Should I File a Personal Injury Claim in Massachusetts if I Have Pain
An injury could keep you out of work for months while medical costs and other bills continue to pile up. If you think another person, company, or entity is to blame for your injury, you might be able to hold them financially liable. The first step in doing so is to discuss your case with our experienced Boston personal injury lawyers.
Believing another person should be held responsible for your injuries is different than holding someone legally liable. Proving negligence requires establishing four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages. What it takes to prove these four elements depends on the circumstances of the accident or incident. For example, holding another driver accountable for a rear-end collision is significantly different than proving a store owner should be liable if you slipped in their business.
If you are in pain because of an injury caused by another party’s actions, you should contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. By reviewing your circumstances, our office will advise you of your available options, including filing a lawsuit or settling with an insurance company. Call (617) 925-6407 before deciding for yourself that you do not have a legal claim.
Can Another Party Be Held Liable For Your Injury in Massachusetts?
Before deciding whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit, you need to know if you have grounds to file a claim. If you were injured and an insurance adjuster is advising you to accept a settlement offer, you might need to realistically think about talking to one of our Wakefield personal injury attorneys.
To hold someone or something financially liable for your injuries, you must be able to show that that individual, company, or entity was negligent. Negligence is a legal concept that must be established in court to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit.
One way to describe negligence is conduct by someone who owed you a duty of care that deviated from that accepted standard of care, resulting in an injury. To demonstrate this in a court of law, our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers will have to prove four elements.
Duty of Care
First is a duty of care. Did the party that harmed you have an obligation not to hurt you? For example, if you drive a car, you owe other motorists and pedestrians a duty to operate your car safely. A physician owes their patients a duty to comply with acceptable medical standards. What is required to prove that a duty existed depends on the relationship between the parties.
The second element is a breach, or violation, of duty. This concept returns to the core of the definition of negligence stated above. If a reasonably prudent person would not have done the same thing under similar circumstances, then the conduct could be negligent. For instance, a reasonable driver would not speed down a road in the wrong direction.
Your injury, and therefore your pain, must be directly linked to the accident or event. If you are suffering from a degenerating disc that you have had for years, you might not be able to connect the injury to a car accident. However, if the incident caused the injury, you could have grounds to file a lawsuit.
Finally, you need to have suffered quantifiable damages. The easiest ones to calculate are financial in nature — for instance, medical bills or lost wages.
Medical Evidence and Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawsuits
Duty of care and damages are often the easiest of the elements of negligence to prove. Many personal injury cases hinge on the ability to establish a breach of duty and causation. Proving causation usually requires presenting medical evidence and documentation linking your injury to the accident or event. The steps an injured person takes after an accident are often critical when it comes to negotiating with an insurer or filing a personal injury claim.
If you are in pain but were in an accident six or seven months ago and failed to seek medical treatment, you have probably jeopardized your injury claim. If you are ever in an accident, such as a car crash or a fall down a flight of broken stairs, you should see a doctor immediately. Linking your injury to the incident is vital whether you hope to settle with an insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit. Our Boston personal injury lawyers will want to work closely with your healthcare providers from the outset of your case.
There is a Deadline in Massachusetts to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Another important consideration is when to file a lawsuit. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations governs when an injured victim is entitled to file a lawsuit. Outside of very specific exceptions, a lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. If you procrastinated or just managed your pain for too long, you might have missed the deadline to file a court case.
The deadline was put into place to protect potential defendants from defending a case long after vital evidence could have been lost. For that same reason, it is important to start the process soon than later. Building a successful personal injury case takes a significant amount of time. Waiting to discuss your case with a lawyer means valuable days, weeks, or months were lost and critical evidence might no longer be available.
Talk to Our Experienced Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyers About Your Case
If you are hurt in an accident or because of another’s conduct, you should not be deciding whether you have a legal case on your own. You certainly should not agree to a settlement with an insurance company without fully understanding your rights and the value of your claim. Our experienced Cambridge personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Sheehan have been advising and assisting our clients for decades. To discuss your situation, call (617) 925-6407.