What Happens to the Negligent Party in an Insurance Claim?

woman holding her neck with a pained facial expression standing in front of a small car with a smashed bumper

A common misconception about pursuing a personal injury claim is that the plaintiff is suing an individual for compensation. In reality, the claim is made against the defendant’s insurance company, and they are typically the ones handling anything having to do with compensation through the duration of the case.

However, this is not to say that nothing happens to the negligent party in the claims process. Depending on the severity of the incident, a court may order punitive damages, which is when an amount of money is awarded to further punish the negligent party for their actions.

How Does New York Handle Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are rare and require a great deal of evidence before they can be pursued. In New York, punitive damages can generally only be pursued if the claimant can prove that the defendant acted in a malicious or reckless manner. Claimants must also prove that they suffered losses as a direct result of this behavior.

For example, if a driver was speeding and hit another vehicle, the driver may be held liable for punitive damages if the claimant can prove that the defendant was aware of their speed and acted recklessly, resulting in losses.

It's also important to note that New York does not have a cap on punitive damages. Because of this, the award may be more significant to accommodate for the severity of the offense.

What Else Can Happen to the Negligent Party?

In addition to punitive damages, the negligent party may also face other consequences depending on the situation. For example, if someone was driving under the influence during an accident that caused injury to another person, they can be held liable for criminal charges in a separate court case.

Have Questions? Contact Basch & Keegan LLP

If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another, it is important to seek legal counsel. The attorneys at Basch & Keegan LLP can help answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim. Contact us today by calling (845) 251-4545 or filling out this short form for more information.

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