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Farar & Lewis LLP is a top rated law firm, with over 40 years of combined experience. Our attorneys have won over $100 million, in combined verdicts and settlements for our clients. You deserve compensation for your pain and suffering, and it's our job to get it for you.

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Personal Injury Lawyers


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At Farar & Lewis LLP, we pride ourselves on our ability to be there for our clients, 24/7 when tragedy or questions arise. Every single one of our clients has access to their assigned lawyer.

Respected Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers

We’re proud to say that our personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles, are recognized as leaders in the state of California. Our firm has won millions, in compensation for our clients.

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Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are on your team. That means we’re with you 100% of the way. We prove this, by never charging any upfront fees.

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A Practice Dedicated Exclusively To Helping Injury Victims

If you have been injured in an auto accident or another type of accident that you did not cause, it is important that you seek the advice of a qualified California personal injury attorney who knows the law and has the ability to secure the compensation you deserve. At the law firm of Farar & Lewis LLP, we represent Southern California clients through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

We know how overwhelming it can be for injury victims to deal with overzealous insurance adjusters who want to settle their claims for as little as possible. We take the burden of the legal issues off your shoulders and work directly with the insurance company to negotiate a settlement that provides the medical care and financial support necessary to facilitate your recovery. If a fair settlement cannot be negotiated, we will take your case to court.

Our Iron-Clad Commitment To YOU

We are committed to you and your right to no-nonsense legal representation, timely communication and full compensation. We pride ourselves on providing punctual and honest case assessments.

Our team of trial lawyers has over 40 years of combined experience, fighting on behalf of victims all over the state of California. get a free consultation


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Are there punitive damages in a personal injury case in New York?

Q: Are there punitive damages in a personal injury case in New York?

A: Yes. Unlike New York wrongful death claims, where punitive damage awards are infrequent and relatively small, punitive damages are routinely awarded in personal injury cases that are heard in the New York courts. The amount of punitive damages can vary considerably from case to case, even in those cases that may seem to be roughly equivalent in both their circumstances and the issues raised at trial. The U.S. Supreme court (BMW of North America v Gore, 1996) has held, however, that any punitive damages awarded must be consistent with:

  • the degree of reprehensibility of defendant’s conduct,
  • the punitive award’s ratio to the actual harm inflicted, and
  • the civil or criminal penalties that could be imposed for comparable misconduct.

Q: Are there any reasons why there is such variability in the size of punitive damages awarded?

A: Although there is little information on the subject, it seems that the most likely reason for this variability is due to the fact that most personal and commercial liability insurance policies do not cover punitive damage claims and therefore make it unlikely that a plaintiff who is awarded a large sum would have a reasonable hope of ever collecting a large award.

If, on the other hand, punitive damages are being sought from a defendant that is employed by a self-insured entity (such as the City of New York), a plaintiff’s attorney will usually ask for a sum in punitive damages that exceeds his or her request for the actual damages suffered by the client.

Q: What did the Supreme Court mean by “degree of reprehensibility?”

A: While “all men are created equal…,” all crimes are not equal in their potential punishments. As an example, when a little old lady on her way to Sunday Morning Mass has her purse stolen, we would think that such a crime is reprehensible. It is not as reprehensible as if the same little old lady had her purse stolen and was then beaten into a coma by her assailant. In the latter case, the assailant would face a harsher sentence than in the first case, but we would not send the first purse snatcher to prison on a 7 to 10 because the seriousness of the crime in no way justified the punishment.

Q: What did they mean by the ratio of the award to the actual harm inflicted?

A: In this instance the Supreme Court was insisting that only very serious injuries deserve very large awards. By way of another example, if a man slips on a wet floor at the coffee shop and suffers a sprained wrist while attempting to catch himself, he might be entitled to a few hundred dollars in medical expenses and lost wages if he missed a few days of work. This same individual would not be entitled to a damages award of $75,000 for the same injury, no matter how negligent the coffee shop owner may have been by allowing the floor to remain wet.

Q: What did the Supreme Court mean by penalties for comparable misconduct?

A: In short, the Court reasoned that an infraction that could be punished by a traffic ticket should not be punished as it were armed robbery. The Court’s position was basically an extension of its other two criteria for determining how “reasonable” an award of punitive damages is when compared to what the punishment would have been if the negligent act had been a crime. In essence, the Court was asking if going 10 mph over the posted speed limit and causing a minor traffic accident is as serious as going 40 mph over the speed limit and causing an accident that results in three fatalities.

In summary, punitive damages can be awarded in New York personal injury lawsuits but such awards do not tend to be large unless there are very special circumstances at play.

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