Haverhill, MA Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injuries can produce immense impacts on victims’ lives. Injured parties often face physical pain, emotional stress, and economic uncertainty. Accordingly, the road to recovery can be hard to navigate after a personal injury.
A personal injury lawyer can help pursue financial compensation after being injured because of another person’s negligent actions. However, personal injury lawsuits can take months to years to complete. Defendants and their insurance companies may employ various tactics to delay the settlement of your claim.
If you were injured because of another person’s negligent conduct in Haverhill, MA, get help recovering the financial compensation you deserve. Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 315-6329 for a free case review.
Time Limit to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Haverhill, MA
Different time limits exist for filing various types of lawsuits. The statute of limitations sets these limits. Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260, § 2A, you will generally have three years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Haverhill. Failure to comply with this deadline could cause you to miss out on compensation.
Still, you should attempt to bring your case to court as soon as possible. There are numerous requirements that plaintiffs must satisfy when filing a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, plaintiffs must file a complete claim, file in the correct court, attach necessary supporting documents, pay any required court fees, and serve all named defendants. Those who fail to meet such requirements may be asked to re-file their case. By filing early, you afford yourself time to re-file your case if necessary.
An exception to the statute of limitations exists for minors. A parent may bring a personal injury lawsuit to court on behalf of their child at any point until the child turns 18. Furthermore, Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260, § 7 establishes that a victim will have three years after turning 18 to file a personal injury lawsuit related to an accident that occurred while they were a minor. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help explain how the statute of limitations applies to your case.
Common Causes of Personal Injuries in Haverhill, MA
There are several different types of personal injury lawsuits. The process for recovering compensation in your case may depend on the cause of your personal injury. The following are common causes of personal injuries in Haverhill, MA:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of personal injuries in Haverhill. Property owners are expected to maintain their premises for the safety of their visitors. When property owners breach this duty, serious slip and fall accidents can occur. For example, a restaurant guest may slip and fall because the owner did not fix a loose rug at the building’s entranceway. Fortunately, victims may be compensated for damages related to their slip and fall accidents.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injuries. When drivers act carelessly and recklessly, serious crashes can occur. The following are common forms of negligence that lead to car accidents in Haverhill:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Failing to obey traffic signals
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Improper lane changes
- Reckless driving
If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, our personal injury lawyers can help evaluate your legal options.
Furthermore, pedestrian accidents are also a common cause of personal injuries in Haverhill. When careless motorists strike pedestrians, catastrophic injuries can occur. These accidents are particularly common in urban areas and at intersections. Injured pedestrians may recover a wide range of monetary damages from the driver who caused their crash.
Many personal injuries are also caused by truck accidents. Truck drivers are often asked to remain on the road for extended periods of time while delivering cargo. Accordingly, many severe crashes are caused by tired truck drivers.
Truck accidents often lead to serious injuries because of the size of the vehicles involved. Victims can contact our personal injury lawyers for help holding truck drivers and trucking companies responsible for their negligent actions.
Defective products are another common cause of personal injuries. A product can be considered defective through its design, manufacturing, or marketing. The following are common types of defective products that harm consumers:
- Household appliances
- Children’s toys
- Medical devices
- Cleaning products and chemicals
- Car parts
- Industrial machinery
- Contaminated food
Sellers and manufacturers can be held liable for harm caused by their defective products. However, these cases can be complicated. Copious amounts of complicated evidence are often required to prove that a product is defective. Therefore, the assistance of our experienced personal injury lawyers can be highly valuable when seeking compensation for an injury caused by a defective product.
Lastly, some personal injuries are caused by medical malpractice. Medical practice refers to cases where a patient was injured because of a healthcare professional’s negligent behavior. In such cases, healthcare professionals can be held liable for the harm they cause.
However, just because you are unsatisfied with your treatment does not mean you may pursue a claim for medical malpractice. For a medical malpractice case to be successful, plaintiffs must show that they would not have been injured if their physician had acted in accordance with the accepted standards of practice. Simply put, plaintiffs must show that the defendant did not act as a reasonable physician would have under similar circumstances.
Medical malpractice cases can be difficult to pursue. Similar to defective product cases, expert witness testimony is typically required to support plaintiffs’ claims. Our Haverhill personal injury lawyers can help assess the validity of your medical malpractice case during a free case review.
How Much Money is a Personal Injury Case in Haverhill, MA Worth?
One important question that often comes up in personal injury claims is how much money and financial compensation are on the line. This question is rarely easy to answer, and you might not find out exactly how much your case is worth until you get a jury verdict. However, your lawyer can help you review things like injuries, costs, and painful experiences to get a good idea of how much your case is worth.
Much of your potential compensation may stem from compensatory damages. These are damages related to real sums of money you lost or more subjective negative experiences, like pain and suffering. For example, if you spent $25,000 on expensive medical care to treat your injuries, you may claim those costs as part of your damages. In addition, you can claim damages for the physical pain and psychological trauma or suffering you endured from the accident and your injuries.
While compensatory damages related to money are a bit easier to calculate, emotional or psychological damages are often unrelated to money and far more subjective. This can make estimating the overall value of your case harder. Generally, the more these experiences impact your life on a daily basis, the more money they should be worth.
Punitive damages are a separate category of damages that are only rarely awarded but may be significant when available. Punitive damages are awarded to punish defendants for especially egregious or shocking behavior. Punitive damages are very limited in Massachusetts and may only be awarded if they are specifically granted by statute.
Generally, punitive damages are recovered in wrongful death actions but not much else. If your personal injury claims do not involve a wrongful death claim, you might have a very hard time arguing for punitive damages.
If punitive damages are available, you must prove that the defendant intentionally caused harm, exhibited malicious behavior, or caused harm through wanton and reckless behavior. This is an extremely high bar involving very severe behavior, and punitive damages tend to be rare.
How to Prove the Defendant’s Liability in a Haverhill, MA Personal Injury Case
Proving your case and getting compensation for your injuries requires a lot of time, preparation, and evidence. The evidence we present must establish very specific legal elements surrounding negligence. If negligence cannot be proven, you cannot win your case.
While most people understand negligence to mean carelessness or a general lack of caution, the law has defined it by four specific elements. Each element must be sufficiently established. If even one element is lacking, you might be in trouble.
The first element is duty, representing the defendant’s legal obligation to the plaintiff. What this duty looks like may vary based on your relationship with the defendant. For example, in a slip and fall accident case, the defendant would owe the plaintiff a duty to ensure the property or premises were safe and free of hazards. In a car accident, drivers owe each other a duty to drive with reasonable safety and follow the traffic laws.
The second element, breach, is whatever the defendant did or did not do that violated their legal duty. A breach might happen in various ways, and you should thoroughly review the accident with your attorney to figure out the breach. In a car accident, drivers might breach their duty when they run a red light or turn without signaling, causing a crash.
The third element is causation, and it serves to link the defendant’s breach of duty with the accident. In short, the breach must directly cause the accident and your injuries. The defendant might not be liable if other factors or people are the direct cause.
The final element is your damages. Simply put, your damages have to be real, not just possibilities or hypothetical.
You need evidence that not only supports your claims but also helps establish each of the above elements of negligence. Common evidence in personal injury claims includes photos and videos from the accident scene. For example, after a car accident, people often take pictures and record videos of the damage, the surrounding area, and people nearby. These photos might contain very valuable details that can help you prove your case.
You can also present your medical records as evidence of your injuries and damages. These records might show a jury just how severely you were injured and how much your medical care cost. In some cases, plaintiffs have medical experts review these records so they can render an opinion as to how they likely occurred and who is likely responsible.
Witnesses are common in various kinds of lawsuits, including those for personal injuries. For example, people who were present when you were hurt might be able to testify about what they saw. Even if they were not present, witnesses might have valuable first-hand knowledge about the accident that might shed light on how the defendant is liable.
Why Having a Lawyer is Important in a Haverhill, MA Personal Injury Case
Plaintiffs sometimes try to handle their personal injury claims alone or wait to hire a lawyer until the last minute. While there is no law that says you must have a lawyer in a personal injury case, having one may be in your best interest.
Your lawyer can first help you by preparing the complaint. The complaint is the document that kicks off the lawsuit, and it must adhere to very strict rules regarding content and format. Details about how you were hurt, why the defendant is liable, evidence, and damages must be included. On top of that, your lawyer can help you locate the defendant so they can be served with notice of the lawsuit and respond with an answer.
Your lawyer should also be able to help you find evidence. Many plaintiffs are ordinary people with no significant legal experience, and navigating the procedures of a lawsuit may be overwhelming. This includes finding evidence and making sure it is admissible in court. Evidentiary rules are famously complex, and having valuable evidence does not automatically mean it can be used in the courtroom. Your lawyer should help you make sure your evidence is not only strong but also admissible.
If You Suffered a Personal Injury in Haverhill, MA, Our Lawyers Can Help
If you were injured because of another person’s negligent actions, seek assistance from our experienced personal injury lawyers by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 315-6329 for a free case review.