Dartmouth, MA Personal Injury Lawyer

Accidents that happen because of negligence can leave victims with serious injuries that warrant compensation. Our lawyers can help you get compensation for your damages by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Following an accident that causes you injury in Dartmouth, it may be necessary to report it to the police. Law enforcement officers can create an incident report, which we can refer to when preparing your compensation claim. When presenting your claim, we will seek to establish four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. All personal injury plaintiffs must prove these four elements to meet the standard of proof in their claims. Various damages are available to victims, and recovery will depend on their losses. That said, certain damages, such as non-economic damages, are capped in Massachusetts. Proof of damages will be necessary for your recovery and may come in the form of medical bills, records of lost wages, and statements from mental health professionals about the pain and suffering you have dealt with.

Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan’s Dartmouth, MA personal injury lawyers at (617) 925-6407 for a free and confidential case analysis today.

Police Reports and Personal Injury Claims in Dartmouth, MA

Though the admissibility of police reports in civil claims is complicated in Massachusetts and most other states, such reports are often crucial to victims’ recoveries following accidents in Dartmouth.

Whether you were hurt in a car accident or because of a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you can call 911 to get emergency medical attention and have police officers respond to the scene. Even if you think that an accident is minor, it may be best to err on the side of caution and inform law enforcement. When officers get there, they will speak to all involved parties, collect information about the accident, and record their findings and observations in a police report. Our personal injury lawyers can contact the Dartmouth Police Department in the days following the accident to obtain the report. We can then review it to fill in the blanks about what we have yet to learn about a crash, check the report for accuracy, and begin building the foundation of your claim.

Firsthand observations made by police officers and included in police reports may be admissible in your injury claim. However, any opinions or conclusions of police officers may be inadmissible, as will hearsay statements recorded in the report. Regardless of the admissibility of the police report for your accident, obtaining it will be key so that we can start preparing your compensation claim in Dartmouth.

Elements of a Dartmouth, MA Personal Injury Lawsuit

There are four main elements of any personal injury claim in Dartmouth. Without establishing these elements, victims cannot recover compensation for their various damages.

All personal injury plaintiffs must prove that a defendant owed them a duty of care and ultimately breached it by acting negligently, directly causing a victim’s injuries and damages. A duty of care is the legal obligation one individual or entity owes another. For example, when you go to a neighbor’s home, they owe you a duty of care to maintain a reasonably safe environment. If you were then injured because of a broken floorboard, it could be because they breached the duty of care they owed you. When injured because of negligence, take photos and gather evidence at the scene so that proving a breach of duty is more easily achievable.

Next, plaintiffs must prove the link between a defendant’s negligence and the injuries they sustained in an accident. Our lawyers can do this by speaking with eyewitnesses, obtaining surveillance footage, and presenting your medical records as evidence in your case.

After proving causation, we must show that you suffered real damages due to the incident. To do this, we will present proof of the various damages you have incurred, like the cost of medical treatment and any income you have missed out on because of the incident in question. If you have experienced pain and suffering following the accident, inform our lawyers, and we can work to recover non-economic damages on your behalf in Dartmouth.

Limitation on Damages in Dartmouth, MA Personal Injury Claims

In Massachusetts, compensation of certain damages is limited. This means that, even if your pain and suffering is great, you will not be able to recover above the cap on non-economic damages in Dartmouth.

Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, compensate victims for intangible things, like their mental distress or physical pain and suffering. While injuries often come with expensive medical bills, they also tend to affect a victim’s mental well-being. While Massachusetts allows recovery of non-financial damages in personal injury claims, it does so only to a limit. According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 231, § 60H, victims in Dartmouth can recover up to $500,000 in non-economic damages. There is an exception, however, for cases in which a jury finds that a victim has suffered an injury that has caused considerable loss or impairment of a bodily function or disfigurement. Juries can also award greater non-economic damages if they decide that special circumstances are at play that make a victim deserving of additional damages because the cap affects their ability to recover fair compensation for their injuries.

Because non-economic damages are subjective, proving them can be challenging. To do this, victims can take several steps, such as confiding in mental health professionals or keeping a journal documenting their pain and suffering. If your case goes to court, you might consider testifying about your experience and subsequent feelings of anxiety or depression so that the jury fully appreciates the extent of your non-financial damages.

Call Our Injury Lawyers About Your Claim in Dartmouth, MA

The Law Office of John J. Sheehan can assess your case for free when you call our personal injury lawyers at (617) 925-6407.