What is a Personal Injury Case?

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of another’s carelessness or negligence, you may wish to seek a personal injury case. Personal injury cases typically involve injuries sustained during a car accident, while on another’s property, or through intentional acts of others. Other personal injury cases can involve dog bites, medical malpractice, product liability, and more.

The lawsuit aims to regain some of the financial or other losses the victim suffered due to the injury. Compensation is typically referred to as damages in personal injury cases. Damages can include medical costs, lost wages, and other inconveniences or stresses that the personal injury has caused the victim.

Types of Damages in Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases

There are three main types of damages that victims can seek following a personal injury. They are compensatory, punitive, or nominal damages.

Compensatory damages are relatively straightforward, including both special and general damages. Special damages typically include financial losses directly related to the injuries, such as medical bills or lost wages (current and in the future), that can be relatively easy to calculate.

General damages may be harder to calculate for those without the experience of a personal injury attorney, and that is due to them being non-economic and, therefore, more challenging to calculate. General damages typically consist of pain and suffering. Pain and suffering from a personal injury will vary from person to person or the injuries sustained. By working with your personal injury attorney, you can rest easy knowing they are your advocate and can accurately calculate the damages you deserve.

Punitive damages are not relevant to every case. Punitive damages are typically implemented to serve as an example that others should avoid the behavior that led to the injuries. Punitive damages may be an option if an individual is careless or intentionally harmed another.

Nominal damages typically signify a legal violation has occurred even if the loss or injuries were minimal. These damages are less common but do exist for specific cases.

Is There a Timeline I Should Follow for a Personal Injury Case?

Each state imposes a strict timeline that must be followed to qualify for a personal injury case. This timeline is called the statute of limitations. For residents of Massachusetts, this time is three years.

Victims will have three years from the date of the original injury to pursue damages through a personal injury case. An exception to this may be if the victim didn’t discover the injuries immediately. In this case, the timeline would usually start when the injuries or complications were found and continue for three years.

Even if you have a solid case, if you wait until after the statute of limitations has passed, your case may be disregarded or unsuccessful. Understanding the timeline and adhering to it to give you the best odds at regaining the compensation you deserve is imperative.

Can I Still Pursue a Personal Injury Case if I’m Partially at Fault?

Massachusetts follows the comparative fault rule. This means that each party involved in an incident is assigned a percentage of fault to determine what damages will be awarded to the victim. For example, if you and another party were involved in a car accident and you were speeding at the time, some may assume that since they were breaking the law, they can’t get compensated for their injuries.

If it is found that you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, it may be difficult or impossible to recover damages, but if you are less than 50% at fault for the incident, you may be entitled to a portion of the damages. For example, let’s assume you were found to be 40% at fault, and the other party was assigned 60% fault for the accident. You would be eligible for 40% less than the total damages awarded in the case. In this example, if the total damages were $100,000, you would be entitled to $60,000.

Timeline Issues to Consider

Three years may feel like a long time to prepare for a personal injury case. There are some factors to consider that may change your mind as to how soon you seek your professional legal advocate.

The first six months or so are typically used by the victim healing or tending to the injuries and subsequent treatment or therapy that their medical team requires. Six months to a year is typically when most lawsuits are filed; however, this is not required.

Once the lawsuit is filed, the courts can have up to 60 days to deliver the summons to the defendant. The defendant will have a set time to respond to the complaint (typically 30-45 days from the summons date). Your personal injury attorney can then pursue negotiations or other strategies to obtain your compensation.

The defense can typically request that you be examined by one of their approved doctors or while under their supervision, which can take up to months to complete. Depositions are another critical aspect of the case, involving both sides asking questions and taking significant time to prepare and conduct.

Mediation may be an option that your attorney will choose to help negotiate while mostly avoiding courts. This process can take time; if unsuccessful, you will likely need to move forward to court proceedings.

Don’t Let What’s Rightfully Yours Slip Through Your Fingers

Contact our office at (781) 531-8673 to learn how to pursue the compensation you deserve. We offer free consultations and can help you discover your options and ensure you are within the required timeline to pursue your case. We look forward to serving you.