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What Can You Sue Someone For?

If you or a loved one is injured or wronged in an accident or malicious incident, you may want to sue the parties responsible. Understanding what you can sue someone for — and how to do it — is vital to achieving the goals you have in mind.

At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, we’re the perfect advisors for your personal injury, auto accident, or other legal matter. We can help you gather evidence, break down your options, and provide sound legal counsel throughout the process. Contact us today for a free consultation online or at 1-516-342-2200.

What Does It Mean To Sue Someone?

Suing someone isn’t just accusing them of fault for an incident or injury. It’s directly requesting funds or damages of some type because they are partially or totally responsible for an incident.

For example, imagine that you get into an auto crash with a negligent drunk driver. You are able to successfully prove that the drunk driver was responsible for the crash and the injuries you sustained as a result. You sue the at-fault driver. If your lawsuit is successful, the court will likely require that the driver or their insurance company provide you with damages and/or other compensation.

As such, you sue someone to claim specific damages. It’s not possible to simply sue someone in court just to prove that they were in the wrong; you must sue for a specific reason or request.

What Damages Can You Sue Someone For In New York?

New York State law allows you to sue someone for a variety of damages. These damages are broadly broken down into three key types: economic, non-economic, and punitive.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are damages meant to make a plaintiff “whole” or compensate them for some economic loss.

For example, say that you get into an auto crash with a drunk driver, and you don’t suffer any injuries. However, the drunk driver does cause your vehicle to sustain $10,000 worth of damage. In response, you can sue the driver for the $10,000 in damages. The intent behind the damages is to compensate you for the economic losses you suffered because of their error.

Economic damages are the most common type of damages you can sue someone for in New York. That’s because economic losses are relatively easy to prove and calculate (e.g., if you lose $1,000 because of someone’s negligence, you might want to sue that same person for the $1,000 they cost you).

Before we take a closer look at the different types of economic damages you can sue someone for, please know that you can speak with a Schwartzapfel Lawyers litigation attorney by calling 1-516-342-2200 or visiting us online now!

Medical Bills

If an incident or injury results in you incurring medical bills directly related to that incident, you can sue someone to cover them. For instance, if you are injured from a slip and fall incident and have to pay for surgery, you could get those surgery bills covered by the at-fault party instead of your insurance provider. In that case, the other party’s insurance company might be on the hook.

Lost Wages

Similarly, if you are unable to work for a certain amount of time while you recover from injuries, you can sue someone for those lost wages. Lost wages will usually be calculated based on your average earning potential.

Reduced Or Lost Earning Capacity

If you are unable to work at the same place, or if your working abilities are permanently altered because of a paralyzing injury, you can also be compensated for reduced or lost earning capacity. This is usually a lump sum intended to help you bridge the gap between your current employment status and a new employment situation.

Loss Of Ability

By the same token, any loss of ability could result in you receiving extra economic damages as compensation. These payments will likely be made to compensate you for the work or earning potential you might have had for the rest of your working life had you not been injured in this way.

Property Damage

Property damage, like a broken or destroyed vehicle, clothing, devices, or electronics, can all be compensated via damages. You can sue someone for property damage so long as their actions directly led to the destruction of the property in question. The damages amount will likely be based on the fair market value of the damaged property at the time of the incident.

Rehabilitation And Assistive Services

If your injuries require rehabilitative or long-term assistive services, you may receive larger payouts to help you cover these unexpected medical expenses.

For more on this and related topics, please call Schwartzapfel Lawyers now at 1-516-342-2200 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today!

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are not meant to make someone whole the same way economic damages are. However, they are still meant to compensate an injured party or plaintiff in a lawsuit if they suffered emotional, personal, or otherwise incalculable damages that don’t directly relate to their property.

For instance, if you lose a loved one in an auto crash, you may wish to sue the at-fault party. Since no monetary value can be placed on the life of your loved one, you might receive non-economic damages of a certain amount anyway, in addition to funds to pay for funeral fees.

Here are some examples of non-economic damages you can sue someone for.

Loss Of Companionship

Also called loss of consortium damages, loss of companionship damages compensate you for the loss of a life partner companion, like a spouse. These may also be awarded if you suffer changes in your relationship because of your injuries (e.g., if you experience a paralyzing injury resulting in the loss of sexual function, you may find yourself unable to engage in intimate relations with your spouse, potentially making you eligible for this kind of compensation).

Pain And Suffering

Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate injury victims for the physical discomfort and mental turmoil they may experience or have experienced during the incident.

Loss Of Enjoyment

Permanent injuries or disfigurement can result in a diminished quality of life, which can negatively impact one’s ability to engage in certain activities. In such cases, it’s usually possible to sue someone for non-economic damages to compensate for these effects.

Emotional Distress

Those not directly injured in an incident can sue someone for emotional distress. For instance, if a passenger is seated next to a car driver, and the car driver is killed in an auto crash, the passenger can potentially sue the at-fault party for emotional distress damages to reflect the intense pain and suffering they experienced during and after the crash.

Damaged Reputation

Incidents, injuries, or other negative events that damage one’s reputation could carry the consequences of a lawsuit. You can sue someone for your damaged reputation if you can prove that your reputation was directly and negatively affected by their actions.


In addition, you can sue someone for humiliation if their actions directly led to provable humiliation and emotional turmoil. This claim can often be backed up or substantiated by journal entries, eyewitness accounts, and more.

Because non-economic damages can be tougher to prove compared to economic damages, you should speak with knowledgeable personal injury lawyers right away. At Schwartzapfel Lawyers, our experienced attorneys can help you prove that you deserve non-economic damages for your losses, particularly if an incident has been hard on you and your family.

Call us now at 1-516-342-2200 for a free consultation and so much more! It will be our honor and privilege to fight for you, no matter your situation.

Punitive Damages

As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant in a case, not necessarily make a plaintiff whole or compensate them for some injury or loss.

In a legal sense, punitive damages are intended to serve as a lesson or a deterrent to other potential offenders. Because these aren’t meant to equalize the situation in some way, they are rarer than the other damage types.

To secure punitive damages in any case, you have to prove that the defendant acted maliciously and/or with a conscious disregard for your safety. Often, this presents a greater challenge than establishing the merits of other lawsuit types. It’s also another reason why you should speak with knowledgeable attorneys right away.

Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers Today

As you can see, injured persons have the ability to sue at-fault parties to pursue various forms of damages. However, it’s critical here to have a clear understanding of your specific reasons for legal action and the potential liabilities the other party may owe you before you begin the legal process.

Speaking with knowledgeable attorneys like Schwartzapfel Lawyers will help you with that. Our law firm has more than (150) years of combined experience, so we are well-equipped and ready to provide you with sound legal counsel for your personal injury, medical malpractice, or other lawsuit.

Contact us today online or at 1-516-342-2200 to learn more about the ways that we will fight for you so that you can recover all the money and benefits you deserve!

DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this page should be considered legal advice. You should seek the appropriate counsel your situation requires. For more information, call 1-516-342-2200 now!


Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. | Fighting For You

Ending the Confusion: Economic, Non-Economic, and Punitive Damages | ACS

Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits |

What Are Punitive Damages? Purpose, Cap, Calculation, and Example | Investopedia

damages | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

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