When Are Punitive Damages Recoverable in New York?
If you were seriously hurt because someone failed to act with reasonable care—or intentionally caused you harm—you may be entitled to monetary damages. By bringing a personal injury claim, it might be possible to recover compensation for lost income, healthcare bills, pain and suffering, and other compensatory damages. Depending on the circumstances, it might also be possible to obtain punitive damages.
In New York, compensatory damages reimburse plaintiffs for their economic and non-economic losses, which may include:
- Medical expenses;
- Home care;
- Lost income and benefits;
- Loss of future earnings;
- Property damage;
- Alternative transportation;
- Vehicle and home modifications;
- Replacement services;
- Child care;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of enjoyment in life;
- Physical impairment and disfigurement; and
- Pain and suffering.
Punitive damages, on the other hand, punish defendants for especially egregious behavior and aim to deter similar conduct in the future. While every successful personal injury claim yields a compensatory award, most do not warrant punitive damages; however, you may be able to obtain a punitive award if the defendant acted with:
- Willful negligence;
- Wanton recklessness;
- A high degree of immorality;
- Fraudulent or dishonest intentions;
- A criminal indifference to civil obligations; or
- A conscious disregard for the rights, health, or safety of others.
To win punitive damages, you will need strong evidence that the defendant’s misconduct exceeded ordinary negligence and was indeed egregious or morally reprehensible. Since every personal injury case is unique, there’s no exhaustive list that states all the scenarios that might warrant punitive damages; however, there are some situations that typically warrant such an award.
For example, victims of drunk driving accidents are often entitled to punitive damages. This is because when someone gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, it demonstrates a conscious disregard for the lives of those in traffic around them.
You could also be entitled to punitive damages if you were hurt in a hit and run accident. Sometimes a driver will flee the scene to evade justice, but in doing so, they put the injured person at a heightened risk of severe medical complications or death.
Cases that involve altered or destroyed evidence tend to call for a punitive award, as well. If you were the victim of medical malpractice, for example, but your surgical team destroyed the records that implicated them, you might be entitled to more than just compensatory damages.
Call 716-855-3761 to Discuss Your Case with a New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you are recovering from serious injuries and you want to pursue all applicable damages from those who are liable, turn to Boyd L. Earl at LoTempio P.C. Law Group. Boyd L. Earl has been representing injured parties for more than 25 years.
Using all the resources at the firm’s disposal, he will vigorously seek the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other associated costs. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in New York.