Fitchburg, MA Personal Injury Lawyer
When you are injured, your first concern will likely be physical recovery and a return to normalcy. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a serious injury will be anything but normal. Medical bills can pile up, even for minor injuries, and physical recovery can take a long time.
Retain legal counsel as soon as possible after an injury for the best chance of winning in court. A lawyer can fight to make sure you get the financial compensation and peace of mind you need after an injury, no matter how small.
Contact the personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to talk about your case.
Common Personal Injuries from Accidents in Fitchburg, MA
Not all accidents will produce the same kinds of injuries. Additionally, the same kind of accident could result in minor or very serious injuries. Our personal injury lawyers can work with you to get appropriate compensation for the damages you need by basing them on the seriousness of your specific injury and other details of your specific case. For example, damages awarded for mere cuts and bruises will likely be less than those awarded for broken bones or permanent damage.
Bruises are usually caused by hard impacts that cause minor bleeding under the skin. Blunt trauma can crush blood vessels without breaking the skin. The blood then leaks into other tissue and forms a discolored mark within or under the skin.
While most bruises can heal on their own, severe bruising can cause damage to internal organs and, in the most serious cases, potentially lead to death.
Broken bones can easily result from hard impacts. While often broken bones are obvious to the injured person, sometimes they may go unnoticed for a long time. A hairline fracture in a limb will be much less obvious than a compound fracture that punctures the skin. Swelling, stiffness in the affected limb, and persistent pain are all common signs of a broken bone underneath the skin.
Some broken bones are easier to repair than others. For example, a broken arm or leg is relatively easier to fix and recover from than a broken pelvis, hip, or collarbone. Treatment for a broken bone could include the insertion of pins and rods into your body to help keep the bones in place while they mend, possibly requiring multiple surgeries. Moreover, you will be unable to do certain activities while the broken bones heal.
Cuts, Puncture Wounds, and Lacerations
Cuts and other injuries from sharp objects can happen for all sorts of reasons. For example, a car accident could result in lacerations from broken glass, sheared metal, or puncture wounds from debris entering the body at high speed.
Depending on their severity, cuts might require stitching or sutures to treat properly. Cuts to the face could result in permanent disfigurement, even after medical treatment.
Puncture wounds are much more difficult to treat and significantly more threatening to the individual. It is harder to sew shut a stabbing injury than a cut. Moreover, puncture wounds are more likely to cause internal damage to organs or blood vessels. A puncture wound of only a few inches can easily be fatal if it goes through the wrong part of the body.
Many accidents have the potential to cause burns. A car accident can result in minor friction burns if you scrape against the road or much more serious damage if the gas tank catches fire. If you work around dangerous substances, chemical fires are a potential hazard and, depending on the type of chemical, might not be able to be put out with water alone.
Serious burns will almost certainly require surgical procedures to recover. Permanent disfigurement or loss of fingers and toes can result from particularly bad burns. Minor burns can still cause blistering, extreme pain, or nerve damage that lasts for a long time.
Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Fitchburg, MA
Damages refer to what you are awarded by the court if you win your case. Damages are generally broken down into three categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are often the easiest to determine because they usually have a bill or receipt to help calculate them. The cost of hospital stays and other medical treatment is often awarded as economic damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
Lost potential income can also be awarded as economic damages. For example, if you are a demolition worker and are injured in such a way that you can no longer operate heavy machinery to do your job, that lost income could be awarded to you by the court.
Non-economic damages are more abstract. What non-economic damages are worth is usually up for debate, so it is in your best interest to prove you are owed them and their amount in court. It is tough to assign a dollar amount to pain from a physical injury or a lost loved one, so the court decides that amount on a case-by-case basis. A common way to calculate non-economic damages is to use a multiple of the economic damages you are owed. For example, if you are asking for $3,000 in damages for medical expenses, you might ask for three times that amount – $9,000 – in non-economic damages.
Pain and suffering from injuries or loss of companionship from a deceased loved one fall under the umbrella of non-economic damages.
Lost enjoyment of life also falls under non-economic damages. The inability to do an activity you once enjoyed because of injuries can be factored into non-economic damages. For example, if you used to exercise very frequently but can no longer stay in shape because injuries have limited your physical capability, you might be entitled to damages.
Economic and non-economic damages are designed to put the plaintiff as close to where they were prior to an accident as possible. On the other hand, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for especially bad conduct.
Courts usually award punitive damages when they want to send a message to other parties like the defendant that they should not partake in similar dangerous behavior.
Comparative Negligence in Fitchburg, MA
Massachusetts uses a comparative negligence standard. A comparative negligence standard reduces the plaintiff’s recovery based on what percentage of an accident was their fault. For example, if a plaintiff is awarded $100,000 in damages but was 20% responsible for the accident, the plaintiff will only recover $80,000 in damages.
Under this standard, a plaintiff can recover if they are less responsible for the accident than the defendant. If the plaintiff is more responsible for the accident than the defendant, the plaintiff cannot recover.
Discuss Your Case with Our Fitchburg, MA Personal Injury Lawyers Today
Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to discuss your case with our personal injury lawyers today.