Sometimes in New York personal injury cases, victims can recover more than just compensatory damages to make them whole for their harms. Punitive damages can be awarded in some situations to punish someone’s particularly bad behavior as well as serve as a deterrent to them and others from repeating the same behavior in the future. Even though punitive damages are awarded on a case-by-case basis and are entirely at judge or jury’s discretion, there are still some general guidelines that can offer guidance on when punitive damages may be awarded in your Long Island personal injury claim. A skilled Long Island car accident lawyer can assist you in understanding how these may apply to your claim.
Standard of Proof
To recover punitive damages, a victim must prove the responsible party acted with complete disregard for the victim’s safety or health. Clear evidence must be presented that the conduct reflects such a conscious, deliberate disregard of the interests of others that it’s considered “willful and wanton.” This is very strict and much higher than the proof needed to establish liability and recover compensatory damages, which is why punitive damages are pretty rare.
What is Willful and Wanton Conduct?
Right now, Long Island and the rest of New York have no strict standard of what counts as willful or wanton conduct for purposes of personal injury punitive damage awards. However, a few cases have given some instruction as to what may qualify for these additional damages. Punitive damages were permitted when the injurious actions “evince a high degree of moral turpitude” and demonstrate criminal indifference to the wrongdoer’s civil obligations. Notice of a court order and choosing to ignore it can also amount to “willful or wanton” conduct when it ends up harming the victim.
Contact A Long Island Car Accident Attorney
When you are the victim of a personal injury, it’s important you take steps to secure the maximum compensation you deserve – as well as hold wrongdoers accountable for their bad behavior. Punitive damages can be difficult to prove, so it’s important you contact the experienced Long Island personal injury attorneys at the Falkowitz Law Firm, PLLC to put your best case forward and avoid costly legal missteps. Contact us 24/7 at (844)-385-4279 or by completing our online Contact Page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us use our knowledge and resources to fight for you and secure the best possible outcome from an unfortunate situation.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.