While many car accidents have common causes, the specific circumstances of your accident will determine how you will get compensated for your suffering. If another driver’s negligence caused your damages, you may file a claim against them and their insurer. But if the injuries or damages are minimal, you may have to file a no-fault insurance claim with your provider.
If you are injured by a driver who is intoxicated or who flees the scene of the accident, you can typically file for punitive damages. Like a personal injury claim, you can get compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, car damages and pain and suffering. However, punitive damages carry the weight of moral judgement on the party responsible and are designed to punish their poor decision, as well as serve as a deterrent to others.
The two main distinguishing factors of punitive damages include compensation that is proportionate to the severity of the damages and also how much money it would take to punish the driver accordingly. The purpose of punitive damages is not to just simply cover the victim’s expenses, but to cause the negligent party hardship for lack of concern for the welfare of others. To recover punitive damages, the intention of the driver to drink and drive or flee the scene must be proven.
You may be able to file a no-fault claim with your insurer for compensation if your damages are minimal, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. However, there is often an amount of expenses or severity of injury that cannot be exceeded in a no-fault claim, and you cannot claim pain and suffering as a reason for compensation from your insurer.
For car accidents that include high medical costs and more severe injuries, you will have to file against the party at fault and their insurer.
If the reliable driver is uninsured or underinsured, and does not have assets, it may be more difficult to recover compensation from them. You may be able to file an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurer in such circumstances. If this coverage is included in your policy and the insurer refuses to pay, you may sue them for bad faith and they may be subjected to punitive damages as well.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP NY have the legal knowledge to determine how to get compensation for your damages.