recklessly. If the plaintiff can prove that the defendant had actual knowledge that his or her actions were dangerous, then punitive damages may be available under the right circumstances.

How do you know if you qualify for punitive damages? Here are a couple of things to consider:

Did the defendant act with malice?

Malice means that the defendant intended to injure the victim or acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others. This could involve car accident injuries due to the following:

  • drunk, drugged, or otherwise intoxicated drivers
  • if a person intentionally hits another person with their car.
  • some instances of hit and run could apply
  • excessive speeding or other extremely reckless driving

Was the injury severe?

Severe injuries include those that result in permanent disability or death. 

To determine whether punitive damages are appropriate in your car accident case, contact a car accident attorney who specializes in these complex types of cases.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help My Car Accident Case?

A car accident lawyer helps injured clients recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. If you were involved in an auto accident, you may qualify for financial assistance from the insurance company responsible for paying your claim. However, you may still need legal representation to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

Car accident lawyers represent clients who have been hurt due to negligence or wrongdoing by another person or entity. They may help victims of car accidents, slip and fall incidents, defective products, construction site accidents, and other types of accidents.

Injured parties often seek out experienced car accident attorneys after receiving a settlement offer from the insurance company responsible. Insurance companies typically pay settlements based on a percentage of the total amount of damages claimed by the client. For example, if a victim claims $100,000 in medical expenses and $50,000 in lost income, the insurance company would typically pay $25,000. This means that the victim receives 25% of his or her actual losses.

Car accident attorneys will examine all the evidence in order to prove punitive damages in a car wreck. This may include reviewing police reports, witness statements, digital evidence, crash angles, and a variety of other things. In many cases, they will request bringing in expert witnesses to testify on the victim's behalf. Successfully proving a car accident case, especially one involving malicious intent, is an involved process that relies on a high degree of legal experience and knowledge. 

What Must Be Proved To Recover Punitive Damages?

In order to recover punitive damages, there must be evidence that the defendant acted maliciously towards the plaintiff. This means that the defendant must have intended to harm the plaintiff or knew that his actions would cause injury to the plaintiff. A jury may award punitive damages if they find that the defendant was guilty of gross negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of others.

However, punitive damages cannot be recovered unless the defendant had knowledge of the dangerous condition of the property. For example, if the defendant did not know about the dangerous condition of the sidewalk, he cannot be held liable for punitive damages. Similarly, if the defendant was unaware of the defective condition of the vehicle, he cannot be held responsible for punitive damages.

It is important to note that punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff for his injuries. They are designed to punish the defendant for his misconduct. The same principle applies to automobile accidents. If a driver is driving recklessly, then he is acting with malice or reckless indifference towards the safety of others. The fact that the driver is intoxicated does not excuse him from liability. Nevertheless, if the plaintiff proves that the defendant acted with malicious intent, then punitive damages can still be awarded. In these cases, the court will determine the appropriate amount of punitive damages based on the facts of the case.

In cases where malice or ill intent caused the car accident, an experienced car accident attorney will be able to gather the proper evidence to prove the case. These cases are very complex and given that a court will not award punitive damages in just any case, it is best to have an attorney that understands the legal options and regulations behind the case. 

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in New York Today

A car accident lawsuit can be difficult to file. It becomes considerably more complicated when you are seeking punitive damages in addition to reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages have a higher burden of proof than other types of damages.

Our attorneys at Banville Law, a New York accident and injury law firm, have considerable experience in obtaining punitive damages for clients who have been injured as a result of gross carelessness. Call our law firm immediately to schedule a free consultation regarding your situation. We look forward to assisting you in determining what damages you may be entitled to if you've been hurt in a car or other motor vehicle accident due to someone else's negligence.

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Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: April 25, 2022
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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