New York tort laws and personal injury laws cover a wide range of legal actions and claims. As in any state, plaintiffs may recover losses based on the nature and degree of harm they experienced. In most cases, the legal remedy will be an economic damages award.

Common personal injury claims in New York include:

  • Vehicular accident claims
  • Negligence lawsuits
  • Minor assault/battery claims
  • Premises liability claims (such as slip and fall cases in retail stores)

Does New York Impose Any Limits on Damage Awards?

New York courts don’t impose any formal limits on damage awards in personal injury cases. New York is one of about 15 states that do not impose any caps on medical malpractice awards. Medical malpractice claims also make up a significant percentage of personal injury claims.

In addition, New York doesn’t impose any formal limits on punitive damages. However, punitive damages must not be "grossly excessive", especially in comparison to economic damages.

How Does New York Process Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages awards are issued in some personal injury cases in order to punish the defendant and to deter them from future misconduct. In the state of New York, punitive damages are characterized as "quasi-criminal". This is due to the fact that such damages are not economic in nature. Instead, they are intended to regulate the behavior of the defendant.

In New York, punitive damages may be awarded where the defendant’s conduct involves a "high degree of moral culpability". The conduct must rise beyond mere carelessness. Claims involving willful conduct/extreme recklessness will likely support a request for punitive damages. Punitive damages are also issued in cases involving:

  • Fraud
  • Malice
  • Oppressive behavior
  • Intentional insults
  • Aggravation of the plaintiff

Damages awards in New York personal injury claims are often hard to calculate. They may require the assistance of a legal professional or an expert witness.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Personal injury claims can often involve a mix of different New York laws. In some cases, federal laws can also be involved. You may need to hire a qualified personal injury lawyer if you need help filing a personal injury claim. Your attorney will be able to represent you and guide you through the process. If you need to file a motion or request an appeal, your attorney can assist you with such issues as well.