Is Your NYC Car Accident Eligible for Punitive Damages?

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Monday, Oct 23, 2023

Most personal injury cases come with a straightforward set of damages. You get coverage for economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages. You get coverage for non-economic damages: pain and suffering.

Some cases add a third type of damage: punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish defendants for egregious behavior.


New York City law says that a plaintiff is entitled to punitive damages where “the wrongdoer’s actions amount to willful or wanton negligence, or recklessness, or where there is a conscious disregard of the rights of others or conduct so reckless as to amount to such disregard."

Thus, you can get punitive damages in cases where this wanton disregard has been displayed. For example:

  • The driver was driving drunk, or under the influence of drugs.
  • The driver was driving distracted; for example, texting while driving.
  • The driver was a truck driver who was in violation of federal laws about fatigued driving.
  • A trucking company failed to conduct routine maintenance on their trucks just to increase their profits, and put trucks on the road knowing those trucks could be unsafe.
  • A trucking company employs an unsafe or dangerous driver by failing to background check or train that driver properly.
  • Someone deliberately caused the crash.

Proving this level of recklessness or negligence isn’t always easy. It may be straightforward when a positive breathalyzer test exists but proof positive of drunk driving or other misconduct isn’t always available.


92% of personal injury cases never go to trial. This is another reason why punitive damages are so rare.

Most companies don’t want to deal with the PR that comes from having punitive damages applied to them. Most individuals don’t like the feeling that comes with punitive damages, either.

Thus, we may try to point out that the possibility exists and then use that information to negotiate a higher pain and suffering award instead. Often this is the path that is most likely to be successful.


Regardless of whether your case comes with a potential for punitive damages, you can rest assured that the team at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC, is here to help you.

We’ve recovered over $1 billion for our clients. If you’ve been injured in a car accident case, don’t hesitate to take advantage of our 24-hour hotline to claim your free consultation today.

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You do not have to go through this alone.

At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

We Have Recovered Over $2 Billion for Our Clients.

The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.

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Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.