Does NY State Allow You to Sue for Punitive Damages?
As a victim, learning about all the different types of damages and compensation available to you in a lawsuit is important. Depending on your case, you may be eligible to receive substantial punitive damages in New York.
Though available to victims in some circumstances, punitive damages are very rare in New York. These damages are designed to punish defendants for gross negligence or intentionally malicious acts and are generally reserved for well-known and influential defendants. That said, it’s still important to ask your attorney about punitive damages, regardless of your claim. There’s no standard formula for calculating punitive damages in New York, nor is there a cap. Because proving the need for punitive damages is difficult, New York victims can benefit from having an experienced attorney by their side.
We’re here to help personal injury victims throughout New York recover the damages they deserve. For a free case evaluation with the New York personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm, call today at (718) 841-0083.
Are Punitive Damages Available to Victims in NY State?
Among the various types of damages available to victims in New York, punitive damages are the rarest. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and a negligent party’s behavior, you might be able to recover punitive damages in a New York lawsuit.
While punitive damages are sometimes available in New York personal injury lawsuits, the chances of a judge or jury granting them are low. Generally, punitive damages are only granted when a defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentionally malicious. Because of that, punitive damages are rarely available to victims of certain accidents, like car accidents and slip and fall accidents.
Generally, punitive damages are awarded when a public figure or powerful company or institution causes injury to a victim. Judges and juries tend to award punitive damages to make an example out of a negligent defendant and to dissuade others from engaging in similar behavior. The following claims might result in punitive damages for New York victims:
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Sexual abuse
- Workplace discrimination
It’s important for New York victims to understand whether or not they are eligible for punitive damages before they file a claim. An experienced Riverhead personal injury lawyer can evaluate your claim and gauge what types of damages may be available to you so that you know what to expect entering into litigation.
How Are Punitive Damages Calculated in NY State?
If your personal injury claim makes you eligible for punitive damages, you may be curious how much you’ll get. In New York, there’s no real equation judges and juries use to determine appropriate punitive damages. In fact, punitive damages are entirely subjective.
In New York, a judge or jury that decides that punitive damages are appropriate will choose an amount that reflects a defendant’s gross negligence. Remember, punitive damages aren’t designed to compensate victims but to punish defendants. Because of that, there is no monetary value to refer to when calculating punitive damages. Instead, a judge or jury will evaluate the severity of a defendant’s actions and apply an appropriate consequence.
Often, judges and juries will set punitive damages by applying some multiplier to your other compensatory damages. For example, “treble damages” are set at three times the compensatory damages. But since there is no one way to calculate punitive damages, your Queens personal injury lawyer has the opportunity to argue for substantial punitive damages.
Does NY State Impose a Cap on Punitive Damages?
Because punitive damages do not seek to compensate victims for losses but rather to punish defendants for their negligence, you might assume that there is a cap on such damages. However, New York has no threshold for punitive damages awarded to victims.
Fortunately for New York victims of gross negligence or intentional malice, there is no cap on punitive damages in the state. Without a cap on punitive damages, judges and juries can apply the appropriate punishment to negligent defendants, whatever that may be. Although New York doesn’t impose a strict cap on punitive damages, awards typically don’t exceed ten times the amount in compensatory damages victims receive, at the most.
The lack of a threshold for punitive damages aligns with New York’s handling of compensatory damages, like economic and non-economic damages. There is no cap on all types of damages available to New York personal injury victims.
How to Improve Your Chances of Recovering Punitive Damages in a NY State Lawsuit
Although punitive damages might be available in your New York personal injury case, there is no guarantee you will recover them. Because of that, it’s important to hire an experienced Albany personal injury lawyer. Your attorney can help you build a strong case against a defendant so that you can recover the damages you deserve.
Proving the need for punitive damages is often very challenging. In order to do so, your attorney must demonstrate that a defendant was willful, wanton, reckless, or malicious when they caused your injuries. Holding powerful companies and institutions accountable for their negligence and recovering punitive damages can be difficult. A skilled New York personal injury lawyer can use their experience and resources to uncover compelling evidence that allows you to recover compensatory and punitive damages.
Because punitive damages are so rare in New York, many victims may not realize they can recover punitive damages until they have already been compensated. To get the justice you deserve and improve your chances of recovering punitive damages in a New York personal injury lawsuit, hire an experienced attorney you can trust.
Call Our NY State Lawyers About Your Case Today
If you’re unsure whether or not you can recover punitive damages in your compensation claim, ask our attorneys for clarification. For a free case evaluation with the Binghamton personal injury lawyers at The Carrion Law Firm, call today at (718) 841-0083.