Chicopee, MA Personal Injury Lawyer

Accidents happen, but when they are avoidable, the consequences can be incredibly frustrating.  If you were hurt in an accident that someone else should have avoided, you could be entitled to a lawsuit against them to recover any and all damages the accident caused you.

Proving that the other party is at fault and proving what damages they owe you can be complex, especially if the facts of your case are somewhat complicated.  In any case, working with a lawyer can help you build a strong case, present the case to the insurance company or the courts, and get you the compensation you need.

Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407 for a free case assessment with our personal injury attorneys.

Elements of a Personal Injury Case in Chicopee, MA

To bring a personal injury case, your personal injury attorneys will first select the grounds on which you are filing.  Like how criminal law has multiple crimes that can be charged against someone, civil law has multiple “torts” that can be filed against someone to sue them for an injury.  Most cases will be filed as negligence lawsuits, but you can also file other personal injury claims as well.


A negligence suit is filed when someone injures you by accident.  The elements of this claim are referred to as duty, breach, causation, and damages.

First, you must show that the defendant was supposed to do something or avoid doing something under the law.  This duty is usually based on what is reasonable, but specific laws (such as traffic laws) might state a specific duty.

Second, you must show they breached this duty.  If they did everything right but you were injured anyway, you cannot sue them.  If they did something wrong, then you might have grounds to file a negligence suit against them.

Third, you must show that what they did actually caused your injuries.  If they did something wrong, but it was not closely related in time and place to your accident, then it might not qualify as a legal cause.  For example, if a driver was speeding 10 miles back, but by the time you crashed, then they were actually not doing anything wrong at the time of the crash.  That cannot be considered the legal cause of the crash.  Additionally, if the accident was unavoidable, then the fact that the duty was breached or not would not make a difference, and causation is not present.

Lastly, you must prove that you suffered damages.  Medical records, hospital bills, photos of your injury, your testimony, and other evidence of the expenses and pain and suffering you faced will satisfy this element.  Damages are actually an element of all of these other claims as well; you cannot sue for personal injuries without actual injuries, whether physical or mental/emotional.

Assault and Battery

When we say “assault,” we usually refer to the crime of hitting another person.  As a tort, “assault” refers instead to putting someone in fear of imminent physical contact, vs. “battery” refers to actually hitting another person.  If someone pulls their fist back to throw a punch at you, that is considered assault; if they follow through and actually punch you, that is battery.  The actions must be intentional to qualify as assault or battery, and they must result in the fear of imminent harm for assault and actual harm for battery.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)

Suing someone for intentional infliction of emotional distress requires proving that, as the name implies, they caused you emotional distress by intentional actions.  This is a rare lawsuit as it is often hard to prove that what someone did had the specific purpose of causing you distress.  Instead, most claims are filed as negligence claims.

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NIED)

Despite the name, negligent infliction of emotional distress is not the tort of causing someone emotional distress through negligence.  In fact, emotional distress suffered in an accident will usually be part of a negligence claim, along with claims for any physical injuries you faced.

Instead, negligent infliction of emotional distress is a claim filed when you witness the death or serious injury of a close loved one while you are also in the “zone of danger” of the accident that injured them.  For example, witnessing a loved one die in a car crash where you were also injured in the case would give you additional damages through a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Loss of Consortium

When your spouse is injured in an accident, you might be able to file a claim attached to their lawsuit called a “loss of consortium” claim.  This claim has essentially the same elements as your spouse’s injury claim, but the damages you sue for are the ones you suffered as the spouse.  This can include compensation for lost physical relations as well as damages for lost household services, companionship, and care.

If a minor child or adult dependent child is injured, their parents can also file a loss of consortium claim for their lost companionship, affection, chores, etc.

Damages for Injury Victims in Chicopee, MA

When you file a lawsuit for your injuries, you should be entitled to damages for any economic and non-economic consequences the accident caused you.  This includes things like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other damages.

To claim any damages, you must have evidence of those damages and present it to the court.  For example, medical expenses can be proven by producing the bills.  As another example, you can testify that you suffered post-traumatic stress symptoms after your slip and fall accident, but producing evidence of documented discussions with your therapist, testimony from loved ones who witnessed you have PTSD episodes, or your own journals documenting these occurrences will be stronger evidence of your suffering.

Call Our Chicopee, MA Personal Injury Attorneys Today

For a free evaluation of your potential injury case, call (617) 925-6407 to speak with the personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.