How Much Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth in Boston?
It is understandable to wonder about the worth of your Boston personal injury claim. After all, the settlement or judgment award you may receive could determine your family’s future financial stability. After an accident in Boston that causes significant injuries and expensive losses, the only way to move forward may be to achieve a financial award that makes up for these damages. Discuss the potential value of your injury claim with an attorney in Boston today.
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Compensatory Damages: General and Special
The main portion of a damage award is compensatory damages – compensation awarded to make a victim whole again after a personal injury accident. Both general and special compensatory damages are available in Massachusetts. General damages are those any reasonable person would suffer in the same accident, such as physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, inconvenience and lost quality of life. Specific damages are the precise losses the victim withstood financially. They can include the victim’s exact medical costs, lost wages, property damages, legal fees, travel costs and out-of-pocket expenses, often based on bills and pay stubs.
Some personal injury claims in Boston receive punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, in addition to compensatory damages. A punitive damage award is meant to punish someone for his or her gross negligence or malicious intent to harm, rather than make up for the injured victim’s losses. It is an award a judge will only grant in special cases, such as those involving intentional wrongdoing or wanton disregard for others’ safety.
Factors in Boston Involved in Calculating a Settlement
Once you have added up your special damages and estimated your general damages, assess which factors a judge or jury might use to determine the final value of your case. The best way to accurately understand how much your case might be worth is by consulting with an attorney. Several factors could affect the overall value of your claim. A jury can use all, some or none of these factors to determine a pain and suffering award.
- Type and severity of the injury
- Victim’s age
- Victim’s income
- Victim’s comparative negligence
- Defendant’s actions
- Insurance available
- Damage caps
Your own comparative negligence can play a major role in how much money you receive from a defendant. In Massachusetts, the modified comparative negligence rule withholds compensation from any plaintiff who is 51% or more at fault for his or her injuries (with a few exceptions). Any percentage of fault less than 51% will reduce the plaintiff’s award by the same amount. If you were 10% at fault for your injuries, for example, you would receive $90,000 of a $100,000 award; $10,000 less due to your 10% of comparative fault.
How to Prove Your Losses in Boston
Your ability to recover financial compensation may depend on whether you can prove your damages to an insurance company or jury. This requires a preponderance of the evidence, or enough evidence to convince a jury that your damages – and the defendant’s liability for them – are more likely to be true than untrue. Collect evidence proving your losses from the beginning, if possible. This can include a police report, eyewitness statements, medical records and photographs. Then, hire a personal injury attorney in Boston to help you demonstrate your losses to a jury.
Discuss the Value of Your Personal Injury Claim With an Attorney in Boston
Working with an attorney during your Boston personal injury claim can increase the amount of compensation you ultimately recover for your damages. A lawyer will know what methods to use to achieve maximum compensation on your behalf, such as combatting insurance bad faith and procuring evidence of the defendant’s fault. A lawyer can give you an honest depiction of the value of your claim from the very beginning, so you know what to expect. Optimize your odds of a fair settlement or jury verdict by hiring an attorney.