Can Distracted Driving Increase Compensation in a NYC Car Accident Case?

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    If you were injured in a car accident caused by distracted driving, you deserve compensation from the driver who caused it. However, you might wonder if their distraction at the time of the incident will increase the compensation you receive in a legal case.

    When you are involved in a car accident, the damages awarded to you are intended to compensate for the harm you’ve suffered. In general, compensation is not increased based on the severity of the defendant’s actions. However, if the defendant’s distracted driving caused you to sustain more serious injuries, then your compensation should reflect that. Additionally, distracted driving might be considered a factor in determining punitive damages.

    For a free case evaluation with our New York City car accident attorneys, contact The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.

    Will Compensation Increase if the Other Driver Was Distracted When They Caused My New York City Car Accident?

    When you are involved in a car accident, it can result in various types of damages. These damages can be categorized into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to the monetary loss incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are paid for non-monetary harm, such as physical and mental/emotional harm.

    Regardless of the type of damages, they are all compensatory damages, meaning they are intended to compensate you for the harm you suffered. Fortunately, our Oyster Bay car accident lawyers have the experience to assess your damages accurately. Compensatory damages can reimburse you for the financial losses you have incurred or the physical and psychological pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident.

    The damages awarded to the plaintiff in a lawsuit are not solely based on the defendant’s actions but on the extent of harm caused. In determining the amount of damages, juries are expected to focus solely on the severity of the injuries sustained and not on the defendant’s culpability. However, the severity of the defendant’s actions might result in more severe injuries, leading to higher damages.

    On the other hand, punitive damages are awarded as a form of punishment to the defendant rather than as compensation to the plaintiff. These damages act as a fine and are based on the level of fault attributed to the defendant. More severe actions by the defendant can lead to increased punitive damages.

    What are the Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving in New York City?

    There are countless distractions that can cause a New York City car accident. The following are just a few of the most common ways that drivers become distracted behind the wheel:

    Cell Phones

    The use of mobile phones while driving is strictly prohibited in New York City unless they are hands-free. Any violation of this law is considered a traffic infraction and can lead to a fine of up to $100.

    Even hands-free phone calls can be distracting while driving, as they can divert the driver’s attention away from the road and delay their response to different road conditions. Therefore, it is always advisable to limit phone calls while driving. If a conversation is necessary, it is best to pull over to a safe location and engage in the conversation. This will ensure that the driver’s attention is solely focused on the road and will guarantee a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.

    Vehicle Displays

    Modern cars are equipped with various high-tech features like infotainment systems, navigation screens, and entertainment consoles. However, the use of these advanced vehicle technologies can often distract the driver’s attention from the primary task of driving, which is to focus on the road.

    Children and Other Passengers

    When driving, it’s important to be mindful of the children in the car. Activities such as feeding, comforting, and ensuring their safety can cause drivers to lose focus on the road. However, it’s not just children that can be distracting. Other passengers can also engage in distracting behaviors that might cause drivers to lose their concentration, potentially leading to accidents.


    Consuming any kind of food, beverages, or even trying to groom oneself while driving, can cause a momentary lapse in concentration. Even a moment of distraction can prove fatal, as it takes only a split second for a mishap to occur on the road. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid any such activity that might divert your attention from the road while driving.

    Can I Get Punitive Damages if Distracted Driving Caused My New York City Car Accident?

    If punitive damages are awarded, they can have a significant impact on the overall compensation amount. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate plaintiffs for their losses but rather to punish defendants for their bad behavior. This means that if you are awarded punitive damages, it is essentially a bonus. While it is possible that punitive damages might be available in a distracted driving case, it’s unlikely, and therefore, any increase in damages might not be significant.

    How Punitive Damages Are Awarded

    Punitive damages are an uncommon form of compensation in New York City, particularly in cases that are based on negligence. In general, New York City courts do not award punitive damages unless the plaintiff can provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted with willful or wanton negligence, demonstrating a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

    If the driver involved in your accident was distracted, it is likely that the accident was unintentional and not caused by willful or wanton negligence. Proving actual willful or wanton negligence can be challenging, so it is unlikely that distracted driving alone would enable you to claim punitive damages. Therefore, it might not be possible to increase your overall damages by seeking punitive damages in cases of distracted driving.

    Is There a Cap on Punitive Damages?

    Different states have different laws when it comes to punitive damages. In New York City, there are no specific limitations on the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded. This applies to non-economic damages as well. Therefore, the amount of punitive or non-economic damages that can be awarded in a specific case is not restricted in any way.

    However, in the case of car accidents in New York City, insurance policies do not currently cover punitive damages. But there is a new bill that has been proposed in the New York State Senate, which, if passed, would allow insurance coverage to include punitive damages, civil penalties, and other non-compensatory damages.

    Our New York City Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

    Call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083 to receive your free case review with our Patchogue car accident lawyers.