Tort Damages in New York: Nominal, Compensatory & Punitive Damages Defined

A Tort is defined as “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability”. The victim of a tort, in New York, may obtain three different types of damages for the action of the tortfeasor. The types of damages that are recoverable in New York are: nominal; compensatory; and punitive damages.

Tort Damages in New York

Nominal Damages in New York
Nominal Damages in New York are damages awarded for an intentional act that does not require the proving of a loss or injury. The purpose of nominal damages is to protect the rights of the victim of a tort.

One of the most famous cases, in recent history, which involves nominal damages is a case where David Mueller was accused by Taylor Swift of groping her in a meet-and-greet event. The court awarded to Taylor Swift $1 nominal damages for the intentional act of the tortfeasor.

Compensatory Damages in New York
The main purpose of compensatory damages is for the plaintiff to receive payment for the loss and injury suffered by the plaintiff by the actions or inactions of the defendant. Compensatory damages is divided into two categories: Special Compensatory Damages and General Compensatory Damages.

Special Compensatory Damages is aimed at compensating the plaintiff for the monetary (economic) losses incurred due to injury (e.g. medical bills, loss of earnings and rehabilitation expenses) caused by the defendant. General Compensatory Damages are non-monetary damages suffered by the plaintiff such as mental anguish, loss of opportunity and long-term pain and suffering caused by the defendant.

Punitive Damages in New York
Punitive damages may be awarded when the actions of a tortfeasor indicates a
“criminal indifference to civil obligations.” Marinaccio v. Town of Clarence, 20
N.Y.3d 506, 511, 986 N.E.2d 903, 906 (2013). Punitive Damages are intended to discourage the actions of others, while punishing the defendant for the actions or inactions of the tortfeasor.

If you would like to learn more about damages or personal injury lawsuits, you may schedule a No-Charge Initial Consultation with a lawyer at: Schedule a Call with a Lawyer.

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