Boston Personal Injury FAQ
Any accident or serious injury is bound to result in a great deal of uncertainty and questions that need answering. No doubt this is a time of great anxiety, and you need information to determine how to proceed with your case and identify all of your options.
In the space below, we’ve provided answers to some of the Boston personal injury frequently asked questions we hear most often. If you have additional questions regarding your personal injury claim that have not been answered here, reach out to our office to schedule a free consultation.
How much time do I have to file a personal injury claim in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts provides a three-year statute of limitations in which to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. Although this may seem like more than enough time to build a case against the person or persons who are to blame for causing your injuries, the more time we have to gather evidence to support your case, the better.
If you wait to file until after the statute has expired, odds are very high that your case will be dismissed without being heard, and you will no longer have the opportunity to obtain maximum compensation for your suffering.
What are non-economic damages?
Non-economic damages cover any losses your injury causes that don’t have an obvious financial value associated with them, as opposed to economic damages such as property damage or lost wages, which always have a monetary value.
Non-economic damages usually negatively affect your quality of life and include pain and suffering, lost sexual function, loss of household services, inconvenience, scarring or disfigurement, damage done to your marriage, emotional distress, and lost enjoyment of life.
If I was partially at fault for my accident, can I still sue for compensation in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts observes contributory fault. Also known as modified comparative negligence, which means that even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you can still seek financial compensation through a personal injury claim as long as someone else was more at fault. However, your financial award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Let’s look at an example:
Jonathan was hit by a car while riding his bike. Due to the fact that Jonathan was not wearing a bike helmet when he was struck, he was found to be 20 percent at fault for the injuries he sustained. He was awarded $100,000 in damages, and his award was reduced by 20 percent for his portion of shared fault. His personal injury claim was resolved with an award amount of $80,000.
It is also important to note that there is a bar for the amount of fault an injury victim can carry while still pursuing a claim. Individuals who are more than 50 percent to blame for causing an accident will not have the right to pursue a civil claim against any other involved or liable parties.
What is a contingency fee?
Many injury victims simply don’t have the money upfront to put toward hiring an attorney. For this reason, any respectable personal injury attorney will offer to work with injury victims on a contingency agreement.
A contingency fee agreement means that you will not have to pay your personal injury attorney until after the case settles and you receive your financial award, at which point the attorney’s fee will be deducted from that amount. If you don’t receive a settlement, then you don’t pay your attorney anything.
Will I have to go to court for my personal injury claim?
The vast majority of personal injury claims settle out of court through negotiations with the insurance company. Your case will only need to go to court if the insurance or at-fault party refuses to make a fair settlement offer, or if the amount the insurance company is obligated to pay still does not adequately meet the amount of suffering you have endured.
Should I accept the settlement offer the insurance made for my personal injury?
We never recommend that you accept a settlement offered by an insurance company without first having an attorney evaluate it. Insurance companies are primarily concerned with increasing their profits by paying out as little as possible. Because of this, initial settlement offers are almost always less than what a claim is truly worth.
They figure that they are going to be able to tempt you with fast cash, thereby enabling them to get away with paying you less than you deserve. By having your attorney carefully review the offer, you’ll have a better understanding of whether the insurer has made you a reasonable offer.
Can I file a claim for my injured child?
In Massachusetts, like most states, children under the age of 18 are not able to legally file a civil lawsuit. However, as their parent or legal guardian, you have the right to advocate for their right to compensation.
Just because the child cannot file a claim for themselves, doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to repayment for their suffering. As the only advocate for a minor, you can absolutely file a claim for your injured child.
What can I do if my family member died in an accident?
If someone else was responsible for your loved one’s death, whether accidental or intentional, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking financial compensation. Only specific parties are able to file claims, and in MA, this is the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate.
The damages you can seek are similar to a personal injury claim, and will also include additional compensation for things such as funeral expenses, loss of support, and lost guidance.
Consult a Boston Personal Injury Attorney
If you didn’t see your question answered or would just like more information, an experienced personal injury lawyer from Joel H. Schwartz, PC will be happy to discuss your case with you in greater detail. We offer complimentary claim reviews to injury victims across Boston and its surrounding cities.
To arrange a time to meet for a free, no-pressure consultation, please call 617-742-1170 or complete the form on this page.