Punitive Damages in Upstate New York DUIs

Punitive damages are somewhat rare in upstate New York injury cases, but they are perhaps especially likely to be awarded for DUI injuries. And if you have been injured by a drunk driver, you need to strive for as much compensation as possible. Not only do you need to worry about medical expenses, but you also need to consider your missed wages. The combination of these two factors can easily lead to financial ruination. Furthermore, non-economic damages like PTSD must be taken into account.

The best way to strive for the highest possible settlement amount is to book a consultation with a qualified attorney in upstate New York. But we know what you’re thinking: “Where can I find attorneys near me?” Not to worry — this area is filled with upstate New York DUI accident attorneys, and you can get started with an effective action plan as soon as you book a consultation.

How Are Punitive Damages Handled in New York?

As the name suggests, punitive damages are intended to “punish” defendants in injury lawsuits. Victims are only awarded punitive damages if they were hurt by someone guilty of gross, serious, and reckless misconduct. In upstate New York, you must show that the defendant engaged in “extreme, egregious, or immoral conduct.” In other words, they didn’t just make a mistake — they were intentionally acting in a manner that could have easily killed someone.

Why Punitive Damages are More Likely in DUI Cases

In a typical car accident, punitive damages may not be awarded. This is because car accidents are typically caused by simple errors and misjudgment rather than intentional recklessness. However, when a drunk driver injures another party, punitive damages may be more likely (1). This is because driving while drunk may be considered “extreme, egregious, or immoral conduct” under certain circumstances (2).

But it’s not enough to simply prove that the defendant was drunk. If you want to receive punitive damages, you need to show that their behavior was extremely reckless. Perhaps they were weaving in and out of lanes. Maybe they were so drunk that they were driving on the sidewalk, thinking it was a shortcut. Maybe they were streetracing.

Where Can I Find an Attorney?

If you’ve been searching for Syracuse DUI or DWI accident lawyers, look no further than The Stanley Law Offices, LLP. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured plaintiffs — including those who have been hurt by drunk drivers. We know that these injuries can be life-changing, and we know that it’s essential to strive for the most compensation possible. With our assistance, you can fight for your rights and a fair settlement. Book your consultation today.


  1. https://dmv.ny.gov/tickets/penalties-alcohol-or-drug-related-violations
  2. https://content.next.westlaw.com/w-002-4311?__lrTS=20210611191440072&transitionType=Default&contextData=(sc.Default)&firstPage=true#:~:text=A%20court%20may%20award%20punitive,wanton%2C%20reckless%2C%20or%20malicious.

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