Personal Injury Actions Involving DWI’s May Lead to Punitive Damages

Individuals who are injured by a person driving while intoxicated may be entitled to punitive damages in addition to the compensatory damages that awarded.  The New York Appellate Division, Second Department ruled in Chiara v. Dernago, 12 A.D.3d 999; 11 N.Y.S. App. Div. Lexis 4367; 2015 NY Slip Op 04444, that in certain situations, punitive damages are warranted.  The excerpt from the decision is as follows:

“Whereas compensatory damages are intended to assure that the victim receives “fair and just compensation commensurate with the injury sustained,” punitive damages are meant to “punish the tortfeasor and to deter this wrongdoer and others similarly situated from indulging in the same conduct in the future” (Ross v. Louise Wise Servs., Inc., 8 NY3d 478, 489, 868 NE2d 189, 836 NYS2d 509 [2007]; see Sharapata v Town of Islip, 56 NY2d 332, 335, 437 NE2d 1104, 452 NYS2d 347 [1982]; Walker v Sheldon, 10 NY2d 401, 404, 179 NE2d 497, 223 NYS2d 488 [1961]; Western N.Y. Land Conservancy, Inc. v Cullen, 66 AD3d 1461, 1463, 886 NYS2d 303 [2009]).  Evidence that a defendant was driving while intoxicated is insufficient, standing alone, to justify the imposition of punitive damages (see Rodgers v Duffy, 95 AD3d 864, 866-867, 944 NYS2d 175 [2012]; D’Angelo v Litterer, 77 AD3d 1373, 1374, 907 NYS2d 917 [2010]; Trudeau v Cooke, 2 AD3d 1133, 1134, 769 NYS2d 322 [2003]; Deon v Fortuna, 283 AD2d 388, 389, 724 NYS2d 450 [2001]).  However, driving while intoxicated may support an award for punitive damages where there is additional evidence that the defendant engaged in “wanton and reckless” conduct evincing heedlessness and an utter disregard for the safety of others (Shragel v Juszczyk, 43 AD3d 1375, 1375, 844 NYS2d 532 [2007]; see Parkhill v Cleary, 305 AD2d 1088, 1089, 759 NYS2d 262 [2003]; Taylor v Dyer, 190 AD2d 902, 903, 593 NYS2d 122 [1993]; Sweeney v McCormick, 159 AD2d 832, 834, 552 NYS2d 707 [1990]; see also Deon v Fortuna, 283 AD2d at 389).  An evaluation of whether punitive damages are warranted must be made “on a case by case basis taking into account the nature of the actor’s conduct and the level of his intoxication” (Sweeney v McCormick, 159 AD2d at 834).”

Personal Injury Attorney

Retaining an attorney that understands how to prosecute a personal injury action can make all the difference in your case. When you or a loved one are injured by someone driving while intoxicated, please know that we are here to help you.  Call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.

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INDUSTRIAL CODE VIOLATIONS

New York Courts are littered with Labor Law 241(6) claims that hinge on whether the correct industrial codes have been plead and supported with admissible evidence.  For a person injured in a construction accident, industrial code violations are probably the last thing on their mind.  Having a personal injury attorney familiar with Labor Law cases is obviously extraordinarily important in these situations.  Knowing what questions to ask and what evidence to track down can make the difference between a successful Labor Law claim and a failing one.

Construction accidents are often the result of a contractor or subcontractor’s failure to comply with the industrial code.  The industrial code exists to provide a safe work environment for construction workers as well as for those people who may be on or near the work area for other reasons.  Industrial Code violations are usually due to construction companies rushing to complete a job by a deadline or cut costs to increase profitability.  In New York, construction jobs are so competitive.  It is important that contractors do not put profit over safety.

Often times, construction accidents result in horrific injuries.  It is only right that the injured party be fairly compensated for their injuries.

Labor Law Attorney

When you or a loved one are injured in a construction accident, we will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. Please call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620, where an attorney with a proven track record of holding responsible parties accountable for their negligence can speak with you about your case.

Construction Accident

The construction industry is a very dangerous industry for trade workers who often put their life and safety on the line when they go to work and risk construction accidents. In large cities such as New York City where new high rises are constructed on a weekly basis, developers, business ventures, owners, general contractors and sub contractors often place the bottom line ahead of worker safety. Most recently on September 1, 2016, we saw what can happen when owners and general contractors put money above safety. Two workers were severely injured when an “I” beam fell from the floor above where they were working and struck them. One workers leg was severely fractured and another worker fell through the floor onto the floor below suffering significant personal injuries.  Click here to see the story.

A construction accident is often times a catastrophic accident for the victim and their family.  The heavy machinery and dangerous conditions can be complicated by the failure of the contractor and subcontractors to follow safety protocol.  The laws in this area are complex and increases the importance of speaking to an attorney experienced in these matters.

Construction Accident Attorney

When this happens to you or a loved one, you need someone who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. Please call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620, where an attorney with a proven track record of holding responsible parties accountable for their negligence can speak with you about your case.

Suffolk County police investigate the scene of a

(Image from Newsday.com)

Pedestrian Knockdown

A pedestrian knockdown is one type of personal injury case that is growing in number on Long Island.  A pedestrian knockdown is when an individual is struck by a motor vehicle and suffers injuries.  A pedestrian knockdown does not necessarily imply criminal conduct such as that in a hit and run, texting while driving or DWI incidents; although they can.  Often times, pedestrian knockdown cases arise out of nothing more than a mere accident.  Just the latest example of this type of accident occurred in Copiague and was reported by News 12.

Whether arising out of criminal conduct or not, pedestrian knockdown cases almost always result in personal injuries.  It is common sense that the human body is not built to withstand an impact from a motor vehicle in motion.  Therefore, when a pedestrian knockdown occurs, the victim has anxiety and a lot of questions.  It is important to understand that a personal injury attorney can assist you in answering questions such as how to seek medical advice, whose insurance pays for medical treatment, how liability for the accident is assessed and determining if a personal injury lawsuit should be commenced.  Having answers to these questions will allow the victim to focus all of their energy on recovering and calm the concerns of their family.  Most people often underestimate the importance of consulting with a personal injury attorney.  It is important to remember that being injured in an accident is very traumatic and scary.  The experience is exacerbated by not knowing how to handle the “fall-out” from the accident or lessened by having people around you who do.

Personal Injury Attorney in Mineola

If you or someone you are concerned about have been injured in a motor vehicle accident of any kind, especially a pedestrian knockdown, call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 today. Remember, successful litigation is no accident.

 

 

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