Personal injuries account for a substantial number of lawsuits filed annually in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, many victims of personal injuries received in auto accidents, slips and falls, and other mishaps don’t take advantage of the benefits provided under the law in the state. Many simply believe they don’t have a case, or don’t have injuries significant enough to warrant filing a claim against a responsible party.
It’s important to understand that if you or someone you know is injured in an accident a personal injury claim can help pay medical bills, recover lost wages, and receive compensation for pain and suffering. Acting in a timely manner is critical, though, because Massachusetts has a statute of limitations that provides a three year window of opportunity to file a claim starting from the date of the incident.
However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule that should be noted:
- The three-year window does not apply to cases in which the injury was discovered after the incident occurred
- Any claim against a municipal government must be completed in two years
Personal injury law is complicated, so it’s vital to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you receive the full benefits available under the law. For example, Massachusetts does not set a damage cap for personal injury claims. The only exception is for medical malpractice cases, in which a $500,000 damage cap is set for non-economic damages. However, this cap does not apply if the claimant can prove he or she:
- suffered from a permanent loss or bodily function impairment
- became permanently disfigured
- is affected by special circumstances that would indicate $500,000 is insufficient for the injury incurred
I think I have a claim but I don’t have the money to pay a lawyer
Do not let money concerns prevent you from consulting a personal injury lawyer. In Massachusetts a personal injury attorney is generally paid through something called a Contingent Fee Agreement which enables an accident victim to retain an attorney to perform all work necessary to settle a case or, in some cases, to try a case to a judge or jury, without having to pay attorney’s fees upfront or without having to pay any attorney’s fees unless money is recovered. The principle behind a Contingent Fee Agreement can be highly beneficial to an accident victim — if an injured party is not awarded damages, either through a settlement or after a trial, then no attorney’s fees are paid to the lawyer.
And if a recovery is awarded to the injured party no attorney’s fees are expected to be paid prior to that recovery being received. This can be particularly helpful when an injured person may be out of work due to injuries or forced to incur other living expenses as a result of the accident. It is often the time following an accident, when funds are limited, that this type of agreement is most practical.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, a slip-and-fall incident, or some other event, please contact the Law Office of James G. Haddad. We’re experienced at handling all types of personal injury claims and can help you receive the comprehension you deserve.