When pursuing a New York personal injury claim, you will likely hear the
term “damages” being tossed around. In a lawsuit, these damages
do not directly refer to the actual injuries you’ve suffered or
damage to your property, but instead refer to the monetary award you are pursuing.
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In a lawsuit, there are essentially two basic types of damages –
compensatory, or “actual” damages, as well as punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate you for things like medical expenses, loss
of income, property damages, and other such economic losses. They also
include noneconomic losses, including pain and suffering.
Punitive damages, as the name suggests, are only awarded to punish the defendant for some
behavior that was considered particularly malicious or reckless.
What Damages Can You Recover?
If you have been physically or emotionally injured in an accident, you
can seek compensation for these injuries. You can also pursue damages
for other damage to your property, as well as other economic losses you’ve
In a typical personal injury claim, you can seek many types of damages,
- Medical care
- Loss of income, and future income
- Damaged property
- Pain & suffering
- Emotional distress
When Are Punitive Damages Awarded?
In New York, punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant
acted in an extremely malicious manner to intentionally cause harm to
the plaintiff, or when they willfully or wantonly engage in negligent
behavior which caused the injuries. The injuries do not need to be serious
for a judge to award punitive damages, and don’t need to be physical
– emotional distress is grounds for punitive damages. However, it’s
important to keep in mind that such damages are rare.
Examples which could lead to punitive damages include:
- A car accident caused by a drunk driver
- A manufacturer knowingly failing to recall a defective product
- A bicyclist intentionally struck by an angry driver
If you or a loved one has been hurt, the time to act is now. Call our New
York personal injury attorneys 24/7 at (203) 718-4002 to learn how we can help.