What Are Punitive Damages?
Punitive damages. You may have heard this term from time to time in the news or read it in a newspaper and asked, “what in the world is that?” Punitive damages can be quite confusing to understand. They are known as exemplary damages and may be awarded in addition to compensatory damages in a lawsuit. Punitive damages may be awarded in personal injury cases where there is wanton and egregious negligence – injury caused without consideration and complete disregard of the person. These types of damages are not meant to give you back something in return for any injury you sustained, but rather to punish the defendant for their negligent conduct.
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What is the Standard of Proof for Punitive Damages in a Personal Injury Case?
In New York, Punitive damages are considered an extraordinary remedy. However, case law in New York holds that the entitlement to punitive damages must rise to the level of willful and wanton negligence. In other words, the standard for awarding punitive damages is quite high. While a defendant need not purposefully injure the plaintiff, there must be, in some form or another, gross negligence and malice that contributed to the plaintiff’s injury. This does not mean that the possibility for an award for punitive damages is impossible, but rather that courts usually hold the facts to a higher standard when considering an award for punitive damages. Only a skilled attorney will be able to advise what damages you may be entitled to in your personal injury matter.
If you have been injured in any type of accident, you may need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. Our attorneys have over a combined century of experience dealing with personal injury matters. Call the Law Office of Richard Kenny to get your free consultation today.