Can I Get Punitive Damages After a Car Accident in New Jersey?

By Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.Auto Accident

New Jersey law allows punitive damages against parties who exhibit egregious or intentionally harmful behavior that justifies penalizing them. However, negligence in a car accident case rarely rises to this level of conduct. Therefore, in all likelihood, you will not be awarded punitive damages after your accident.

Even without the possibility of recovering punitive damages in a personal injury lawsuit, the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P. C. can help you recover substantial compensation for all of your actual losses and injuries. This may include damages to reimburse you for your anticipated future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Understanding the differences between economic, non-economic, and punitive damages

When you suffer injuries and losses in a car accident, the negligent driver will be liable to reimburse you for your economic losses. These will include the value of your damaged property, medical expenses, and other quantifiable losses you incurred due to your injuries. In addition, that driver will also be responsible for paying for your non-economic losses, including your pain and suffering and other damages that do not have a dollar value, such as loss of consortium. A car accident attorney who has extensive knowledge and experience in personal injury cases can assess your case to give you an estimate of the economic and non-economic damages you might be able to recover.

On the other hand, punitive damages are not part of your losses. Instead, they are a penalty that is imposed on another party whose gross negligence is an affront to all standards of normal and decent behavior. 

New Jersey law places special procedures and limits on punitive damages

A punitive damages award in New Jersey, when it is available, can never be more than $350,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages. Further, a car accident lawyer must specifically request punitive damages in a personal injury complaint. They must also conduct a second proceeding to justify a punitive damages award after a court awards economic and non-economic damages to an injured party.

To recover punitive damages, that lawyer must prove that the negligent party acted maliciously or with a wanton and willful disregard of the injured party’s rights. The negligent party’s conduct in a car accident case rarely meets these requirements. 

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman will get you the largest damages award that you are entitled to recover

You might not recover punitive damages in your New Jersey car accident lawsuit. However, when you retain us, you can be assured that we will aggressively pursue the largest damages award that you may be entitled to recover under the facts of your case. We represent car accident victims in Bergen County and elsewhere in New Jersey. Call us for straightforward answers to your questions about punitive damages or other damages you deserve after being injured in a New Jersey car accident.

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