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New York City Personal Injury Lawyers

A Closer Look at Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a person files a personal injury lawsuit in New York State, generally, what he or she is seeking is compensation for the injuries they have sustained and the financial burden caused by those injuries. This compensation is known as damages. Courts will award damages to an injured plaintiff, payable by the defendant or defendant’s insurer, when the defendant is found legally responsible for the plaintiff’s injury.

If the court determines that your injury or accident is the result of someone else’s fault (including individuals, businesses and governments), the court will award monetary damages as compensation. So what exactly do damages cover? For starters, there are two types of damages that may be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit: Compensatory Damages and Punitive Damages.

Compensatory damages are intended to reimburse or “compensate”  the injured victim for what they lost or had to pay for as a result of the accident or injury. The idea behind compensatory damages is that a victim should not be held responsible for the unfortunate results of someone else’s carelessness.

As such compensatory damages can cover medical bills, lost income, and lost or damaged property.  It can also be used to compensate the victim for their pain & suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment as a result of the accident — although these are generally more difficult to place a monetary value on.  These types of compensatory damages are why it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.  The personal injury attorneys at Ernest Holzberg & Associates will help you to evaluate the value of your claim.

Punitive damages may be awarded when the court determines that the accident or injury was the result of a defendant’s particularly reckless, egregious,or outrageous conduct. Punitive damages are be awarded in addition to compensatory damages. Unlike compensatory damages, which protect the victim from bearing the costs that resulted from someone else’s negligence; punitive damages are intended to punish or deter particularly reprehensible negligent conduct (gross negligence).

It is also important to know that a personal injury victim’s own conduct can sometimes effect the amount of damages he or she may be awarded. The State of New York follows a comparative fault rule. This means that when a court determines that both the plaintiff and the defendant were at fault, the court will award damages in accordance to each party’s level of fault.  Essentially, this means the more responsible you are for your injury, less you stand to receive in damages.

For more information about the damages you or an injured loved one may be entitled to, contact the skilled New York personal injury attorneys at Ernest Holzberg & Associates, P.C. to schedule a free evaluation of your claim.


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