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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NOTICE OF CLAIM REQUIREMENT

Before one can bring a lawsuit to collect damages against a city, town, or a public agency in the state of New York, a notice of claim requirement must be satisfied. A claimant has ninety days during which to file and comply with the notice of claim requirement or they will be barred from bringing the action. This is not the same as the statute of limitations.  The statute of limitations against municipalities is one year and ninety days as opposed to the normal statute of limitations for personal injury matters in New York which is three years.

One of the main purposes of the notice of claim requirement is to give the government a thirty-day time window upon receipt of the notice of claim to request a “50-H” hearing. This hearing is somewhat like a deposition and it is an advantage that non-government entities do not receive. It gives the government an extra opportunity to acquire information and testimony it may use to defeat a claim. The government may also request a medical examination during this thirty-day time period. Every municipality has the power to designate who must be served with the notice of claim and if the notice of claim requirement is not satisfied, the claim itself will be barred forever.  It is important to determine who it should be served on before attempting to serve a notice of claim.

It is advisable to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before attempting to comply with the notice of claim requirement. The barring of the action for failure to comply with the notice of claim requirement is a strict penalty and not worth the risk of attempting this task pro se.

Personal Injury Attorney

Retaining an attorney that understands the process of suing a municipality can make all the difference in your case. When you or a loved one are injured by the negligence of a municipality, you need a personal injury attorney who understands the process. Call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.

Hit and Run

On September 14, 2016, in Message/News Board, Motor Vehicle Accident, Personal Injury, by Timothy B. Prakope, Esq.

Hit and Run

We tend to not think of hit and run car accidents as a major issue in New York.  Unfortunately in a large city such as New York, there are many selfish people living amongst us as we go about our daily lives. We often take our own safety for granted when we go for a casual stroll at night to the corner store to grab a late-night bite to eat. Tragically, a casual late-night stroll can end someone’s life and shatter a family. Sadly, this is what happened in Cypress Hills Brooklyn when Israel Turcios and his friend Delmer Maldenado went out for a bite around midnight. The two men, both fathers, were run down by a selfish, depraved person that ran away from the scene of the crime. Not only did this selfish individual leave two men dying on the street, he left two families shattered into pieces. ABC News reports that the search is on for this depraved individual who is still on the loose after this hit and run incident.  The story can  be read here.

In large cities such as New York and the five boroughs, nightmares like this occur more frequent then they should. When you or a loved one are the victim of a crime such as a hit and run, you need someone fighting on your side. You need someone that will help you put the fragmented pieces of your family back together. Call the Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at 516-858-2620 to speak to a personal injury attorney.

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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