A personal injury claim is a legal claim arising from an injury or accident caused by the negligence of another. At its core, the concept of “negligence” is really what we think of as carelessness. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, negligence is defined as “the failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation.” Consider this example: you are driving down the road. As a driver on a public road, you have a responsibility, or a duty, to other drivers on the road to be alert, follow traffic signals, stay free from distractions and drive carefully. Those other drivers owe the same duty to you. When someone breaches that duty, that is, fails to be alert, follow traffic signals, or stay free from distractions, they may be found negligent. These scenarios are all too common and give rise to personal injury lawsuits.
Massachusetts Personal Injury Law
Massachusetts personal injury laws do not differ significantly from many other state statutes. Like many other states, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within three years of the harm. This limit is called a statute of limitations. Most civil (and some criminal) actions have a time frame in which an injured party can bring suit. The idea is, that if too much time passes between the alleged injury and the lawsuit, it may be too difficult to make proofs about the injury. Perhaps someone got in a car accident since the surgery that alleged caused them harm, or maybe they are simply older and more susceptible to injuries. Regardless of the rationale, statutes of limitations are designed to prevent baseless lawsuits and ensure that the parties will still have access to all of the information they may need during the course of a lawsuit.
The crux of a personal injury case is determining fault. Sometimes, a judge or jury may find that the injured party is comparatively at fault, or, also responsible somehow for what happened. The idea of contributory negligence allows an injured person to still be somewhat at fault, but nonetheless recover damages in proportion to the fault that was not her own.
Massachusetts Personal Injury Law Attorneys
John J. Sheehan understands how to litigate a personal injury case from start to finish, whether it ends up settling or whether it goes all the way through trial. Every personal injury lawsuit has its own complexities. In order to navigate the system and meet your special circumstances, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. If you or anyone you know has been injured due to the negligence of another, or if you think you may have a valid claim, do not hesitate to contact Boston attorney John J. Sheehan today.