We live in a hybrid “no-fault” state. Under the Massachusetts statutory scheme, minor accidents are expected to be resolved between insurance companies. However, if any of us sustain a) a broken bone b) loss of an organ c) permanent disfigurement d) equivalent physical impairment or e) $2000 or more in medical bills, then we may sue in Court. For losses under $25,000, the suit would be entered in District Court. For losses over $25,000, the venue is Superior Court. In our suit we may sue for medical bills, lost wages, expenses incurred as a result of property loss and for pain and suffering. For those of us who sustain injuries that become chronic and/or permanent, we may ask for not only pain and suffering from the date of injury through the trial/settlement date but also for future pain and suffering. Case law suggests that courts/juries may entertain damages for up to 7 or 8 years into the future. For permanent injury cases we often see structured settlements over many years because the damages are so vast. All of the above assumes that we were not at fault in causing the accident. If we too were partially to blame, courts/juries may diminish the total value of our damages by the percentage of blame they place on us (contributory negligence).
If you have any questions about your rights after an accident, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Doug Stoddart 508-243-4877.