If you’ve ever been in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you’ve likely considered a personal injury lawsuit. Judging by all the attorney commercials out there, you would think it’s relatively easy to sue someone. However, there are several important factors, which can make or break a personal injury claim. Personal injury laws vary widely from state to state, and knowing the basics of Massachusetts laws will help you understand your case.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
All personal injury cases rely on proving negligence to file (and win) your claim. This means that another party was, in essence, responsible for your accident. For example, if you were struck by a reckless driver, or slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk outside of a store, your accident was likely due to another person’s negligence. However, Massachusetts law allows you to collect compensation even if you were partially at fault for your accident. This is called the comparative fault rule. As long as you are deemed less than 50% at fault, you will be eligible for compensation. The amount you receive is based on your percentage, so if you were 10% at fault, you would collect the remaining 90% of the total compensation amount.
How is the Total Compensation Amount Calculated?
You collect compensation by filing damage claims. There are several types of damages, divided into economic and non-economic categories. Economic damages are finite and are measured by looking at concrete numbers (like wages and bills). Non-economic damages are less tangible and are estimated based on a formula. Common damages are as follows:
• Medical bills
• Lost wages
• Property damage
• Pain and suffering
• Loss of consortium or relationship
• Punitive damages, in cases of gross negligence.
An experienced personal injury attorney will obtain the most compensation possible by increasing the amount of your damages and decreasing your fault percentage, using evidence to substantiate your claims. If you have a personal injury claim, we encourage you to call our office and schedule your free case evaluation.