Can I always recover punitive damages after automobile accidents in Middletown New York?

Feb 27, 2020 10:00 PM ET

Individuals, law enforcement and public institutions can take measures that will reduce the incidence of automobile accidents, especially those that arise out of reckless or drunk driving in Middletown New York.   Punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant driver because of a wanton disregard or other ill behavior in an attempt to deter repeat behaviors in the future that might cause an automobile accident.  There is no cap on the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in New York.  The punitive damages awarded in most cases will be based on the amount of economic and non-economic damages you are given. Personal injury claims routinely result in damages that cover economic and non-economic losses. but the court tries to reduce the incidence of senseless lawsuits by only awarding punitive damages when a party causing the accident acted in an unacceptable manner. 



Negligence is not enough to recover punitive damages in New York.  Plaintiffs must prove that a defendant acted with malevolent disregard causing the accident.  Every case is unique and all factors leading up to an accident must be investigated to determine the cause.


Drunk driving.

Drunk driving is one instance where negligence will be more easily proven, especially when criminal charges can support a civil claim.  Individual actions against drunk driving accidents.

Do not drive when you have been drinking,
Insist on a designated driver if you are planning on going out with a group who plan on drinking.
Do not mix alcohol with any other drugs, including over-the-counter medications as they sometimes negatively interact and cause increased lethargy and decreased reaction time for any kind of body movements, nonetheless those requiring acuteness such as driving a car,
Do not get into a car with someone who has been impaired by drinking.
If you encounter another driver on the roadway who is driving erratically, contact the highway patrol as soon as possible and give them a license number.

Law enforcement and public institutional actions against drunk driving include sobriety checkpoints, license revocation or suspension, alcohol screening, instructional programs and ignition interlocks in some cases. If a driver has a BAC between .05 and .07 the charge will be DWAI and considered a traffic infraction so the ability to plea down charges is a possibility.

When legal problems stem from a car accident that might incur economic, non-economic and punitive damages, the assistance of a criminal lawyer in Middletown New York may be beneficial for a better defense yielding outcomes including lower fines and fee assessments, shorter jail time and incidence of license suspension. If a driver is charged with a DWI revealing a blood alcohol content (BAC)  at .08 or higher they are considered legally drunk in New York.  DWI is a criminal charge because a person operated a vehicle while over the legal limit of alcohol consumption.  The criminal case outcome often impacts the strength of a civil action. 


See legal counsel.

If you have caused a car accident through reckless behavior or  drunk driving and are at risk of criminal or civil legal accident including awards of punitive damages that can be quite costly,  contact an experienced criminal law attorney at the Law Office of Alex Smith, for a case evaluation to discuss legal options available that may leave you with less severe penalties, fines and jail time.

See Campaign:
Contact Information:
Alex Smith, Esquire
6 North Street
Middletown, New York 10940
Telephone: (845 )344-4322

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