Each Case is Unique
Determining the cost of your injuries monetarily, physically, and mentally amounts to the worth of your case, or the damages you might be entitled to. In a personal injury case, money damages are paid to the injured party by the person, company, or insurer found to be legally responsible for the injury. This amount can be agreed upon in settlement negotiations or may be ordered by a judge or jury following trial. Below is an outline of common damages awarded in personal injury cases.
Compensatory damages are the most common damages awarded. They are intended to compensate the injured party by making them “whole” again. The purpose is to place the plaintiff in the same position as they were before the injury. To do this, a dollar amount is calculated to reimburse the injured party for their costs and losses.
A personal injury award almost always includes reimbursement for medical treatment already received, as well as compensation for estimated future costs of care. It will also include reimbursement for property damages, as well as reimbursement for loss of income and future earning capacity. More difficult losses to value include pain and suffering, emotional distress, physical disfigurement, loss of enjoyment, as well as loss of consortium, or loss of companionship with his or her spouse. Because a definitive monetary number cannot be assigned to these types of losses, it is advised injured parties consult a competent personal injury lawyer who can help you drive up the value of these losses.
Punitive damages are awarded with the goal of punishing the offending party for his or her conduct in relation to the accident. These damages are awarded only when the defendant’s conduct is particularly egregious or outrageously careless. In Massachusetts, punitive damages in personal injury cases are recoverable only for wrongful death resulting from gross negligence and/or “willful, wanton, or reckless acts.” This means that in the vast majority of personal injury cases in this state, the focus is on what the plaintiff lost (compensatory damages) instead of the defendant’s conduct (punitive damages).
Causation and How it Factors into Your Case
The strength of a personal injury case does not end with an evaluation of damages. Every case requires an assessment of causation. Strong causation means there is a high likelihood we can prove that the defendant caused the damages the plaintiff is claiming. In some cases, an injured person can play a role in causing an accident. This can diminish the amount of damages available to the plaintiff in a personal injury case in Massachusetts. Massachusetts applies a doctrine called comparative negligence for these circumstances, which is explained below.
Comparative Negligence: In Massachusetts, the negligence of the plaintiff will be examined in a personal injury case to see if he or she was partially responsible for causing their own damages. If it is found that the plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for causing the damages, the plaintiff is not entitled to receive any monetary award. If the plaintiff’s negligence is less than or equal to 50%, the amount of damages is reduced by that percent. For example, if the plaintiff suffered $100,00.00 in damages and is determined 40% responsible for an accident, the plaintiff recovers $60,000.00. In the alternative, if the plaintiff suffered $100,000.00 in damages and is determined 55% responsible for the accident, the plaintiff recovers nothing.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers are Ready to Help You!
If you have suffered an injury resulting from another’s negligence and are interested in seeking compensation for your loss, the lawyers at Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers can help you. We understand that it is often difficult to put a dollar amount on all of your losses and that insurance companies may have tried to treat you unfairly. At Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers, we work extremely hard to ensure all of your legal rights are protected and that you are adequately compensated for your loss. Through the life of your claim, we encourage you to ask questions and will always be available to provide you with updates on the status of your case. Our number one goal is to provide excellent representation on behalf of our clients and aim to go above and beyond on each and every case.
For a free consultation and realistic evaluation of your claim, call the lawyers at Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers today at 617.807.0855. If you would like one of our lawyers to contact you, please fill out the free consultation form.