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Personal Injury in Suffolk County

Personal injury in Suffolk

Personal injury in Suffolk County includes the negligent or careless act or omission by one party that causes harm to another. Individuals and organizations in Suffolk County owe each other a duty of care. This duty of care is the basic duty to avoid causing injuries to others. If a person was negligent and their negligence causes harm to another, then a personal injury case may arise.

Personal injury is an element of civil law. It cuts across different situations, including slip and falls, motor accidents, medical malpractice, and so on. Personal injuries that are actionable in Suffolk County include

  • Physical pain or suffering of the plaintiff, including future pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement or loss of bodily function
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, such as play, family life, or work
  • Medical expenses as a result of personal injury
  • Loss of earning or capacity to earn
  • The aggravation of a pre-existing condition
  • Wrongful death

Personal Injury may also result from accidents, intentional acts, defective products, libel, and defamation. It is not limited to bodily injury, and it may include mental and emotional pain, nervous shock, and other setbacks that may not necessarily affect the plaintiff’s physical health.

What is a Personal Injury Claim in Suffolk County?

A Personal Injury claim in Suffolk County compensates victims of accidents or social wrongs and is generally governed by common law. However, where there is a statute concerning the personal injury in question, it is governed by statutory law. The purpose of the compensation is usually not to punish the defendant or reward the plaintiff. Instead, it is to attempt placing the plaintiff in the position they were before the injury occurred.

It is important to bring a claim for Personal Injury within the permissible legal time period to avoid the case becoming statute-barred. The permissible legal period varies, depending on the cause of the personal injury. Generally, the limit set by the Massachusetts General Law Chapter 260 Section 2A is three years. The law will suspend the period of limitation in exceptional cases such as

  • the injured party was below the age of 18 or incapacitated due to a mental illness at the time of the personal injury. In such cases, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 7 suspends the limitation period. The claim may commence when the injured person is above 18 years old or has their mental competence restored.
  • The defendant resides outside Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 9 excludes the period of absence in such a situation from the limitation period.
  • The defendant takes steps to conceal their liability or the plaintiff’s right to sue. In such a situation, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 12 provides that the period would begin from when the plaintiff becomes aware of their right to sue.

The plaintiff would need to show that the defendant was negligent or careless in a personal injury claim. In proving a personal injury claim, it is essential to show

  • That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
  • That the defendant failed to uphold the duty of care
  • That there were losses or injuries as a result of the plaintiff’s actions

The claimant or plaintiff in a personal injury case may seek either economic or non-economic redress. Economic damages are based on actual financial loss. Economic damages include expenses reasonably arising from personal injury, rehabilitation costs, medical bills, and wages lost. Economic damages may also be referred to as specific damages. Non-economic damages are general damages. General damages include damages for losses that cannot be quantified, such as pain and suffering or death. There is no limit to the amount that may be claimed as compensation for Personal Injury. The plaintiff can obtain any amount that they can prove was lost as a result of the Personal Injury or that is necessary to fix the personal injury. However, there is a cap on how much the plaintiff can obtain in non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The Massachusetts General Law Chapter 231 Section 60H limits the maximum recoverable non-economic damages to $500,000 except where the Personal Injury resulted in

  • A substantial or permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function
  • A substantial disfigurement
  • Other special circumstances that would warrant a finding that imposition of such limitation would deprive the plaintiff of fair compensation for injuries

The plaintiff’s contributory fault or negligence may reduce the damages or completely prevent the plaintiff from recovering damages pursuant to the Massachusetts General Law Chapter 231 Section 85. A plaintiff with more than 50% fault in causing the personal injury will be barred from recovering damages. If the plaintiff negligently contributes to causing the personal injury but is less than 50% responsible, the damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault the plaintiff bears.

According to the United States Department of Justice, only 4% of personal injury claims result in a trial. 96% are settled out of court. Also, about 16,000 cases are heard by the United States courts on Personal Injury yearly. There are over 400,000 Personal Injury claims yearly, including out-of-court settlements.

How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer in Suffolk County?

Personal Injury cases are legal proceedings that require some knowledge and understanding of the Massachusetts legal system, and obtaining the best possible outcome may depend on how well or skilled the claimant is at presenting their case and convincing the court that they should be awarded compensation for their suffering. A lawyer with in-depth knowledge and experience in Personal Injury cases may provide the Plaintiff with valuable legal advice, strategy, and assistance for negotiating the best out-of-court settlement or successful litigation.

The plaintiff can freely discuss their case and experience with the Personal Injury Attorney and include all relevant documents, such as a police report, medical bills, evidence of income loss, and all correspondence with the insurance company. The initial consultation process is a strong determiner of whether the attorney would be right for the case. Before the consultation, the plaintiff may also do some research on the lawyer, for information on the lawyer’s experience with personal injury cases, how long the lawyer has been in practice, and if the attorney often represents plaintiffs.

What does a Personal Injury Lawyer do in Suffolk County?

A personal injury lawyer is adept at building a probable Personal Injury case, that will tilt the requisite balance of probabilities in the Plaintiff’s favor to do this, the attorney will research, collect, and present evidence that supports the plaintiff’s claim and shows the defendant’s liability.

A personal injury lawyer will also help to value the case. Based on their experience with similar cases and the circumstances of the case, they can estimate an amount the court may be convinced is fair based on the merit of the case. The lawyer can also negotiate a favorable outcome with the defendant.

Generally, it is important to hire a lawyer when pursuing a personal injury claim in Suffolk County. A lawyer can advise and guide the plaintiff through the process. The lawyer can look out for compliance with the statute of limitation and other important aspects of the law and choose the appropriate court to file the case. Personal injury claims may be filed at the Suffolk County Superior Court, Boston Municipal Court, or Chelsea District Court, depending on the location and the value of the claim.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Whether or not to hire a lawyer depends on the facts of the case. Where it is a motor accident wholly covered by insurance, then the injured person may not need to hire a lawyer. Massachusetts, including Suffolk County, is a “no-fault” state according to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90 Section 34M. People injured in car accidents should seek compensation under their insurance coverage. The only exceptions are where the person has more than $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses or suffers a permanent or serious disfigurement or loss of bodily function. However, in most situations concerning personal injury, it is best to consider the possibility of a personal injury claim with a lawyer.

  • A dog bite or attack cases. The Massachusetts General Law Chapter 140 Section 155 provides for strict liability in dog bite cases. Regardless of the dog’s past behavior, the victim of the attack may bring a personal injury claim to recover damages.
  • Car accidents. Individuals who suffer injuries in car accidents in Suffolk County can only pursue a personal injury claim if they incur medical expenses above $2,000 or suffer disfigurement or loss of bodily function. Otherwise, the individual would need to seek compensation from their insurance coverage.
  • Motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle accidents are often a result of the negligence of other drivers. Motorcyclists have as much right to the road as four-wheeled vehicles. Motorcyclists can show a driver was negligent or the accident resulted from the driver’s failure to yield, following too closely, cutting off the motorcyclist at an intersection, swerving in front of the motorcyclist, speeding, and driving while under the influence.
  • Truck accidents. There are a variety of factors that can show negligence in a truck accident. These include driver’s fatigue, equipment failure, negligent maintenance, overload, inattention of driver, speeding, or negligent hiring practices. People who suffer personal injury as a result of negligence or carelessness in truck accidents can make personal injury claims.
  • Slip and fall accidents. The Court will consider several factors to determine if a slip and fall victim is deserving of compensation, including whether the property owner created the hazard or knew about the defect. The Court will consider whether the defect occurred regularly or for so long that the property owner should have known about it. The Court would also consider the level of care the defendant owed the plaintiff.
  • Wrongful death. The surviving family members could bring a personal injury claim for wrongful death if the death was caused by negligence or wrongdoing. These situations include death from an auto accident, defective product, a deadly slip and fall, or medical malpractice. The surviving family members can get damages for loss of companionship and loss of future financial support.
  • Brain injuries. Victims of brain injuries can bring a personal injury claim against the person responsible for the brain injury. Situations that can cause brain injuries may include assault, falls, and motor accidents.

How much to ask for in a Personal Injury Settlement in Suffolk County?

The purpose of damages in a personal injury claim is to restore the plaintiff to their position before the personal injury. However, this will be impossible in some cases, such as where there is wrongful death. The Claimant can still obtain compensation in such situations for the pain and suffering caused. Settlement for personal injury may include

  • Medical bills and related expenses
  • Missed work time or other lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of bodily function or disfigurement
  • Emotional damages

The settlement may include both special and general damages. Special damages include actual expenses incurred, such as loss of income and medical expenses. It should include both expenses already incurred and expenses that would be reasonably incurred in the future. General damages are not as straightforward to calculate. They serve as compensation for a loss that cannot be quantified. This includes pain and suffering, emotional damages, among other things. It would be best to discuss the amount with a lawyer. However, factors that can affect the settlement amount include

  • The nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries
  • Whether the plaintiff had any fault in the personal injury
  • The existence of witnesses and what the witnesses are likely to say if asked to testify
  • The plaintiff’s willingness to compromise
  • Likelihood of success if the case goes on trial

How Long Does a Personal Injury Lawsuit Take?

There is no definite period for how long a personal injury lawsuit will last. The facts of every case differ, and the facts will affect how long it would take to resolve the case. Some personal injury settlements may take only a few weeks, while others may take years. However, most personal injury cases are resolved within one or two years. The following factors can affect how long it might take to resolve a personal injury lawsuit.

  • The complexity of the case. In this regard, a simple slip and fall case may be faster to resolve than a medical malpractice case. It would be necessary to establish that the defendant’s action caused the personal injury. It may be more difficult to show negligence in a medical malpractice case and would require more persuading evidence.
  • The caseload in the courts. Each case is scheduled based on the availability of the court and its urgency.
  • The plaintiff’s willingness to compromise. If the plaintiff is willing to settle for less than they believe they are entitled to or an amount the defendant is willing to offer, the case will be resolved faster.
  • The defendant’s willingness to settle. If the defendant would rather avoid a lawsuit, then the case would likely be resolved faster. The defendant would be more willing to quickly resolve the case out of court.
  • The value of damages. The value of the claim may affect the duration of the case. The defendant would likely be more willing to pay the damages if the figure is low.
  • The severity of the injuries. For more severe injuries, the plaintiff may wait for maximum medical improvement or firm prognosis before pursuing a personal injury claim.

The discovery process is also a part of the personal injury claim. It would involve fact-checking, gathering relevant documents, and taking witness statements. The defendant may try to have the case dismissed due to jurisdiction, venue, improper process, default, among other things. There may also be appeals of decisions, although the law mandates Suffolk County courts to determine appeals expeditiously. All these contribute to the duration of a personal injury claim.