Motor vehicle accidents caused by reckless or careless driving can lead to serious injury or death. If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one, you may be wondering how much compensation you’re entitled to, depending on the circumstances of your motor vehicle accident. Our experienced personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, can help you understand how damages and settlement amounts are determined and help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.
Careless Driving Vs. Reckless Driving: What’s The Difference?
Under New Jersey Law, driving a vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger a person or property is considered careless driving. Reckless driving may be charged when a motorist drives with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. Both offenses can come with hefty fines and license suspension, but reckless driving is a more serious offense that may lead to jail time.
If you’ve been hit by a careless or reckless driver, you may be entitled to recover compensatory damages in both cases. Although there are certain formulas for calculating compensatory damages, each motor vehicle accident case is different, and settlement amounts will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and losses. In a claim that’s brought against a reckless driver, you are more likely to receive punitive damages, which can significantly increase the amount of a motor vehicle accident settlement.
What Are Punitive Damages?
While compensatory damages like medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering are intended to “make a plaintiff whole,” punitive damages are awarded to punish a liable party who has acted in a particularly egregious manner. Punitive damages are also meant to deter the liable party and others from engaging in similar wrongful conduct in the future.
In New Jersey, punitive damages are limited to up to five times the amount of compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater. To be awarded punitive damages, you must prove that your injuries and losses were caused by the defendant, that their conduct was malicious and that they acted in a wanton and willful disregard of your rights and safety.
Regardless of the circumstances, if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it’s essential to seek the advice of experienced personal injury attorneys who can help you put a value on your claim, protect your rights and look out for your best interests.
Our attorneys at The Law Offices of Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, have extensive experience handling claims involving all types of motor vehicle accidents. The combined knowledge of our personal injury lawyers and traffic violations attorneys allows us to develop creative, collaborative strategies that help clients recover maximum compensation for their damages. Contact us online, or call 732-936-9901 to schedule a free consultation.